Pelican PDF Reader Support

1.0 Introduction

Pelican PDF Reader is designed with ease of use and simplicity in mind. The reader is divided into three sliding panels. These sliding panels eliminate the need for navigating through different screens, enabling you to view and access features simultaneously. This help file goes through every feature and explains how to use them. If there are any questions regarding Pelican PDF Reader or this help file, please send us an email via the Feedback button from the Settings screen or email us at If the question is associated with issues on a PDF document (e.g. PDF doesn’t open properly), please attach the PDF document to the email to help us fix the issue.


2.0 Documents Panel

This panel is the central hub for displaying, adding, managing and accessing your documents. Each feature in this panel will be listed and explained below.

2.1 Adding Documents

Pelican PDF Reader allows you to add documents multiple ways.

2.1.1 Importing

A. Import screen

  • Tapping on the ‘+’ button will bring you to the import screen
  • The import screen contains five services: iTunes and four cloud storage services (Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and SugarSync)
  • Tapping any of the five services will give you access to your list of files
  • To add documents via iTunes, you will need to have your device connected to your computer
  • For cloud storage services, you will need to login before you can access your files
  • To logout, swipe the table cell to the left and press the ‘Logout’ button

B. List of files screen(s)

  • Tapping multiple files will add it to a download queue and will download files one by one
  • If the file has already been downloaded, you are given the option to open the document
  • Tapping on the ‘X’ button during a download will cancel your download
  • Navigating in or out of folders will cancel downloads for all files in the download queue
  • Scrolling up will allow you to refresh your files (this feature is only available for cloud storage services)
  • Files will always be downloaded to the last folder you were in before tapping the ‘+’ button.

General note: Please be patient when dealing with any cloud storage services. The loading speed and download speed is not only dependent on your internet connection, but also the respective servers of each cloud service and it’s interaction with your device and Pelican PDF Reader.

2.1.2 Open in…

Pelican PDF Reader also contains the “Open in…” feature. This feature allows you to open PDF documents in Pelican PDF Reader from other apps (e.g. Safari). Documents opened using the “Open in…” feature will automatically be downloaded to Pelican PDF Reader.


2.2 Managing Documents

There are many features to help you manage your documents. Each feature will be listed and explained below.

2.2.1 Document Sorting

You can sort documents by name, import date or by file size. Folders will always be sorted and displayed before files. Tapping on the ‘A->Z’/'Z->A’ button will toggle the sort order to be ascending and descending.

2.2.2 Document Organization

Organizational tools include creating folders as well as renaming, moving and deleting files and folders. These tools are accessible through the ‘Edit’ button on the bottom left corner.

A. Renaming

  • Only one file/folder can be renamed at a time
  • Files cannot be the same name

B. Moving

  • Tapping on this button will bring up the move screen of your Documents where you can navigate to the desired directory
  • Tapping on the ‘Move’ button will move your file to the desired folder
  • Tapping on the ‘Done’ button will close the move screen without any action
  • Multiple files/folders can be moved at once

C. Creating Folders

  • Tapping on this button will prompt you to enter a folder name
  • Pressing ‘Create’ will create the folder in the directory you are currently in

D. Deleting

  • Multiple files/folders can be deleted at once
  • Deleting files will also delete the file index and any associated annotations created (see Section 2.2.4 and Section 3.3.3 respectively)
  • This action cannot be undone

2.2.3 Document Details

You can view the document details by tapping the detail disclosure indicator (blue button with arrow) for a given file. The detail popover gives the following information: Full filename, size of file, document import date, and import method. There are also two available actions: index document and mark as read/unread.
A. Index document

  • Tapping on the ‘Index document’ button will add the file to the indexing queue. You cannot index a document that has already been indexed.
  • Multiple files can be added to the indexing queue
  • Tapping on the ‘X’ button during indexing will cancel indexing
  • Details concerning indexing is covered in the following section (Section 2.2.2).

B. Mark as read/unread

  • If a document has been opened at any point in time, it is considered ‘read’
  • ‘Unread’ documents are indicated by the orange dot next to the filename in your Documents list.
  • Read and unread statuses can be toggled anytime as necessary

2.2.4 Document Indexing

Indexing is a powerful feature that may be useful for many users. The purpose of indexing is to greatly reduce the time required to search for words in a document.

