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Old 01-20-2011, 08:51 PM   #1
Edge User
Highlighting text in a PDF...

Hello, today was the 1st day using the EE in class. I was challenged - an old dog learning new tricks! I noticed on the PDF's assigned for reading that on all of them the annotation worked but only some of them would let me highlight. I verified the settings, highlight = yellow, brush = large. Is there a difference in the creation of the PDF I am missing?

Thank you
Old 01-20-2011, 08:56 PM   #2
Edge User
Ideally, you should be able to highlight individual words. I've had PDFs where it would only highlight the whole line. If you can't highlight a word or a line, it could be the PDF contains page images rather than pages of text. In all cases, using the Pencil tool will always work since it works in a layer above any text or images.

What is the source of the PDFs with the problem?

EDIT: Here's something else you can try. Open the PDF in Adobe Reader on your PC. If you can select text (just using the default mouse cursor), I think you should be able to do the same on the EE. However, if the default cursor instead gives you a selection box that ignores the positioning of text, then it would suggest the page is an image, not lines of text.

Last edited by borisb; 01-20-2011 at 09:01 PM.
Old 01-20-2011, 09:01 PM   #3
Edge User
My goodness but you are quick! Uffduh. I believe the ones that will not highlight are images. It seems to be a common trait of the pdf's we get from the library. I was thinking that, but wasn't sure. Is there an easy way to tell if it is text or an image?

By the way, I like your new icon, Darth really threw me off.

Old 01-20-2011, 09:06 PM   #4
Edge User
I'd say your experience suggests you can't tell imaged text from actual text

I've looked at a few of the free Google books, and a lot of them look like (poor) photocopies (i.e., with shadows and dirt) - and indeed they were merely scanned by Google and aren't "real" digital copies - a dead give-away that it's image and not text. In any case, elsewhere in the forums you'll find the common suggestion of running the PDF through an OCR process which will create an invisible layer of text over the image that will then allow you to highlight & select.

EDIT: When you export an eBook from the Reader, it creates images of the text. This is done to prevent full quality copies of DRM'ed text. Your PDFs, if not scanned from paper originals, may have been generated in a similar way.
Old 01-20-2011, 09:09 PM   #5
Edge User
I tried that, but if the article contains pictures it presents a problem for me. Perhaps it is the program I was using at that time.

Thanks Boris, I appreciate the help.
Old 01-20-2011, 09:10 PM   #6
Edge User
If all else fails, you can underline the text with the Pencil rather than use the highlight...
Old 01-20-2011, 09:14 PM   #7
Edge User
Yes, and I can write in the margins as well, so all is not lost. It was nice to have the articles in class with my notes on them and NOT have to carry an additional 20 pages of paper. The weight adds up so quickly.

Old 01-20-2011, 10:57 PM   #8
Dr. T
Edge User
For what it is worth (which is not much, I realize), I find highlighting problematic on the EE in general. I never seem to highlight what I'm trying to, and sometimes, I somehow highlight something that I had no intention of highlighting. I have given up on it and just underline. I actually find this to work much better and to be much faster.
Old 01-21-2011, 01:28 AM   #9
Edge User
Highlighting PDFs are one of the most frustrating aspects of using the edge. It seems like most academic papers are formatted so you can't select a single word. I've also constantly run into serious problems where trying to highlight something will cause my EE to freeze up for several minutes. Tech support said it's a problem with the way Adobe Acrobat presents data to them so there wasn't much they could do beyond filing a bug report with Adobe.

I hope they can improve this in the future because I am not keen on using underlines instead of highlighting.
Old 01-21-2011, 07:35 AM   #10
Edge User
Just an idea. Not really highlight: it's more downlight but it gives the attention.
Under settings:
set Paintbrush mode preferences to Shape Recognizer Mode
set Paintbrush Opacity Preferences to 0.7 (or later something else whatever you prefere)
In a "Image-PDF":
Use Tool Paintbrush, strike the stylus over the text you want to hight(down)light. It's now grayed and therefore you have put the attention to it.
Does this help somebody who does not want to underline?
Old 01-21-2011, 08:16 AM   #11
Dr. T
Edge User
That's a really interesting idea! Thanks Sjarrel! This would eliminate the problem of Adobe trying to decide what is/is not a word. Additionally, you could change the color so that it looked like a "real" highlight if you were to export the PDF.

I just tried this on one of my PDFs, and it works quite well... a little slow and jittery, but MUCH faster than the native highlight feature. Awesome!!
Old 01-21-2011, 09:55 AM   #12
Edge User
Ditto to the given up on highlighting thing and I use the pencil, though the paintbrush trick is very clever. Good thing several studies have shown that highlighting is not an effective study technique anyway.
Old 01-21-2011, 08:18 PM   #13
Edge User
sjarrel thanks for your suggestion, I tried it out and it worked for me as well. It will be added to my tool list. Dr. T Thanks as well. I tried many pdf's from previous classes and found the ability to highlight frustrating as well. I do prefer to make notes in the margins, so will practice underling so I don't hide the line below.

Thanks everyone.
Old 01-24-2011, 11:53 AM   #14
Edge User
I have also had problems with the highlight. Even though I can open it up on the computer and highlight single words, I usually can only highlight lines on the EE. I really like the highlighting though because the highlights are searchable in the library. This I find super useful so I have gotten over the "highlight the entire line" bug so I can search my highlights.

I seem to have run into a bigger problem. The search sees the highlight as one work (no spaces) and only searches the beginning of that entire "word." So, if I search for a keyword the I highlighted and it was in the center of the highlight, I can't actually find it. (maybe someone can verify this)

Luckily, this should be fixable without Adobe. Entourage would have change the search so that it searched for parts of words, not just the whole word.
Old 01-24-2011, 02:54 PM   #15
Edge User
Originally Posted by FoxkehKayak View Post
The search sees the highlight as one work (no spaces) and only searches the beginning of that entire "word." So, if I search for a keyword the I highlighted and it was in the center of the highlight, I can't actually find it. (maybe someone can verify this.
In the TOC go to your highlighted line. Tap and hold: you get the choice to edit. Just give it the title you want to search on.

Last edited by sjarrel; 01-24-2011 at 04:56 PM.

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