Extracting text highlighted with Acrobat Pro

As mentioned here and here, I typically do my reading and note-taking-on of academic papers in Acrobat Pro these days. I then typically record my comments in a FreeMind mind map. Until today I’d been creating a content summary in Acrobat, highlighting, and then dragging and dropping each comment individually into the mind map.

Today, while doing this, I noticed that there’s an “Export comments to Data File” option in the Comments menu. “Hmm,” I thought, “I wonder how easy it would be to read this data file?” It turns out that it’s just some ASCII text with a bunch of (to me) useless information, and the highlighted comments in parseable “Contents([highlighted text here])” containers.

I wrote a quick and dirty Perl script that pulls the comments into a text file. I can then just copy and paste that file into FreeMind, and it creates all of the leaves for me. This will save me hours carpal-tunnel-syndrome-inducing mousing and frustration. The perl script, for your perusal (improvements welcome) is available here: extract_comments.pl.

Kindly Let me know if you get any use out of this, and if you find any parsing bugs. It’s in the public domain.

2 thoughts on “Extracting text highlighted with Acrobat Pro

  1. James

    I couldn’t get it working. I think you do have a parsing error. Don’t worry about fixing it, I can work around it. But stupid adobe to not see how important this is.

Comments are closed.