New PDF Annotator Public Beta 🖍

I’m happy to announce that we have released a new version of our PDF viewer and annotator. This update is part of a larger series of updates including major infrastructure upgrades which will form the basis of our new Android and iOS apps and our Word plugin for Windows and MacOS.

We will release all these new features as beta versions first. These updates were long in making and as such we want to make sure everything is ironed out before we launch to all users. Although the beta features are generally stable, you will be among the first using them. So things can go wrong. If you are not comfortable using beta software, we recommend waiting for the public roll out of the new features.

Features included in this PDF Annotator Beta

  • Completely rewritten PDF Annotator
  • Annotation features:
    • Add Comments (“Sticky notes”),
    • Markup text with Highlights, Underline, Strikethrough,
    • Draw shapes and highlight figures: Pen, Rectangle, Circle, Arrow
  • Highlighted images are shown in the annotation list
  • Support for annotations made by any standard compliant PDF editor
  • Improved performance of PDF rendering and scrolling
  • Faster and more network efficient syncing to Google Drive
  • Custom colors
  • and much more…

How to take part in this beta

In the Paperpile web app go to the gear in the upper right → Settings → Browser Integration. Then under “PDF Viewer” select “Viewer with annotations (beta)”. You will be asked to join our beta track before you can use the new PDF viewer with annotations.

Bug reports, feature requests and general feedback

  • We welcome all kind of feedback in particular bug reports at this early stage.
  • Please post your feedback in this forum (preferred) or contact us via the in app messenger or via email to
  • We read everything but as we are running multiple beta tests at the same time we might not be able to respond to all posts and emails immediately.


  • Make sure you have the latest version of the extension and the webapp. In particular, if you see a warning "Offline" in the Beta Annotator follow these steps:
    • Go to More Tools → Extensions in the Chrome menu, then switch the Paperpile extension off, then on again
    • Reload your Paperpile tab.

I used it for some time, and I really like it!

How can I configure Google Drive to use the PDF annotator beta as the default PDF viewer outside of Paperpile?

1 Like

Thank you! The new PDF annotator is only available via Paperpile at this point.


I see. Then please take it as a feature request to make it available in Google Drive (the same way as it was possible to use MetaPDF). Thank you for working on this!

Bug report: can you please add display of the current/total page count for the open document? It is currently not possible to know what page is displayed in the new viewer. This feature was present in MetaPDF (bottom right corner), but apparently was lost in translation.


First of all I love this new annotator! Since I switched to it a few days ago, though, the main app has been pretty buggy. I’ve accessed my account from two different computers that usually run Paperpile fine, but since switching to the beta I keep getting the error message that I need to sign into my account again whenever I do anything in the main app. I also have to sign in again in the app and in Google Scholar when I try to add a citation from there.

It looks like these issues have gone away since I switched to Chrome default view for the PDF annotator. But I’m writing my comprehensive exam for my Master’s this weekend so it’s really, really inconvenient to have my annotations missing. Is there another fix where I can still see my annotations without the signing-in bug? Please advise!

Thank you all for your hard work. I’m super glad to see progress on Paperpile. :slight_smile:

@Andrey Thank you for the note. This was added in Wednesday’s release, so please update your extension.

@diken I cannot currently imagine how the PDF Viewer would affect your Paperpile login state, but we have had a few users who experienced a similar problem and traced it to the Ghostery extension. If you are using this extension, please disable it or add exceptions for Paperpile.

1 Like

I see “export annotations” is under development. Look forward to this…

1 Like

Bug report: somehow the width of the horizontal scroll area is initialized too large, and the paper is shown to the extreme right, see demo in the screencast here:

Ahh! I got it - that specific paper has a large table in landscape mode, which causes this behavior. I think it would be helpful though to center the view by default so that the page is visible in the middle of the screen on the initial open.

When I try to use the keyboard to initiate a new search (command-F) – while viewing the search results for a previous search – it flashes the search box but then it disappears, returning me back to the previous search results before I can do another search. Instead I have to scroll to the top, click in the search box, and then start typing the new search.

Hi Cointelbro,

beta-track code is limited to the PDF Viewer code at the moment. The only beta-track thing you can interact with outside of the PDF Viewer are the PDF files synchronized to your Google Drive - we are generating a fresh PDF based on the annotations changes you make in the PDF Viewer and sync the file to Google Drive.


I like to have “page width” view turned on by default. But when I make an annotation, or search and the side panel opens, the width becomes very small and the text hard to read. This would make sense if there was something on the right side of the screen, but it is all blank. (Let me know if you need screen shots.)

And, like someone above, this is made worse by having different page widths in the same document, so even when the side panel is closed it is smaller than it should be… but that is a separate issue from what I’m flagging here.

Yes, there is currently a bug whereby the right side panel does not always start in a collapsed state. We will fix this with the next update.

1 Like

Any plans on implementing a dark mode ? That’d be super useful.

1 Like

The latest update should fix the missized margins problem. We don’t currently have a solution for PDFs with differently-sized pages, that problem is not easy to get right and users always have the zoom settings, so we will revisit it at a later point.

Dark mode is on the roadmap, but I can’t yet say when it will be added.

Hi Jirka, I would like to have the ability (as it is implemented in adobe reader), to highlight individual words by double clicking (highlight) is first turned on, of course). Thanks

I seem to have an issue where I lost all of the annotations on one of my paper when using the new PDF annotator one on computer but when opened up on another computer they are still there. Is there some sync issue?


Hi Adam,

thanks for the report. It seems the persistent connection the PDF Annotator is using has a bug in it and the annotator failed to load the annotations from our backend. Closing and reopening the PDF should help, but I will investigate the underlying issue further.

Hi, I just started using the annotation beta yesterday, and this is my first post in the forum at all so I hope that I’m doing the correct thing.

I wonder if there is a way currently or planned to filter papers in paperpile by annotation or to export annotations?

Many thanks,