PDF viewers that support highlighting hits

Article: dts0229

Applies to: dtSearch 7.67 and later

dtSearch is able to highlight hits in PDF files if you have a compatible PDF viewer installed on your computer.  If the PDF viewer you use does not support hit highlighting, then PDF files will appear without hit highlighting in dtSearch.  To test your PDF viewer, open Microsoft Edge in IE Mode (see below) and go to this link:


The following summarizes the results of our compatibility testing to date (please send any updates to support@dtsearch.com):

Product Name

Web Site

Supports hit highlighting

Adobe Reader X, XI, DC


Yes, with plug-in (see note 1 below).

Adobe Reader 9


Yes, with option change (see note 2 below).

Adobe Reader through version 8



Google Chrome PDF Viewer


No (see note 3 below)

Firefox PDF Viewer


No (see note 3 below)

Microsoft Edge PDF Viewer


No (see note 3 below)

Microsoft Edge in IE Mode support.microsoft.com Yes, if Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader is installed.




Foxit Reader



PDF Complete



XpdfViewer Library



Note 1.  Adobe Reader X, XI, and DC require a plug-in to make hit highlighting work.  For information on this plug-in, please see https://www.dtsearch.com/pdfhl/

Note 2.  Adobe Reader 9 disables hit highlighting by default.  To enable hit highlighting,

(1) Open Adobe Reader

(2) Click Edit > Preferences > Search, and

(3) check the box labelled Enable search highlights from external highlight server.
The same procedure applies to Adobe Acrobat 9.

Note 3.  Microsoft Edge, Chrome, and Firefox do not allow Adobe Reader to run as an embedded PDF viewer.  Instead, these browsers have implemented their own PDF viewer that does not include support for highlighting hits.

Server-side option  

As an alternative to using the dtSearch plug-in, a server-side only PDF hit-highlighting solution is available from Contegra Systems, Inc. This solution bypasses the need to have each end-user separately install software to re-add hit highlights back to PDFs.  For more information, please contact https://contegrasystems.com

How to use Microsoft Edge to view PDF files with hit highlighting enabled

Microsoft Edge supports an optional "IE" mode that lets you continue to use the Adobe Acrobat integration with Internet Explorer within the Edge browser.  For more information on Edge IE Mode, please see these articles:

Microsoft Edge IE Mode (microsoft.com)

Internet Explorer mode in Microsoft Edge (microsoft.com)

Impact of Internet Explorer 11 end-of-life on Acrobat and Acrobat Reader desktop apps (adobe.com)


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