Jason Carroll, Global Product Manager

Transform PDFs with the Texthelp PDF Reader

Portable Document Format (PDF) files continue to be one of the most popular file formats found both on and off the web. They’re great when you need to retain formatting, restrict others from editing, or save a digital copy of a file. PDFs are also easily viewable on devices ranging from phones to Chromebooks. 

However, when it comes to accessibility, engagement, and collaboration within PDFs, the file format falls short. That’s why we've created the Texthelp PDF Reader, which provides a speedy experience while integrating all the bells and whistles anyone looking to interact with PDFs would want. Read on to find out more.

Depending on the application used to view PDF files, many PDF viewers fall short in areas such as:

  • Accessibility
  • Responding to questions
  • Creating text, voice, or other annotations
  • Making or replying to comments
  • Real-time collaboration
The Texthelp PDF Reader, available for Read&Write for Google Chrome, Read&Write for Windows and Read&Write for Mac, aims to help remedy many of these common shortfalls. Built from the ground up, our Reader provides a lightning fast experience for anyone looking to interact with PDFs. 

Accessing the PDF Reader

If you are using Read&Write for Google Chrome, watch this video to learn how to open PDF files in Google Drive, the web, or even your local hard drive.

If you are using Read&Write for Windows or Mac, simply click on the PDF Reader icon within the Read&Write toolbar to open your PDF file. 

The Tools You Love, Now Available in PDFs

Once you’ve opened a PDF through any of the above methods, you can use the Read&Write tools you know and love to:
  • Read text aloud
  • Look up words in the Dictionary and Picture Dictionary
  • Translate words
  • Highlight text
  • Build vocabulary lists

Collaboration & Annotation in Read&Write for Google Chrome

The Texthelp PDF Reader in Read&Write for Google Chrome also comes with handy collaboration features like commenting and annotations. 


To use commenting, first select some text, then click the comment icon to the right of the selection and make a comment (just like in Google Docs). You can even use word prediction or speech input to help you type, or create an audio comment using your voice! You can also insert images or links, and listen and respond to others’ comments made in PDFs shared through Google Drive.

PDF Reader, Collaboration tools


Use the Typewriter Tool to annotate files or fill in the blanks on worksheets. Simply click the “T” icon from the toolbar, click where you would like to insert your text, and start typing. As with comments, you can use prediction and dictation to help. 

PDF Reader, collaboration tools, text box

Freehand Drawing

The freehand drawing tool is perfect for anything from marking up your own document, to circling answers on an assignment. To use, just click the Freehand Drawing button, adjust the color and line thickness settings, and start drawing. This feature is especially great for touchscreen devices.

PDF Reader Freehand Drawing tool

Shapes Drawing

The Shapes Drawing tool includes options for squares, circles and lines with customizable line color, fill color and line thickness. Use it for circling/boxing the answer to a multiple choice question, underlining important details in a reading passage, and so much more.

PDF Reader Shapes Drawing

But wait, there's more!

For even more ways you can use the Texthelp PDF Reader, including its integration with Google Classroom and our digital STEM tool, EquatIO, check out a recent webinar on ‘Making PDFs Accessible and Collaborative’.

Making PDFs accessible and collaborative promotional image

Tell Us What You Think

Use the feedback within Read&Write or the Comments section below to send us feedback anytime. We look forward to hearing from you!


Matthew Sheehan 28/09/2020 4:48:36 PM
Can this tool be used with files in Shared Drives in Google? We are not seeing it as an option under "open with" for PDF files in Shared Drives. I tried submitting the contact form for tech support but it didn't seem to go through and submit.

Deena Kimmel 29/09/2020 12:27:40 PM
Hi Matthew - Sorry you had trouble submitting the form. You can email our Support Team directly at support@texthelp.com. They'll be able to help with your Shared Drive question. Thank you!

Meghan McCullough 16/09/2020 2:41:47 PM
Hello, so I have downloaded R&W PDF reader and I am very happy with it, but I was wondering if there is a way to still be able to print the pdf? at the moment, whenever I try and print it only comes up with one or two of the pages and then a bunch of blank ones. How do you print the document?? thank you, Meg

Deena Kimmel 21/09/2020 12:52:53 PM
Hi Meghan - We're so glad to hear you are enjoying the PDF Reader! As for the printing, can you please email support@texthelp.com? You should be able to print the entire document, so our Tech Support team will be able to help look into this to see what might be going on. Thanks!

Brad Moser 9/09/2020 2:42:23 AM
Does this integrate with Canvas like it does with Schoology?

