PDF annotations private beta 1


This may have already been raised, but… when my sidebar is closed, MetaPDF thinks it’s still there and switches my cursor to a horizontal resizer. This makes it impossible to highlight up to the point where this happens. In the attached screenshot, my cursor was where the red arrow is; I had tried to highlight from “Pooling…”



Some things I noticed:

  • when typing in the annotation box on Ubuntu Chrome, the pdf starts to flicker with every keypress, as if it was being refreshed every time. Very annoying
  • this seems to be only happening with the left side-bar collapsed. As long as it is open, there is no problem.
  • opening an annotation box should also make it focused. Clicking again gets annoying
  • when typing in an annotation box, ctrl+enter should end the annotation and return focus to the text
  • highlighting of text gets rendered in the wrong location if the zoom level is set to page-width on some texts.
  • App tends to freeze when that happens
  • while highlighting text in pdf forms does work, commenting on it does not work (no tooltip menu)
  • the hovering annotation box in the legacy app is actually quite useful for general remarks or summaries that are not attached to a specific part of the paper. Would be great to see it come back with markdown support.

edit: just saw that the focus issue was already posted. Also +1 on the color sorting. Would be fantastic



Thanks so much for this annotation utility, in general I think it’s great! However, I do sometimes wrestle with highlighting, it seems very sensitive to flipping and highlighting a big chunk before the start instead of the one-liner after the start of my click. I also have occasional issues with the highlight margins not matching the paper margins (I can send you an example of this if that would be helpful).



First off - love this idea! I would like to use it most for collaboration – taking notes to share with others. It would be pretty ideal if the “document outline” exported to the “notes” section on paperpile. Is this a possibility?


I think there should be an undo button. I keep accidentally highlighting large bits of text and then taking time to find the X to remove it.

I am unsure how to create a document outline. How do you do that?


Actually there is an undo button in the menu. Also you can undo pretty much everything with Ctrl-z or on a mac Apple-z.

What exactly do you mean with document outline?


Off-Kilter Highlighting

Hello Developers,

I ran into a PDF exhibiting the displaced highlighting issue. Here is a screenshot:

Here is a link to the PDF: Community Involvement in School: Social Relationships in a Bedroom Community.

Thank you!


One suggestion: I annotated a pdf with adobe acrobat (on android), and that seems to have gone over well to metapdf, but the default adobe highlights are ugly bright yellow compared to the ones MetaPDF adds. Is it possible for metaPDF to just interpret those default highlights made in Adobe as the default highlights of metaPDF?

One bug: I deleted some highlights and sticky notes that I made in Adobe acrobat (on android) with metaPDF, and replaced them with highlights with comments, which is a nice option in metaPDF, but one I hadn’t spotted in Adobe. When I opened the pdf in acrobat (version shown below) on a macbook air. I get the error message “Dictionary keys must be direct name objects.” If I click OK, the same error window shows up again.

Adobe Acrobat DC on mac.
Architecture: x86_64
Build: 15.8.20082.147029
AGM: 4.30.58
CoolType: 5.14.5

I can email the pdf on request.

Second bug. The annotation report on the lefthand side of the paper nicely shows the highlighted text snippet, but has trouble with more exotic characters. The pdf itself shows the characters as intended in metaPDF

“The Chronicle ofS 0e 0eert knows merely that the plague ( wab 0a 0a’ ) spread throughout Persia,India, and Abyssinia (al-Habasha)”

“S 0e 0eert” should be “S ́eert”, and “wab 0a 0a’” should be “wab ̄a’” (but with the “-” above the “a”).



Could you, please, send the PDF file to andreas@paperpile.com. Thanks for your help in debugging!



A small thing. It would be nice if new PDFs opened in a new tab rather than over the one presently loaded. However if you are planning to integrate this into Paperpile, maybe a non-issue? Also one can duplicate the tab before loading the other paper as a work-around.

Otherwise, glad to see this annotator up and running.




That’s definitely something to consider. Opening a new PDF does not necessarily mean that you want to close the old one.


Hi guys,

I just tried exporting some annotations and I see when exporting as HTML, some of the formatting is lost. See screenshot. Words become joined and special characters are lost or replaced.



Thanks for reporting. Behind the hood we are using PDF.js and these guys work hard to parse the text from the PDF. But sometimes it does not work perfectly. For those cases, you can double-click on the highlighted text in the left side panel and edit the text to your needs.


Possible to rotate single pages of a PDF (e.g., command-R in OSX’s Preview)?

Even better would be for the zoom “fit to screen” zoom option to behave dynamically – there’s 1 page of this pdf that’s in landscape format, and it’s throwing off the width of the other 300 pages (even if I zoom in manually for the other pages, the horizontal scroll bar is annoying).


Problem with printing: when I go to print a pdf I have highlighted, the color ends up covering the words entirely…please help!



Can you send the PDF file to andreas@paperpile.com? Did you print in metapdf or in another application?


@Beck_Powers good catch. I’m still having the same problem as @zazzman, where I can’t get the correct portion of text to be highlighted. Did you just get lucky here, or are you consistently able to highlight this well?


Thanks again for being brave and taking part in the early beta phase.

MetaPDF is now in public beta. Please post all new issues here: http://forum.paperpile.com/c/pdf-annotations

Also don’t forget to tell all your friends and colleagues about MetaPDF!