A. Automatic Indexing

  • Any downloaded documents will automatically be added to the indexing queue and will index files one by one
  • Tapping on the ‘X’ button during indexing will cancel indexing
  • This feature is ON by default and can be set to OFF in the Settings screen

B. Manual Indexing

  • This feature is explained in the previous section (Section 2.2.1, subsection A)

C. Wipe Document Index

  • This will delete all previous document indexing
  • This action cannot be undone
  • You will still able to re-index your documents manually if you have taken this action
  • This action is accessible from the Setting screen

Disclaimer: Indexing may not be perfect or may not work at all for certain PDF documents.


2.3 Opening Documents

Documents can be opened by simply tapping on the table cell. The document will be opened in preview mode in the Reader panel. Document reading and interactions are explained in the next section (Section 3.0)

3.0 Reader Panel

This panel is the main panel for viewing and navigating through PDF documents. Annotations can also be made from this panel. The reader panel has access to both left (Documents) and right (Detail) panels.

3.1 Panel Navigation

  • Tapping the chevrons on the top bar will open or close the side panels
  • Alternatively, you can also swipe right or left on the top bar to open or close the side panels

3.2 Preview Mode

  • This mode is only active when the left or right panels are open
  • Zooming and text selection are disabled, however page navigation (scrolling and page jumping) are still enabled
  • Tapping anywhere on the document will close the side panels and the center panel will be in fullscreen

3.3 Fullscreen Reader Mode

There are a variety of interactions in the fullscreen reader. These interactions are explained below.


3.3.1 Basic Gestures

A. Pinch

  • Zooms in or out of a document

B. Tap

  • Shows or hides the top bar, scrollbar and page indicator

C. Tap and hold on text

  • Can select the text and allow you to copy or highlight selected text

3.3.2 Page Navigation

There are multiple ways to navigate through a PDF document:
A. Gestures

  • Swiping up or down will scroll through the document
  • If the top bar, scrollbar and page indicator are hidden, swiping will automatically show the scrollbar and page indicator for a few seconds before hiding again

B. Scroll Bar

  • The scrollbar is located on the right side of the screen
  • Tap and drag to scroll through the document

C. Page Jump

  • Tapping on the page indicator on the bottom center of the screen will enable you to enter a page number to jump to
  • Only Western Arabic Numerals (i.e. 0123456789) are valid

3.3.3 Annotate Mode

This mode is available by tapping the ‘a’ button and can be exited by tapping the ‘Done’ button. Although page navigation is disabled in this mode, you can still zoom in or out of the page and show/hide the top bar. Only two annotation actions are currently available: Highlight and Ink.
A. Highlight

  • This action is selected by default upon entering Annotate mode
  • Tapping and dragging will select text and highlight upon release
  • Highlight action is deselected after a highlight has been made, allowing you to scroll or zoom
  • The only highlight color currently available is yellow

B. Ink

  • This action enables freehand drawing
  • All drawings done within one session are grouped as one object (i.e. Pressing done or switching to highlight will finish the drawing)
  • The only draw color currently available is red

C. Deleting Annotations

  • Tapping on an annotation will select the annotation (as indicated with a blue bounding box) and a ‘Delete’ button will appear
  • Tapping on the ‘Delete’ button will remove the annotation
  • There is also an alternative way to delete an annotation, which will be covered in Section 4.3

4.0 Detail Panel

This panel contains features that can be used to go into more detail on the current opened document. These features include search, bookmarks and annotations, all of which are accessible by the tab bar located on the bottom of the panel.


4.1 Search

  • Tapping on the search bar will allow you to enter a search term
  • Tapping ‘Search’ on the keyboard will search the entered term in the document beginning from the current page in view
  • Search results will be populated with the search term highlighted and displayed in context of the document
  • If the search results exceed ~25 entries the search will pause, after which you can press the ‘Resume Search’ button to get the next ~25 entries
  • Tapping on a search result will display the appropriate page and highlight the word in orange
  • If the Detail panel is closed at any time while search is running, the search is automatically paused
  • If the document is indexed, search results will be populated much faster


  • This will display the table of contents for the PDF document if it is available (some documents do not contain a table of contents)
  • If available, you can navigate through the table of contents via disclosure indicator
  • Tapping on an entry will display the appropriate page

4.3 Annotations

  • This will display all the user-made annotations for the opened document
  • Each entry will have the annotation type (highlight or ink), date the annotation was created on and the author name
  • Author name can be set in the Setting screen, but by default it is the name of the device
  • Tapping on an entry will display the appropriate page and select the annotation (as indicated with a blue bounding box)
  • Swiping the table cell will allow you to delete the annotation


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