Annotations using stylus on Chromebook


I’ve been using Paperpile intensely for months and love it. I’ve been using the MetaPDF annotator extensively and it is great. I recently purchased a Chromebook Spin 11 “2 in 1” which has a tablet mode and a stylus. Unfortunately the integration of MetaPDF is not great and it makes using the stylus for highlighting unusuable. I’m happy to detail the issues if it something that might be useful. However, while waiting for full support I would like to explore using a different editor for this work. It looks like the Adobe PDF viewer would work well. As far as I can tell, on Chromebook, there is no way to “substitute” the Adobe PDF viewer as the default viewer (I think this would work on Windows - but that is not what I’m using). I’ve poked around a bit and there was some reference to “staring” documents and then opening them with another PDF viewer. However, after fooling around a bit I’ve been unable to come up with a workable solution. Any help (maybe just pointing me to existing documentation?) would be appreciated. Great Product!


We would love to support the stylus in our PDF annotator, but at the moment our efforts with the annotator are focused on stability, and our efforts for stylus support are focused on our android and iOS apps.

That said, I encourage others who wish for better stylus support to let us know in this thread.

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Hello Dan,

I was a Zotero user and have recently migrated to Paperpile. I made this decision because I decided to completely move to Chrome OS. I am using a Pixelbook, and here is my workflow.

  1. I star the articles and books that I am going to read in Paperpile. The attachments of the starred items will automatically move to the “starred papers” folder.

  2. On my Pixelbook, I use an android app Foldersync to sync the “starred papers” folder to the local drive.

  3. I use android apps to read the pdf on my pixelbook. My first preference is EZPdf. I also use acrobat, Xodo, and other apps. Many of these apps support stylus.

  4. Run Foldersync sync annotated files.

After a few months with Paperpile, I am not regret to move to Chrome OS and Paperpile. BTW, if the default reader of Paperpile can fully support stylus, that will be great!



This is great. I kinda thought that was the solution for now - but it is nice to have it in one place. One question, why “sync” the folder? Why not just edit it in place? Thanks in advance.


Thanks for the quick reply. I will try to the work around as listed below and re-post here if there are any issues. I understand the need to prioritize. I’ve signed up for the beta of the android app. Now that chromebooks can run android apps it may be that this works for what I want.


There are two reasons that I use synchronization. First, some Android apps, like EZPdf, cannot access the Google Drive file system of the Chrome OS. Second, I use multiple Google accounts. It is only a personal preference. You may develop your own workflow.



Thanks. I see now. I’ve been playing around. It sounds like you are using an android device for your editing? I quickly tried EZPdf but the interface results were not good on my chromebook. I tried using Adobe PDF Reader, while the interface worked well it has some very funky ideas regarding files. It copies whatever is being worked on somewhere hard to find yada yada. I was finally able to work around - but it was silly. I’m trying Squid now, which seems to work better - it will save a file directly to my local directory and then I can use foldersync to copy it to paperpile. It is nice that I can use the stylus. However, I’m a little concerned about the number of steps to ensure that I’ve saved my work and it is in the place it needs to be. But whatever, I really appreciate the info you provided!


Good to hear that you find the solution. I am using a Pixelbook which is a chromebook. Android apps perform differently on different chromebooks. Some apps which work great on chromebook A can be impossible to use on chromebook B. In some apps, like EZPDF, there is an “use a stylus like a pen” option. You may need to enable it.

All best,

Plus one for stylus support please…

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I have a Pixelbook and I too would like to be able to highlight text using a stylus or even freehand annotations if possible. Since you are developing an Android app it would not be bad to put stylus support only there as long as you also create a decent tablet interface for those of us using Android apps on chromebooks/boxes/tablets.

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+1 for stylus support on chromebook

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I’d like stylus support too. Using the new Pixel Slate.

I’m on a dell 2 in 1 touchscreen running windows10, but I’m definitely interested in stylus support.

I have a 2-in-1 Chromebook and a Surface Go. Would love to have a “stylus-mode”. Will use KlTang’s tip for now. Thanx!!


Also second adding stylus support for all versions of the app and in the browser.

I had a surface pro recently and think stylus mode will be very helpful. Thanks!

The stylus support for metaPDF will be useful for many users. There are a lot of tablets with windows 10 OS (for example Microsoft Surface) and they haven’t stylus support in paperpile.

I too would love to use a stylus. I’ve just bought a Lenovo Duet 3 Chromebook with stylus, and plan to use it with paperpile. Stylus would be great for highlighting, better than fingers alone.

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