What's New

Colorful New Features

iOS and iPadOS 14 is here and so is a big new update for Highlights with a highly requested feature: color palettes. With color palettes you can change the colors used when annotating PDFs. You can also show the annotation colors in your notes - giving them a whole new look.

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iOS Version 2020.2.1

Minor improvements

  • Citation lookup now handles citations with ‘&’-characters correctly
  • Copying text from the PDF using the selection popover after selecting text in a text field caused a crash
  • Non-smart copy button inside annotation popovers now copies the marked up text (similar to macOS)

macOS Version 2020.2

Colorful new features

  • A lighter default set of colors for PDF markup
  • Optional color sets to choose from: Pastel, Bright and Retro (Preferences > Annotation)
  • Notes now show the annotation colors in the quote borders
  • Notes can also reflect the text formatting of the annotation (Preferences > Note Format)
  • You can customize the color set for notes to be the same or different from the markup set

Other improvements

  • Fixed an issue where a subset of PDFs would not correctly autosave annotations after the first save
  • Text changes to comments are now saved when changing colors/types in the annotation popover
  • Reordered the colors in the popover and menus
  • Improved color sorting accuracy for color categories
  • Citation lookup now handles citations with ‘&’-characters correctly
  • Exporting to DEVONthink as Split files now handle annotation with inline citations correctly
  • Lots of minor improvements to the annotating experience

iOS Version 2020.2

Colorful new features

  • A new lighter default color set for PDF markup
  • Optional color sets to choose from: Pastel, Bright and Retro
  • Notes now show annotation colors in the quote borders
  • Notes can also reflect the text formatting of the annotation
  • You can customize the color set for notes to be the same or different from the markup set

Other improvements

  • iOS 14 fixes an issue with jumpy text selection in some PDFs with superscript text (e.g. for citations)
  • Improved handling of switching between keyboard, Apple Pencil, mouse and touch
  • Fixed an issue where a subset of PDFs would not correctly autosave annotations after the first save
  • Improved positioning of popovers when showing a keyboard
  • Text changes to comments are now saved when changing colors/types in the annotation popover
  • Settings screens are now clearer and easier to navigate
  • Reordered the colors in the popover and annotation bar
  • Improved color sorting for color categories
  • Lots of minor improvements to the annotating experience and working with multiple windows on iPad

macOS Version 2020.1.9

Minor improvements

  • Hide/unhide commands in the menu bar now work as expected
  • Fixes an issue with images not being displayed in notes on some devices

iOS Version 2020.1.12

Minor improvement

  • Keyboard shortcuts for changing page using left/right arrows

macOS Version 2020.1.8

Minor improvement

  • Preferences window is now correctly centered on initial display

iOS Version 2020.1.11

Minor improvement

  • The PDF and Notes no longer move when hiding the top and bottom bars (the content extends underneath)

macOS Version 2020.1.7

Minor improvements

  • Highlights now uses the window size and split view divider positions of the last active window when opening a new PDF
  • The initial size of windows and first launch experience is now more optimized on smaller screens
  • Cascading of windows now happens from the last active window when opening multiple PDF documents

macOS Version 2020.1.6

New feature

  • Support for tags when exporting to Bear

Minor improvements

  • Export to DEVONthink with the Split Files option enabled now works as expected (exports each annotation as an individual file)
  • Export to nvAlt and Quiver as Markdown now works as expected

iOS Version 2020.1.10

Minor improvement

  • Palm rejection added to the thumbnail scrubber in the bottom bar to prevent accidental page jumps while annotating

macOS Version 2020.1.5

New feature

  • Interact with the text and images in the notes pane and share via drag and drop (Requires Pro)

Minor improvement

  • Improved compatibility with markup from other PDF readers (missing characters from text selections)

iOS Version 2020.1.9

New feature

  • Interact with the text and images in the notes pane and share via drag and drop (Requires Pro)

