Previous 1 2 3 Next 42 Replies Latest reply: May 12, 2012 9:20 PM by TonyHorus
Tonnika Level 1 (0 points)



My annotations in Preview are fading away! They look normal when I do them, but each time I open the pdf and look back they become fainter and fainter. I used to keep the file on my iDisk and I thought that might be the problem. Or maybe the loss of color was for some reason happening after I viewed the file on my iPad. But moving it to my desktop didn't help.

This is how they look fresh:

1 (the newest).png

Marked a couple of days ago:


Then it goes like this:


And in the end: (and I am 100% sure the text used to be highlighted):

4 (the oldest).png

What's going on? And what to do with this?

Thank you for any help.

Mac OS X (10.7)
  • John Kitchen Level 3 (645 points)

    Is it just me, or can nobody see all 4 screen shots?

  • bushbabywas Level 1 (0 points)

    This is happening to me as well. Ridiculous. Getting increasingly sick of Preview on Lion, crashes that never used to happen in Snow Leopard, can't set custom keyboard shortcuts without applying them to all applications, etc etc

  • qwerty24 Level 1 (0 points)

    Same here! This is really annoying I've been trying to find a fix forever.  I'm not totally sure that it's iDisk related though because I tried the "duplicate" function on an annotated PDF that was on my desktop and I noticed the fading instantly. But it doesn't seem to affect every file.  I'm very confused/frustrated

  • Tonnika Level 1 (0 points)

    After doing a little experiment I am pretty sure that this is directly related to the Versions feature. Old annotations seem to be fading with every saved version. Simply opening the file does not appear to have an effect.

    Locked files definitely don't change (locked either manually or automatically after they haven't been opened for a while).

    Unfortunately locking and unlocking the file oneself (however annoying that might be) does not help, frankly it even makes matters worse.

    I guess this is a bug in the system and only Apple can fix it. I hope someone from the company is reading this… Or does anybody know how to e-mail them to let them know about this problem?

  • qwerty24 Level 1 (0 points)

    I've noticed the changes in "versions" also. I reported the bug here before I found this thread.  I'm sure the more people who report it, the faster the issue will be taken care of.


  • Pierre L. Level 5 (4,235 points)

    I suspect the problem to be related to a more general one in Lion. See

  • Nannners Level 1 (0 points)

    I am having the same problem, has anyone found a fix for this yet?

  • sodaman23 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ditto here. Preview used to be great for taking med school notes. Now that my highlights and underlines have started to fade it makes it difficult to trust this program for future use. I hope this is fixed soon so I don't have to switch to something else.

  • jaygib Level 1 (0 points)

    i noticed that if you go and view all of your annotations, you can select all of them as a whole and change their color and all will be viewable and not faded.  However, this may not help if you color code your notes, as everything will be the same color...

  • Spiroux Level 1 (0 points)

    Same issue here.

    1. Do you know how to desactivate Versions for Preview?

    2. Does it have anything to do with Dropbox? (I'm also syncing my pdf through dropbox ; please tell me if the issue is also present without Dropbox).

  • qwerty24 Level 1 (0 points)

    There is currently no way to disable versions in preview (at least not that I've found), and the problem occurs with or without dropbox.

  • paddytheprogrammer Level 1 (0 points)

    This is a definite bug. It looks like something is causing the colours to be slowly pushed towards white with every save. Not sure what's causing the problem but I wrote a little python script to recover the highlights for my wife. Thought I would share:


    import re

    import sys

    if len(sys.argv) != 2:

            print 'Wrong argument count'




    infilename = sys.argv[1]

    outfilename = infilename + ".fixed.pdf"

    fpIn = open(infilename)

    fpOut = open(outfilename, "w+")



    line = fpIn.readline()

    while line:

            if"^\<\< /Type /Annot", line):

                    line += fpIn.readline()

                    pos = line.find("endobj")

                    while pos == -1:

                            line += fpIn.readline()

                            pos = line.find("endobj")

                    if"\/Highlight", line):

                            line = re.sub('/C \[.+\n?.+\n?\]', '/C [ 0.8396019 0.9160907\n0.5048240 ]', line)


            line = fpIn.readline();

    print "Done"



    Save it as /usr/bin/FixHighlights and run from terminal with FixHighlights {filename}


    It will output a new file called {filename}.fixed.pdf.


    Unfortunately there's no way of knowing what colour they should have been originally so all highlights will be set to green.


    I wrote it quickly as an excuse to learn some python so use at your own risk

  • IceLancer Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the same problem and found a comparable simple way to recreate old annotations, highlightings etc:

    Click the "Show Annotations List" and select multiple annotations of the same color (if you can still figure it out) and then just set the color for all of them.

    It is still annoying but it is a rather fast way to prevent your annotations from "whiting out".

    Easiest when done regularly before it gets white so you dont have to guess/remember what color it used to be.

  • sús Level 1 (0 points)

    Here is another way to fix a pdf with faded annotations:


    -show the list of annotations (click on the last button in the annotation toolbar).

    -select each and every annotations in the same (faded) colour (by clicking+cmd on each one of them).

    -change the colour for all the selected annotations at the same time (by selecting the colour in the colour button, in the annotation toolbar).


    I've just done it in a 200 pdf with highlights in 3 different colours, and it took a while. Of course, if you highlight in a single colour it's much quicker to solve.


    Now I've got the file blocked, and I hope it won't fade anymore, but I can't highlight either!


    If Apple doesn't fix this quickly, I'll just have to move to another pdf annotator software.

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