Jason Carroll, Global Product Manager

Texthelp’s New PDF Reader Now Available

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. 

There’s always room for improvement however. That’s why we've been working on a new PDF Reader that 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
Texthelp is excited to announce a new PDF Reader, for Read&Write for Google Chrome and Read&Write for Windows, aimed to help remedy many of these common shortfalls. Built from the ground up, our new Reader provides a lightning fast experience for anyone looking to interact with PDFs. 

PDF Reader, Read&Write

If you are a Read&Write for Google Chrome user; Texthelp’s new PDF Reader is easy and you already have access! And if you don’t have Read&Write, simply install it from the Chrome Web Store and use it to open PDF files in Google Drive, the web, or even your local hard drive.

You can view a video of how to get started here, or just keep reading for the details. 

View PDFs in Google Drive

Get started by opening a PDF from Google Drive by right clicking any PDF file and choosing “Open with” followed by Read&Write for Google Chrome. 

PDF Reader, Read&Write

You can also make Texthelp’s PDF Reader your default PDF viewer in Drive by going to Google Drive settings and choosing Manage apps, then check “Use by Default”.

PDF Reader, Settings, Chrome

View PDFs on the Web

To open a PDF from the web, simply click on any link to a PDF file and it will open in Texthelp’s PDF Reader.

View Local PDF Files

To open a PDF from your local hard drive you must first allow the extension to access local file URLs. Access your extensions in Chrome by typing chrome://extensions/ in the URL bar, or choosing “More Tools - Extensions” from Chrome settings. 

Once the settings page is open, search for Texthelp PDF Reader and check “Allow access to file URLs”.

PDF Reader, default

Now you can open local PDFs by dropping them into an empty tab in Chrome, or choosing “File - Open File” from the Chrome menu. 

Using Texthelp’s PDF Reader 

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
  • Add text annotations using Word Prediction
  • Highlight text
  • Build vocabulary lists

Collaborate and Annotate

Texthelp’s new PDF Reader 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

If you are a current Read&Write for Google Chrome user, the new PDF Reader will automatically take the place of the old viewer. Similar to Read&Write, all users will have access to tools like adding and responding to comments, text-to-speech, and the translator tool. Premium Read&Write for Google Chrome subscribers (including our “free for teachers” users) will get access to all other tools like annotations, vocabulary supports, word prediction, and more.

Keep in mind this is a completely new PDF Reader for Read&Write for Google Chrome. Any highlights or comments in the old (legacy) PDF Viewer will not be available in the new Reader. If you made comments or highlights on a PDF in the legacy viewer and still need access, you can install the legacy viewer separately. Just keep in mind that it will not be around forever, so be sure to use the new PDF Reader for future PDF viewing/commenting.

Now Available for Windows! *update as of September 11, 2017

A brand new PDF Reader experience is now also available in Read&Write for Windows! Our newest version of Read&Write for Windows, released back in April, offers a new user experience with features built from the ground up with ease and simplicity in mind. Read&Write for Windows is always evolving with new features and enhancements, and PDF Reader is the latest.

The Windows PDF Reader offers many of the great features mentioned above, like the ability to read text aloud, look up words in the Dictionary and Picture Dictionary, highlight text, and extract highlights and vocabulary lists into Word. Keep an eye out for additional enhancements in the future, as well as the release of this new PDF Reader for Read&Write for Mac.

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!


Samantha S. 9/12/2018 1:16:14 PM
Whenever I try to open a PDF through google classroom, the page will open but the sign in page for Google will pop up and then disappear, this has been happening for over a year now and it NEEDS TO BE FIXED!

Deena Kimmel 9/12/2018 8:34:22 PM
Hi Samantha. Sorry to hear you've been having this issue. Could you please contact our Support team at support@texthelp.com? They will be able to sort this out for you. Thanks!

mary.stonehouse@sccdsb.net 9/7/2017 5:12:41 PM
Hello. My PDF is open in Read & Write for Google/Texthelp PDF Reader and it will not print. There is only a blank screen. Any suggestions? I

Jason 9/8/2017 1:14:55 PM
Hey Mary, sorry to hear you're having trouble. You should see a small print icon at the bottom of the PDF when using the new PDF Reader. Clicking this should process the document for printing and open a print window.

If this isn't working for you, please reach out to our support team at support@texthelp.com so that they can take a look.

Stacy Bowers 8/28/2017 6:32:04 PM
We have been having many problems with enabling the permissions for students in TEXTHELP pdf reader. When opening a pdf with "View Only" permissions from google drive, it appears to be loading for a very long time, yet never loads. Does the pdf have to be part of the students' drive in order for texthelp pdf reader to work?

Deena 8/29/2017 7:53:22 PM
Hi Stacy! Sorry to hear that you are having problems with permissions. If you wouldn't mind reaching out to our Tech Support team, they will be able to help you out. You can email them at support@texthelp.com. Thanks!

Tanya Wilson 8/22/2017 11:57:53 AM
I am not able to locate the Texthelp PDF Reader in the Chrome App store. I am unable to open and of my pdf's anymore. In the store, when I search this under Extensions, it directs me to Read & Write. I tried removing and re-uploading R&W - but it did not work. HOW DO I DOWNLOAD THE PDF READER? I am in desperate need to do school planning.

Jason 8/26/2017 1:43:56 AM
Hi Tanya, sorry you're having trouble. If you install Read&Write for Google Chrome from the Chrome Web Store, then right click on any PDF file in Google Drive, you should be prompted to install the new PDF Reader. It is currently not available as a separate download from the Chrome Web Store. If you continue to have problems please reach out to support@texthelp.com.




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