Minor improvement

  • Improved compatibility with markup from other PDF readers (missing characters from text selections)

macOS Version 2020.1.4

Minor improvements

  • Improved accuracy for sorting annotations in both single and multi-column PDFs
  • Fixed a bug where keyboard navigation focus for controls could prevent the user from copying the current text selection

iOS Version 2020.1.8

Minor improvement

  • Improved accuracy for sorting annotations in both single and multi-column PDFs

macOS Version 2020.1.3

Minor improvements

  • Optimized images: Notes now optimize image files to improve speed and reduce the size of exported TextBundles and HTML files
  • Added option to change the image quality in Preferences -> Export (Default is optimized, change to Original for highest quality)

iOS Version 2020.1.7

Minor improvements

  • Improved text selection: popover menu now shows immediately when selecting text
  • Much improved export to DEVONthink: now uses Markdown for plain text and HTML for rich text + support for tags and titles
  • Optimized images: Notes now optimize image files to improve speed and reduce the size of exported TextBundles and HTML files
  • Added option to change the image quality in Settings -> Export Settings (Default is optimized, change to Original for highest quality)
  • Fixed a bug where exporting files with ampersand characters to Bear, Keep It and DEVONthink could result in partial notes
  • Fixed a bug where tapping an annotation while having an annotation tool selected in the annotation bar would result in the annotation being marked up

macOS Version 2020.1.2

Minor improvements

  • Option for including Annotation Spacer in Notes (Preferences -> Note Format)
  • Note annotations are now sorted correctly according to their position on a page (top to bottom)
  • The page is no longer automatically zoomed out when changing the page in the thumbnails sidebar if zoomed in

iOS Version 2020.1.6

Minor improvements

  • Selecting Highlight, Strikethrough or Underline from the annotation bar now lets you annotate with your finger without bringing up the popover
  • Sharing Notes as a PDF is much improved with more options for locations and actions
  • The “Note File Name”-setting now works as intended when sharing Notes as files
  • Note annotations are now sorted correctly according to their position on a page (top to bottom)
  • The page is no longer automatically zoomed out when changing the page if zoomed in

macOS Version 2020.1.1

Minor improvements

  • Fixed a bug where Smart Copy of tables with merged cells would give the wrong output
  • Adds support for older versions of macOS Catalina (10.15)

iOS Version 2020.1.5

Minor improvement

  • Fixed a bug where Smart Copy of tables with merged cells would give the wrong output

iOS Version 2020.1.4

Minor improvements

  • Improved keyboard shortcuts:
    • Adds keyboard shortcuts for exporting to specific apps and formats directly (same keyboard shortcuts as macOS)
    • Changed to Command+O for going back to the document browser (same as system apps)
    • Improved descriptions for keyboard shortcuts
  • Exporting plaintext files now uses .md instead of .txt for their file extension for improved compatibility with Markdown apps

iOS Version 2020.1.2

New feature

  • Adds support for annotating using pointing devices (mouse/trackpad)

Version 1.5.6

New feature

  • Adds support for exporting directly to DEVONthink 3

Please reinstall the AppleScript in Preferences → Export → “Install DEVONthink Script” to use DEVONthink page links in the exported files.

Version 1.5.5

New features

  • Support for Dark Mode on macOS Mojave

Version 1.5.4

New features

  • Export notes directly to Keep It (replaces Together)
  • Privacy update: removes Hockey App crash reporting framework and adds privacy policy

Minor improvements

  • Lots of memory improvements
  • The underline power tool can now handle multiple unnumbered references across multiple pages
  • Fixed issue where moving or renaming files could crash the app due to sandbox issue with sidecar markdown files
  • Fixed issue where manual metadata lookups could result in a crash

Version 1.5.3

New features

  • Smoother experience when annotating on macOS Sierra and High Sierra
  • Interface now remembers size and position of both window and split view dividers

Minor improvements

  • Fixes glitches when adding/removing annotations
  • Fixes issue with permission for saving sidecar files

Version 1.5.2

New features

  • Improves compatibility with macOS High Sierra (10.13)
  • Adds support for MultiMarkdown equations using MathJax (Disabled by default. Preferences –> Markdown)
  • Adds compatibility for exporting to the new version of Ulysses

Minor improvements

  • Fixes an issue where the app would get very slow when sorting annotations spanning multiple text columns
  • Lots of bug fixes

High Sierra and Hello iOS 11

Highlights has not seen any updates in the last year and many of you have been rightfully concerned about the future of this app. However, if you came here looking for bad news, I will have to disappoint you. Highlights is live and well with several exciting things on the horizon, none of them being a sunset.

