When using Skim I can export any kind of pdf annotations, including highlighted text, to a file.

Is it possible to do the same thing with pdf-tools in Emacs?

  • I have not tried this but check out this blog post on taking notes with pdf-tools and org-mode. Jul 21, 2016 at 14:54
  • I put the code from the blog post in my init.el and then run M-x pdf-annot-markups-as-org-text. It asks for a pdf. I used a pdf with my highlighted annotations but the answer was wrong type argument. Nevertheless I think the answer to my question may be in this blog post.
    – sbac
    Jul 21, 2016 at 15:33
  • contains some library process pdf github.com/temberature/pdf2notes
    – 天大仝
    Mar 26, 2022 at 5:44

1 Answer 1


I don't know if it is possible with pdf-tools, but it is possible with org-noter (https://github.com/weirdNox/org-noter).

Here is a little demonstration:

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You call org-noter in the pdf buffer. Then use the org-noter-create-skeleton function to exoprt the highlights to the org-noter notes file.

  • 2
    When I try org-noter-create-skeleton I receive the message that this command is only possible with pdf-tools.
    – sbac
    Apr 21, 2019 at 14:29
  • @sbac I ran into this too. By default, org-noter will use DocView. You need to take the extra step to package-install pdf tools. github.com/politza/pdf-tools Sep 4, 2020 at 18:36
  • To be clear it exports things in the hierarchy "Highlight on page N" -> Contents, Comment. That works fine! It's too bad that "contents" does not mean the same thing in the pdf-annot-list-format... there, Currently supported properties are page, type, label, date and contents... but these contents represent the comment! Oct 14, 2020 at 11:22

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