Preview -highlight PDF's with columns

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by amykirkham, May 12, 2009.

  1. amykirkham macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2009
    I typically use preview to read journal articles which are typically in the format of two columns. The issue is that when I want to highlight text in articles, the select tool selects text across both columns (the whole page) and not just within the one column I am reading. Is there anyway to put in a divider between the two columns so that it will only select across one? Otherwise I have to select and highlight one line at a time!

    Any suggestions or ideas?
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    What you want is not how PDF works. PDFs do not retain the object information of the original source material.
  3. MotleyPete macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2008
    Try Skim (free, open Source). It's designed for annotating PDFs. It's also a pretty decent PDF reader all round.
  4. einvest macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2009
    Not true in this case - Adobe Reader/Acrobat has absolutely no problem recognizing and highlighting text according to columns in academic PDFs. The problem here is that Preview does not, making Adobe a much more convenient option for academics. Until they can fix this.

    Wait! There is a work-around:

    Just hold down Option as you click to highlight text.
  5. Molnies macrumors member

    Jun 7, 2006
    What, you call that a "work around"? Isn't that exactly the usage they intended for the option key? At least I use it for that every single day, with journal articles just like Amy was looking for.

    It might not be a well-known function in Preview, but calling is a work around is misleading.
  6. ozydingo macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2009
    It's still a workaround if your intent it so select a contiguous string of text from the article. This functionality allows you to select a box of text according to its position on the page. If however I want to select one or two sentences from a document I can't quite do that using the option key unless those sentences fit exactly into a rectangular box.
  7. jmm1155 macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2009
    Preview in Snow Leopard

    Highlighting columned text is now possible in Snow Leopard's version of Preview. This feature is mentioned specifically about 3/4 of the way down the page on the link below. I was having the same problem, and the "option" key solution mentioned above does not work well at all (since it only allows one to select blocks of text). This latest version of Preview appears to solve the problem, though admittedly I have not yet used it to confirm.

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