Apple Pencil and highlighting in PDFs on iPadOS

After a few frustrating web searches (most essentially click bait/point to buying another app, or Apple focus that don’t answer my Q), I’m hoping someone here can point me in the right direction.

I want to use an Apple Pencil to highlight text in a PDF using Files (Preview, I assume) and generate the same outcome as on a Mac. As in clear straight lines, not haphazard hand drawn ones.

It was a key reason I could justify getting an iPad, and I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) it would just work… :confused:

You can do it by using PDF Expert on the iPad. It looks like the annotation features are free. Honestly not sure how the app works now, it was a single time fee when I bought it.

I much prefer the UI/UX and simplicity of Preview for what I do (over Acrobat and other apps). And I’d rather not add more apps to clutter up screens beyond what I already have…

For such a simple feature, I can’t understand why it is missing (if it is), given you can do it by finger, albeit text selection first.

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Holding the pen on the screen after highlighting the text/drawing the line and it will go straight.

I have angled line ends. My niece who shared the tip with me as rounded ends, haven’t worked out how to change as yet.

I have worked it out.

Rather than using the Markup/Apple Pencil pop up, holding the pencil on a word selects it (and you can drag the handles to select more words/lines). The process then is effectively the same as if using your finger. Select highlight from the context menu that pops up and off you go…

Same outcome as on a Mac.


Turns out, you need to select the tool to the left of the ruler in Markup (then de-select Markup) to be able to select text in this way.

Took me a while to work this out, after being able to highlight by text selecting stopped working