My kingdom for a highlighter
November 30, 2006 5:46 AM   Subscribe

PDF/ search filter: Highlighter, highlighter, where for art thou highlighter?

My work involves searching through pages and pages of PDF files for minute tidbits of info. which at the very least, can be slow and hard on the retinas. I'm looking for a way to speed up my searching while simultaneously trying to avoid early onset eye death. I've figured out how to search for multiple terms in a PDF via the "advanced search option" function, but what I'd really love is if there was a way to highlight my search terms in the document itself and possibly in various colors (like the Google toolbar is able to do with web pages using it's term highlighting application).

Option #2: I actually tried copying and pasting the contents of one of my lengthy PDF's into Google Docs and then using the Google toolbar's highlighting function to get the in-document highlighting with all the pretty colors. Worked great except for it fails to highlight things like the U.S. dollar sign ($) and percent symbol (%) which happen to be two important things I'm looking for in these PDF's. Is there a way to force the Google toolbar to recognize these symbols and thus highlight them?

My optic nerves thank you in advance.
posted by Smarson to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Get full Acrobat. Or get someone with full Acrobat to enable your PDFs for commenting.
posted by dame at 6:18 AM on November 30, 2006

If you want a really roundabout way to do it, get Firefox, install the Scrapbook extension, open the pdf in Firefox, capture it as a Scrapbook page, open that page, and use Scrapbook's highlighter. That's only, like, what? 15 steps?
posted by loiseau at 6:26 AM on November 30, 2006

Response by poster: @ Dame: Hadn't thought of that. Definitely something I'll have to look into.

@ Losieau: Hey, I've taken it this far, what's another 15 steps? Seriously though, Ffirefox extensions are exactly the sort of hack I'm looking for here.
posted by Smarson at 7:16 AM on November 30, 2006

Get full Acrobat. Or get someone with full Acrobat to enable your PDFs for commenting.

Even with full Acrobat, you'll still have to manually mark the search term with the highlighter tool. Still a pain in the ass, unfortunately. (I'm running the full Acrobat Pro 7.0.) You might want to look at an Acrobat plug-in such as AutoRedact. It will let you search for any text in a pdf and then automatically apply highlighting or redaction, etc.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:07 AM on December 1, 2006

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