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Its possible to add notes in a pdf file with macOS Preview app, by doing:

Tools > Annotate > Note

Or usinng shortcut ctrl+cmd+N.

The note is enclosed by a colored box and its possible to change its (background) color by right-click on it.

While editing/composing note text color is black.

But (the issue is) notes showing on left panel by:

View > Highlights and Notes

Or using shortcut opt+cmd+4.

They appear with white font color and its almost impossible to read them, because color contrast between font and background is not good.

Main question: How can I change font color?

Additional question: Can I make font color the same on the left panel as it is on the note which appear on a page in the pdf file?

2 Answers 2


For me, this problem happened when I switched to "dark mode" from my system preferences. when I switched back to light mode, I could read the notes again. I didn't find another way around this :(


Preview Version 10.1 (944.6.16.1) - the version I'm using.

The note background can be changed and that change is reflected in the sidebar. When dark enough the white letters are visible.

  • create the new note ( ⌃ ⌘ N )
  • R-click on the note and select a color from the popup abbreviated color pallet
  • OR focus on the note and select the color pallet on the toolbar

The above will not default subsequent notes to the selected color.

Linked Note

This SO thread says: I can only change the colour when the note is not linked to a highlighted text section


Creating a linked note on existing highlighted text ( R-click-popup-menu ) - the note background takes on the highlight color

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