Read More

Version 1.5.1

New features

  • Tabs in macOS Sierra

Minor improvements

  • Improved support for macOS Sierra
  • Better search highlighting
  • Link to Tutorials in Help-menu

Fixes

  • Fixes issue where only one reference was showing when multiple unnumbered references were underlined

Looking Up References with Ease

Highlights comes with some special power tools for academics. The PDF underline tool for reference lookups is a super fast and easy way to get to the source of a reference without touching the keyboard.

How do I enable it?

Go to Preferences –> PDF –> Underlining power tools and select a color for your reference lookups:

Screenshot of Highlights Preference for Color for Reference Underline Power Tool

This color should be a color you do not use for other types of annotations as it will no longer be extracted along aside your regular annotations.

Read More

Version 1.5

New features

  • Improved PDF reading on large screens: display two pages side-by-side
  • Better PDF browsing experience: back and forward buttons
  • Both the sidebar and notes panel can now be collapsed
  • PDF Thumbnails resizes as you change the width of the sidebar
  • Use DEVONthink PDF-links when exporting (Install AppleScript in Preferences–> Export)

Minor improvements

  • Cleaned up keyboard shortcuts for managing layout of elements in window
  • Cleaned up toolbar buttons
  • Duplicate PDF when saving Adobe ClearScan files (to prevent destroying OCR layer of original file)

Fixes

  • Fixes Yosemite bug where the window would display nothing due to a partially collapsed sidebar

Version 1.4

New Features

  • Export to Quiver: each annotation is exported as a Quiver-cell + support for images and tags
  • Split files: Export annotations as individual HTML/Markdown-files to a folder or directly to DEVONthink
  • Tagging split files: tag individual annotations using “@tag” syntax in the annotations note field
  • MultiMarkdown Citekey: copy metadata for current PDF as MultiMarkdown Citekey to pasteboard
  • MultiMarkdown Reference: copy metadata for current PDF as MultiMarkdown Reference to pasteboard
  • Preference: file name based on document or metadata title when exporting

Minor Improvements

  • Underlined references that have not been cited in the text now show up in Preview (not only in Edit)
  • Preference to automatically lowercase all tags
  • “Export to PDF” now adds a “Highlights” to the suggested name to prevent overwriting the currently open PDF
  • Improved speed when handling PDFs with many pages
  • Improved speed when handling PDFs with many references
  • Added custom Finder file icon for when Highlights is set as system PDF reader

Fixes

  • Export to nvALT now support multiple tags
  • Change annotation color using keyboard is now working again
  • Page number now show up in annotation headers as expected

Version 1.3.3

New Features

  • Collapsible sidebar

Fixes

  • Fixes bug where the split view panes would be collapsed when opening a PDF
  • Fixes bug where export to Textbundle would not include Markdown text
  • Stability improvements (threading issues)

Version 1.3.2

Improvements

  • Better UI performance
  • Custom plaintext format with direct export to pasteboard (CMD+Y)
  • Faster image grabbing from PDF

Fixes

  • Bugs from the future

This version of Highlights drops support for 10.9 to enable use of new interface frameworks in OS X.

Version 1.3.1

Improvements

  • Bookends integration
  • Preference to set Reference manager
  • Keyboard shortcut for sorting annotations by color

Fixes

  • No preference pane was selected when opening preferences
  • Performance improvements

Version 1.3

New features

  • Popup PDF annotation tools
  • Export to nvALT
  • Export to Together
  • Icon makeover

Minor improvements

  • Toolbar now shows currently selected annotation color
  • Improved control over export format
  • Option to disable headers completely
  • Option to turn off text wrapping
  • Option to turn on automatic tab-switching (Markdown-mode)
  • Cleaned up preference-window

Fixes

  • Page range now uses en-dash, not a hyphen
  • Exporting to Ulysses now removes page breaks (horizontal lines)
  • Missing Export to Ulysses-option in main menu

Version 1.2.4

New features

  • Export to Ulysses

Minor improvements

  • The sticky note tool is now automatically deselected after use
  • The image selection tool is now automatically deselected after use

Fixes

  • Annotation spacers not included on first launch
  • One character long highlighted text causing a crash
  • Scroll sync glitches when near top of preview and edit views
  • Fixes issues with exporting Markdown with MMD-metadata included as header
  • Popup-elements only added to annotations with attached comments

