How to Extract Highlighted Text from PDF as Plain Text File?

PDF Highlight Extractor software

Highlighting text in a PDF document comes in handy for marking important areas that you can access later quickly. You can use Microsoft Edge to highlight PDF or any other software that comes with PDF highlight feature. Sometimes, you might also have felt the need to only have the text highlighted so that you can have the PDF summary that has all the essential text. If you are looking for ways to save only the highlighted text of a PDF as a TXT file, this article may be useful.

Extract highlighted text from PDF

There is free software and service to extract highlighted text from PDF file and save it as text file:

  • PDF Highlight Extractor
  • Foxit Reader
  • DyAnnotationExtractor.

Let’s check these PDF Highlight Extractor software one by one.

1]PDF Highlight Extractor

PDF Highlight Extractor is one of the easiest options to extract highlighted text from PDF file. This Open source PDF Text Highlight Extractor has two characteristics that attract attention. You can preview highlighted text PDF on the software interface.

The second feature is that you can set start or end page or page range to extract text. So instead of scanning the entire PDF, you can set page numbers to get the highlighted text.

Another cool feature is that you have the option to save text as plain text or Excel file.

On its interface, add your PDF file using the given option and then press the button Extract button. Uncheck All pages whether you want to set the page range or leave it as is. Once the text is recovered, you can preview it. Finally, press the Text or Excel to save the highlighted text.

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You can download this software from here. Java is also required to use this software. So, install Java (if you haven’t already) and run that software to use.

2]Foxit Reader

Extract highlighted text from PDF

Foxit Reader is one of the best free PDF readers. You can open multiple PDF files in separate tabs, highlight PDF, add note, export comments, add signatures, and more. Among the huge list of features, extracting highlighted text from PDF is also present. The best part about this feature is that it saves page numbers with extracted text.

To retrieve the highlighted text from PDF, open the PDF file on its interface and navigate to the Comment tongue. In this tab, click Export option available in Manage comments section. You will see the Highlighted text option. Use this option and then you can save all the highlighted text as a text file.

Here is the download link for this software. During installation you must select custom installation to include only the required components of this software.


Sumnotes is a free service that allows you to annotate PDFs and extract highlighted text. All the highlighted text is visible separately in the left sidebar. Using this sidebar you can also remove highlighted text you don’t need then upload the rest of the highlighted text.

Before downloading the highlighted text, you can also include page numbers and exclude the highlighted text of a specific color.

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You also have the option of save highlighted text from PDF to Excel or Word file. So the features are good. You can sign up with a free plan, then extract 50 highlights or annotations by download, which is sufficient in most cases.

Here is the link to its home page. To extract highlighted text from PDF, add PDF from PC or Google drive. When the PDF is uploaded, annotations and highlighted text are visible on the left side. Use the Download annotations option, then you can save the highlighted text in SMS, XLSX, or DOC format file.


DyAnnotationExtractor command line software

DyAnnotationExtractor software can help you extract the highlighted text and comments from a PDF document. It’s a command line software, but it is very easy to use. A single command will retrieve the highlighted text in the input PDF file.

You can get this software using this link. Download its ZIP file and then extract it. To facilitate the execution of the command, you should also place the PDF in the same folder where you extracted this software. After that open Command Prompt window in that folder. You can do this by typing cmd in the address box of that folder, then pressing Enter key.

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When the CMD window is open, add the BAT file of this software, the input command including the path of the input PDF, the output command and the name of the output file with the extension “.txt”. The complete order will be-

DyAnnotationExtractor.bat -input path of input PDF -output outputfilename.txt

Run the command. Wait a few seconds and the plain text file will be ready containing all the highlighted text and comments fetched from that PDF. The output file is saved in the same input folder.

So here are some options you can use to extract the highlighted text from PDF and then save the output as a text file. I hope this will help you.

extract highlighted text from pdf

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