PDF Viewer guide

Learn how to view, edit, and share PDFs in Paperless Parts.

Table of contents


Viewing and navigating PDFs

View controls

  • Continuous page: Scroll through the entire document as one page. With Continuous page view, you can view sections from multiple pages on your screen at once.
  • Page by page: View each page separately. Scroll to view the next/previous page.
  • Use Rotate Clockwise and Rotate Counterclockwise to rotate the entire document. (To rotate one specific page, use the Thumbnail sidebar.)
  • Single page view will only display one page while Double page view will show a two-page spread.
  • Cover facing page view is a two-page spread, but the first page will appear alone on the right side of the display.
    • Tip: To review a multi-page PDF like a booklet, try combining the Page by page and Cover facing page displays.

Adjusting your view

How to move around the page

  1. Scroll with your mouse or trackpad.
  2. Click and drag while in Pan mode.
    1. To enter Pan mode, click the Hand symbol at the top of the viewer or press (P) on your keyboard.

Adjusting magnification

There are several tools you can use to zoom in and out of a PDF, all of which can be selected from the top of the PDF viewer.

  1. Magnification percentage: Click here to adjust the magnification, either by typing a new percent value or selecting one from the dropdown menu.Increase/Decrease magnification: Use these buttons to zoom in or out.
    1. Alternatively, type Cmd+ to zoom in and Cmd- to zoom out.
  2. Fit to width: Click here to set the magnification so the page fills the display horizontally.
  3. Fit to page: Click here to set the magnification so the page fills the display vertically.
  4. Marquee zoom (Z): Use marquee zoom to magnify a selected area of the document.
    1. Click Marquee zoom once (or press Z on your keyboard).
    2. Click and drag over the area that you would like to magnify.

After zooming, you'll default back to whichever tool you were previously using.

Searching text

To search the PDF you’re currently viewing for key terms or phrases, click the magnifying glass in the top right corner of the display. Type the search term and press ENTER to see a list of results.

Select from the list of results to navigate to that instance of the search term in the PDF. Hop between instances using the left and right arrows located above the list of results.

Tip: Use the Case sensitive and Whole word checkboxes to narrow down results.

  • Case sensitive: Only return results that match the capitalization of the search term.
  • Whole word: Do not return results where the search term is a fragment of a word.

This search function will only look for keywords in the PDF you’re actively viewing. To search all PDFs in your Parts Library, use the Global search located in the navigation bar, which is accessible from anywhere in the platform.


Rotate, replace, delete, and extract pages from PDFs

Use the search bar in the thumbnail panel to select and perform actions on multiple PDFs at once.

To select multiple pages, type each page number (separated by a comma) or type a range (ex. 1-5). 

Once you’ve selected multiple pages, use the actions bar to rotate, replace, extract, or delete your selections.

  1. Rotate selected pages. 
  2. Replace: Substitute selected pages with a URL or local file. 
  3. Extract: Download selected pages locally.
  4. Delete: Remove selected pages from the PDF. 

Replacing pages

How do I replace a single page?

  1. Click the panel icon to open the thumbnail panel.
  2. Click the three dots beneath the page you want to extract.
  3. Select Replace.
  4. Type in a URL or upload the local file(s) you would like to replace your selections with.
  5. Select the files you want to substitute into the PDF and click Replace.

How do I replace multiple pages?

  1. Click the panel icon to open the thumbnail panel.
  2. Type the page numbers you want to replace into the search bar. Click the check box on the right to confirm.  

  1. Select Replace from the menu above the search bar.
  2. Type in a URL or upload the local file(s) you would like to replace your selections with.
  3. Select the files you want to substitute into the PDF and click Replace.

Extracting pages

If you’re quoting more than one part off of one multi-page PDF, splitting the document into one page per part can streamline the quoting process and improve traceability. Use the Extract action in the thumbnail panel to locally download pages from a PDF.

How do I extract a single page?

  1. Click the panel icon to open the thumbnail panel.
  2. Click the three dots beneath the page you want to extract.
  3. Select Extract to locally download the page.

How do I extract multiple pages?

  1. Click the panel icon to open the thumbnail panel.
  2. Type the page numbers you want to extract into the search bar. Click the check box on the right to confirm.  

