"... an app that students, academics, and anyone who does substantial amounts of PDF-based research should try" -

Highlights is a fast and lightweight PDF reader (under 10MB) packed with features to help with your research.

Free users have access to standard PDF reader features including document browsing, reading and annotating. There are NO ADS, time limits or tracking.

Context aware annotation popovers gives you powerful tools at your finger tips. Default annotation colors prevents you from having to repeatedly setting the color for the same type of annotation every time.

As you markup text and images the contents are extracted and sorted into notes. You can customize the formatting further and sort the annotations chronologically using your own color coding.

Convert images containing text or tables to actual text and tables using machine learning - letting you get to the underlying data with a single tap.

Copy annotations to the desired format — text markup as text and image selections as images, but tables as CSV and citations as BibTex.

Markup any reference and tap the link icon to look it up. Highlights will fetch DOI-links and even check if you have read the work already or have it in your reference manager library.

Export your notes as files (Markdown, HTML, TextBundle or PDF files) or open them directly in your favorite shoebox application (including Ulysses, Evernote, Bear, DEVONThink, Keep It, and Apple Notes).

• Dark mode
• Multi-window support on iPadOS
• Keyboard shortcuts and navigation
• Support for system Copy and Undo gestures
• Custom accent colors
• Apple Pencil double-tap gestures
• Power annotation tools

For a full list of features see:

The Highlights Pro subscription unlocks advanced features for extracting information including table and text recognition, customizability, citation lookups, Smart Copy and export options for other apps and easily editable formats.

Highlights Pro includes a 14-day free trial and is available for $2.99 (US) monthly or $24.99 (US) yearly (a 30% discount). You can cancel your subscription at any time. The subscription will automatically renew unless auto-renew is turned off within 24-hour prior to the end of of the current period.

Payments will be charged to your iTunes account and your account will be charged within 24-hours prior to the end of the current period. Any unused portion of a free trial period will be forfeited when you purchase a subscription.

For more information about Highlights Pro:

Privacy Policy and Terms:

What’s New

Version 2020.3

A fresh new look for the future of macOS:
• New app icon!
• New toolbar layout with large, beautiful icons and improved spacing
• Beautiful full-height sidebar
• New subtitle in the toolbar showing the page numbering
• Search field in the toolbar expands automatically depending on the available space
• Much improved preferences layout and navigation 
• New preference pane icons make it feel right at home on the upcoming macOS release
• Cleaner menubar with PDF navigation features in a separate Go-menu

New features:
• PDF appearances (Default, Sepia and Night - try the latter for a truly dark Dark mode)
• Dictionary lookup right from the text selection popover
• Better language support for text/table recognition (added German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Simplified and Traditional Chinese)
• Export as WebArchive (requires Pro)

Other improvements:
• Navigate previous/next page using left/right arrow keys (when the PDF view is active)
• Changed previous/next page commands to Alt-Up/Alt-Down

Ratings and Reviews

4.6 out of 5
179 Ratings

179 Ratings

BruceJiangcs ,

life saver for researchers

As a researcher, I have to read extensively for a number of topics; this means that I need a good tool to collect important points (argument, evidence, conclusion, future directions...). Before I used Highlights, I jotted down all the possiblly useful quotes on a notebook (traditional or electronic one). By so doing, i have felt more comfortable as i knew i kept the records of those significant points. However, it is illusionary, because i often forgot where I put those notes. Hightlights can a life-saver, because the hightlighted lines can be easily exported as a searchable pdf. Toegther with pdf search tools, notes and hightlighted quotes can be easily accessible, no matter how many pdfs I have on my computer.

Tripp88 ,

Pretty darn close

Key feature that would make this near perfect: the ability to group highlights together. I'm studying med/surgery texts, so frequently highlight only short segments of sentences/paragraphs, rather than entire paragraphs. Would be awesome if I could group these together e.g. if a paragraph is describing a surgical technique, I could group the 2-3 highlights I made and add a group title with the name of the surgery. This is how my notes would ideally look if i was writing them out myself - will save significant time creating notes (especially going back over old highlights), which can then be exported and turned into flashcards e.g. with RemNotes. Liquidtext and Marginnotes kind of do this, but the output and user interface is bad and most of us don't need mind maps for everything.

Draw/pen tool would also be cool but not as cool as the above feature.

Bride of Squid ,

Love the idea; execution isn’t there

I love the idea of this app; being able to easily pull out all my highlighted material from an article I’m reading into a separate file is a functionality I’ve been looking for for a while (LiquidText kind of does this, but I find the interface clunky and less useful than I had hoped). But too often the highlighting doesn’t work: I select text, and it randomly highlights the whole page (guessing superscripts are the problem, as someone else mentioned). Some of my highlights stick while others randomly disappear. I also dislike that I can’t write annotations in the margins—the whole advantage of the Apple Pencil for research is that I don’t have to use the keyboard when I’m reading to mark down quick notes in the margins. I would enthusiastically pay for this app if it did what it advertises reliably, and even more so if I could write marginalia; but in its present form it isn’t really useable.

Developer Response ,

Thank you for the feedback! Handwriting is coming:) The text selection superscript problem is a system level problem, but it was just fixed in the latest public beta and will be resolved in the upcoming release of iOS. Regarding the highlights not being saved, we would like to look into this further. Can you send us an email with some more details at

App Privacy

The developer, Jonas Myren Ribe, indicated that the app’s privacy practices may include handling of data as described below. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

Data Not Collected

The developer does not collect any data from this app.

Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More


  • Family Sharing

    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

You May Also Like