How to Extract PDF Annotations on iPad

Download Highlights for free. Not on an iPad? Checkout the Mac and iPhone guides.

Highlights will extract annotations from any PDF document with standard embedded annotations when you open it. Annotations you make in Highlights will be extracted on the fly.

A PDF page from a scientific article with yellow highlighted text, an image and a table beamed out into individual elements.

With the default settings annotations will be converted to notes using the following rules:

PDF Annotation

Note Element

Highlighted text
Underlined text
Bold quote
Strikethrough text
Strikethrough quote


PDF annotations can have comments, these appear in the text box of the annotation popover:

Annotation popover

In your notes, these comments show up as regular text below their annotation.

Sticky notes

Note icon

Sticky notes are text annotations represented by an icon on the PDF page. The text content is added as a comment in the annotation popover and similarly to comments show up as regular text in notes. Their position in your notes is determined by their location on the page relative to other annotations.

Image selections

Image selection icon

Image selections are square annotations in the PDF:

Image selection over an area of interest in the PDF

You can resize them using the blue drag handles. When finished resizing, the area inside the selection is added to your notes as an image.

Table icon
Text recognition icon

Image selections can also be used to extract text and tables from PDFs.