Version 1.2.3

Improvements

  • Markdown/TextBundle sidecar-files are only saved if enabled in Preferences
  • More robust syntax for sticky notes using horizontal line elements instead of italics
  • Underlined text is turned into bold text when extracting
  • Tagging/References power user features are only active if enabled in Preferences
  • HockeyApp integration for crash reporting

Fixes

  • Text notes outside annotations are turned into sticky notes (text no longer disappears)
  • “Fetch metadata”-dialog no longer reappears after hitting cancel
  • “Fetch metadata”-dialog only presented if PDF has a DOI
  • App no longer shows a blank window when the default PT Mono font is unavailable
  • Black annotation color replaced with gray
  • Improved insertion point selection for annotations with spacers
  • If a PDF-file is moved, the URL-scheme bookmark for the file is updated

Version 1.2.2

Minor improvements

  • Link to FAQ from help menu
  • Link to Release notes from help menu
  • Link to Feedback submission from help menu

Fixes

  • Insertion point improvements
  • Tags not showing up in Finder for PDFs
  • RGB values for color categorization refined

Version 1.2.1

Fixes

  • Sticky notes resetting to “New comment” placeholder
  • Markdown comments were in some cases not synced to the PDF
  • More accurate insertion point selection in text editor for newly added annotations
  • Reading PDFs with blank annotations could in some cases crash the app
  • Purple and pink was sorted as one color

Version 1.2

New features

  • PDF search
  • Page-links:
    • clicking links in the Preview-window will scroll the PDF to that page
    • clicking link in exported HTML-file/Evernote/DEVONthink, will open Highlights and scroll to linked page
  • URL-scheme (backend for page-links):
    • Open file: highlights://Users/test.pdf
    • Open file on a specific page: highlights://Users/test.pdf#page=3
  • Performance improvements:
    • New MultiMarkdown parser: should handle books and PDFs with lots of annotations better
    • Improved asynchronous PDF saving (no interface lockup)
    • Snappier Markdown-to-PDF sync

Fixes

  • Adding an annotation to a page with no other annotations resulted in wrong text selection in the editor
  • Incorrect meta-tag for UTF-8 charset in HTML caused issues on some systems
  • Annotation could in some cases end up on the previous or next page when scrolled far down or up as the page being annotated was not accurately determined
  • Lots of crash-fixes

Version 1.1

New features

  • New PDF tool: sticky notes
  • Scroll positions in sync
    • changing the page of the PDF, scrolls the extracted annotations list to the same page
    • scroll position of view and edit are kept at the same point
  • Annotation colors
  • Color-coding: give each color a name and sort annotations by their color
  • Improved sync between extracted annotations and PDF annotations:
    • removing an annotation in the text editor, removes it in the PDF as well
    • adding a note in the text editor, adds a sticky note in the PDF
  • Annotation headers: include subheading over each annotation with page, category, color, type, author and/or date information
  • Annotation spacers: separate annotations by a horizontal line
  • ATX-style Markdown headers (#h1# and ##h2##)
  • Papers.app integration: open links in Papers. If the PDF is present in your Papers library it will be opened directly, otherwise Papers will attempt to fetch the article
  • Better cursor visibility in text editor: cursor changes color to white when over the dark background of the text editor

Fixes

  • Tags are now written to both PDF and Markdown files when “Embed tags” preference is selected
  • Performance improvements

Version 1.0.1

Fixes

  • Links inside the PDF are clickable again
  • Issue with parsing of PDF Text-notes to italics resolved
  • The “Fetch metadata”-dialog no longer keeps popping back after hitting cancel
  • PDF metadata is not written unless it is different from the empty header
  • Document no longer shows edited status before actually being edited
  • Switching between View and Edit mode is now per document
  • Maximum length of suggested tags (underlined words) set to 30 characters, to prevent mixup with bad references
  • Added export-icon for TextBundle-files
  • Username and modification date metadata added to annotations modified or created in Highlights

Version 1.0

Initial release (changes from beta)

  • New app icon and interface redesign
  • Native TextBundle support (see http://textbundle.org)
  • Preference for setting default font and size for Markdown editing
  • New introduction guide
  • Minor bugfixes