  1. Select Extract from the menu above the search bar.


Comparing PDFs

Let’s say you receive a new revision of a print and need to compare it to the previous version. Use our Comparison tool to quickly identify removed, identical, and added content between two PDFs.

How do I compare PDFs?

  1. Click the panel icon to open the thumbnail panel.
  2. Select Compare PDFs.
  3. Click Upload to browse your computer and select the file you want to compare. 

Once you’ve uploaded a comparison file, use color to identify key differences between the two documents.

  • Red content has been removed and is no longer present in the uploaded drawing.
  • Blue content has been added and was not present in the original drawing.
  • Black content is identical between both drawings.

Tip: Click the eye icon next to the comparison file to toggle the comparison view and review the original document alone.

Example: Comparing revisions

Let’s say you’re in the process of quoting part 5-X-9 B when you receive a revision (part 5-X-9 C). While you’re viewing 5-X-9 B, upload 5-X-9 C in the  Compare PDFs tab:

In the top left corner of the drawing, item 5 is written in blue. That tells us that a requirement for separate packaging has been added to the new revision.

And on the right, this radius was increased to .10 inches in rev C from .05 inches for rev B.


Annotating PDFs

Within the PDF viewer, you can mark up, measure, and redact technical drawings - either for your teammates or yourself to reference while quoting.

Keeping your PDF notes in Paperless saves you printing time and also allows you and your team to work from one central location for information, ensuring that everybody is reading from the same sheet of music.

Adding text and highlights

The Annotate tab includes a set of tools that allow you to take notes directly on a PDF - the same way you might on a printed drawing. Once you have a tool selected, use the Presets menu (item 10 in the figure below) to customize the appearance of your annotations. 

  1. Underline (U): Select text to underline it.
  2. Highlight (H): Select text to highlight it.
  3. Rectangle (R): Click and drag to draw a rectangle on the print.
    1. Tip: Highlight large sections of the print by using the Rectangle tool at a low opacity.
  1. Free text (T): Click anywhere on the print to add a text box.
  2. Free hand highlight: Click and drag to highlight on a PDF.
  3. Free hand (F): Click and drag to draw on a PDF.
  4. Note (N): Click to add a note icon to the PDF.
    1. Tip: Use the Note tool to add context to messages you leave with the Collaboration tool.
  5. Squiggly (G): Select text to add a squiggle underneath it.
  6. Strikeout (K): Select text to strike it out.
  7. Undo (Cmd+Z)
  8. Redo (Shift+Cmd+Z)
  9. Eraser (E): Click and drag to erase existing annotations.

Adding shapes

Navigate to the Shapes tab to add figures to a PDF. Once you have a tool selected, use the Presets menu (item 10 in the figure below) to customize the appearance of your annotations.

  1. Rectangle (R): Click and drag to draw a rectangle on the print.
  2. Freehand highlight: Click and drag to highlight.
  3. Freehand: Click and drag to draw.
  4. Line (L): Click and drag to add a line.
  5. Polyline: Click and drag multiple times to create a polyline. Double-click to end the polyline.
  6. Arrow (A): Click and drag to add an arrow.
  7. Arc: Add an arc to the PDF by clicking three times to select the startpoint, midpoint, and endpoint.
  8. Ellipse (O): Click and drag to add an ellipse.
  9. Polygon: Create a custom shape by clicking where each corner should be, double-clicking the final corner.
  10. Presets menu: Use this section to customize the appearance of the tool you currently have selected.
  11. Undo (Cmd+Z)
  12. Redo (Shift+Cmd+Z)
  13. Eraser (E): Click and drag to erase annotations.

Taking measurements

The Measure tab includes a set of tools that allow you to measure dimensions on a drawing, including distance, arc length, and area. Once you have a tool selected, use the Presets menu (item 10 in the figure below) to customize the appearance of your annotations.

Before taking any measurements, ensure accuracy by setting the scale of the drawing.

Measurement tools

  1. Distance: Click two points to measure the distance between them.
  2. Arc measurement: Click three times to select a startpoint, a midpoint, and an endpoint. This tool will return arc length, radius, and center angle measurements.
  3. Perimeter: Click each corner of a shape, double-clicking the final corner, to get the total length of the perimeter.