Deena Kimmel 10/09/2020 2:26:08 PM
Hi Brad - Thanks for your question! Integration in Canvas is not yet available, but it is coming soon. So please stay tuned for future updates!

Karla K Gordon 4/09/2020 12:45:15 PM
I clicked through because the email said that Text Help is integrated with Schoology. But I searched "schoology" and found nothing. Is the tool integrated with Schoology in some way?

Deena Kimmel 4/09/2020 1:22:27 PM
Hi Karla - Here is a support article that shows how to use the PDF Reader in Schoology: https://support.texthelp.com/help/using-the-texthelp-pdf-reader-in-schoology. Let us know if you have any more questions! Thanks!

Blake 11/08/2020 2:30:40 AM
Is this extension free to use at all times ? Does it talk with schoology well for students who also have the extension ?

Deena Kimmel 4/09/2020 1:33:23 PM
Hi Blake - If you have a Free for Teacher or premium subscription of Read&Write, you have access to PDF Reader. And yes, it does work with Schoology. Let us know if you have any questions!

Andreia 30/07/2020 1:04:18 PM
I this available for thr ipad? I am having trouble finding the extension for thr ipad.

Deena Kimmel 30/07/2020 1:28:18 PM
Hi Andreia - The PDF Reader is currently not available for iPads. It is only available with Read&Write for Google Chrome, Windows and Mac. Thanks!

Gwenlyn Abraham 9/05/2020 2:21:23 AM
Hi my text icon is grey. It won't let me click on it and type anything onto the pdf.

Deena Kimmel 11/05/2020 1:18:55 PM
Hi Gwenlyn - Can you please email support@texthelp.com? They'll be able to work with you to get you set up and running again. Thanks!

Prateek 1/04/2020 11:51:50 PM
Why is my Text icon grey? It won't let me click on it and I can't type anything onto the pdf.

Deena Kimmel 2/04/2020 2:40:39 PM
Hi Prateek - Can you please email support@texthelp.com? They'll be able to work with you to get you set up and running again. Thanks!

Sarah Hoyer 5/03/2020 5:28:56 PM
Student had started a worksheet, and when they came back to complete it, the original text did not save. How do we ensure text will be saved into the document? *using the typewriter feature*

Deena Kimmel 9/03/2020 12:45:30 PM
Hi Sarah! Here's a Support article about saving annotated PDFs in Google Drive: https://support.texthelp.com/help/how-can-i-save-and-view-annotations-in-a-pdf. Let us know if you have any more questions!

Fiona 27/02/2020 5:19:01 PM

I am having difficulty selecting text for the highlighter function in PDFs. I am using Windows 10 Home. Most often the selection I am trying for will let go or jump to another unwanted selection before I am able to select the highlight tool. Is this a glitch or am I doing something wrong?

Also, when collecting highlights is there any way to pull over the page number that the text came from? This would be of massive benefit to students and academics!


Deena Kimmel 27/02/2020 7:10:42 PM
Hi FIona! Can you please email support@texthelp.com? Our Tech Support team will be able to look into the particular problem you're seeing. Thanks!

donna marcotte-rizza 11/02/2020 5:11:00 PM
Can you add images to the PDF? I can't drag a picture from your picture dictionary to the PDF. I can not add images from google either?

Deena Kimmel 12/02/2020 2:04:12 PM
Hi Donna! At this time, you cannot add images as annotations in the PDF Reader. However, you can add images into the Comments on a PDF, so they'll just show up on the side of the PDF as opposed to directly on it. We hope that helps! Thanks!

jessica wortman 8/11/2019 4:56:43 PM
How do I send an annotated PDF to my student's teacher after it is finished?

Deena Kimmel 8/11/2019 6:43:48 PM
Hi Jessica! As long as your student's teacher opens the PDF with the Texthelp PDF Reader, they'll be able to see the annotations previously added to the PDF. Thanks!

Janelle Perry-Askew 25/10/2019 5:12:21 PM
Hi, is there a way to copy and paste. If I draw a circle can I copy and paste the same size circle next to it?

Deena Kimmel 8/11/2019 6:42:23 PM
Hi Janelle! You cannot copy and paste shape annotations at the moment, but we will send the request to our developers to add to the backlog. Thank you!

Sonia 16/10/2019 4:16:37 PM
How can you print your PDF after you used the typewriter?

Deena Kimmel 16/10/2019 6:22:52 PM
Hi Sonia! There is a print button in the bottom left of the screen. Thanks!




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