  1. Area (custom shape): Click each corner of a shape, double-clicking the final corner, to get the total area.
  2. Area (circle): Click and drag across the widest point of a circle to get the total area and radius.
  3. Tip: If you’re not happy with your circle (or any measurement), select it and drag corners to make an adjustment.
  4. Area (rectangle): Click and drag across the widest point of a rectangle to get the total area.
  5. Count measurement: Click near a measurement to mark it as “counted”.

  1. Enable snapping: Snap to objects/lines in the PDF while taking measurements.
  2. Presets menu: Use this section to customize the appearance of the tool you currently have selected. 
  3. Undo (Cmd+Z)
  4. Redo (Shift+Cmd+Z)
  5. Erase: Click and drag to remove existing measurements.

Tip: Click an existing measurement to view results or adjust your measurement.

Setting the scale

Once you select a tool, you’ll need to set the scale of the PDF before taking any measurements.

Click the box next to Scale to expand the dropdown menu. Make a selection from the list of available ratios or set up a new one by clicking Add new scale.

If the print explicitly calls out the scale or precision, type in the desired scale/precision and click Create to confirm. For instance, this print is at a scale of 1:2:

To set the scale appropriately, we’ll type “1” and “2” in the Custom scale field.

If the scale is not explicitly called out, or difficult to locate, you can also calibrate it manually with one known dimension from the page.

For example, let’s calibrate the scale using this 6-in measurement.

Add a new scale and click Calibrate.

Click once at each end of the dimension you are using to calibrate and type the distance between the two points.

Tip: Hold shift while choosing your second point to enforce a line at 0 degrees. 

Click Apply to set the new scale and Create to confirm.

Saving annotations

After marking up a PDF with any of the annotation tools below, use the  Add annotation option in the Collaboration tool to save your work.

  1. Open the Collaboration tool.
  2. Select Add Annotation.

  1. Type to add a message.
  2. Press ENTER or click the paper airplane to save.

Tip: You can access annotations you made in the PDF viewer while quoting by clicking the chat icon in the Build a Quote page.

Redacting PDFs

To access the redaction tools, select Redact at the top of the PDF viewer. Here, you can redact text, rectangles, and entire pages before saving your work to a new supporting file.

Redacting text

  1. Click the Redact button.

  1. Highlight the text you want to redact. Selected text will be surrounded by a red box.

Redacting sections of a page

  1. Click the Redact button.
  2. Click and drag to highlight a rectangular portion of the page. Everything within the red box will be redacted.
    1. Tip: Mouse over the red rectangle to preview the redaction.

Redacting entire pages

  1. Click the Redact pages button.

  1. Specify which pages you’d like to redact, previewing your selection in the left display.
  2. Click Redact to apply your redactions and create a supporting file or Add Mark to continue redacting.

Saving redactions

Click the check box to apply all redactions and save the redacted PDF as a supporting file.

Once you’ve created a redacted version of the drawing, you can download it from the Files tab or share it securely through the platform with External collaboration.

Learn how to share a redacted file with a vendor or outside contact with  External collaboration here


Tips and tricks

Collapsed sidebar retention

By default, PDFs occupy a small portion of the screen due to the left and right sidebars. Collapsing these bars can make navigating and finding information in PDFs easier, especially when you're reading small text.

If you collapse these bars, they stay hidden until you expand them, even after closing the viewer window or opening a new document.

To collapse the left sidebar, click the small circle with an arrow. To collapse the right sidebar, click the icon for the tool that’s currently expanded. (For instance, to close  Collaboration, click the chat icon.)

Advanced settings and downloading PDFs with annotations

To download a PDF with annotations, or to change the language or color theme of the PDF viewer, access Advanced settings from the menu in the top left corner of the viewer. 

The PDF viewer in dark mode:

How do I share a redacted file using External collaboration?

To share a redacted file with a vendor, but exclude the original file from this share, start a new external chat:

Set permissions so that the recipient only has access to the file you have redacted:

As the recipient responds to the share, you can then add any documentation they upload or information they message you to the part and/or quotes associated with the original part. We suggest adding the quote number to the chat messages for ease of search later on.

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