Metalware Reader is a fast, no-frills, native PDF reader designed for handling large PDF files such as technical datasheets and reference manuals.

We were tired of existing solutions (Adobe Reader, macOS Preview, Google Chrome, etc) that perform slowly or even freeze on 1000+ page documents. So we developed Metalware Reader from the ground up, in C++, and added developer-friendly features like Vim bindings.

The key feature of Metalware Reader is AI Search, which can automatically retrieve information for you instead of needing to CTRL+F dozens of times. If your answer requires synthesizing information across multiple disparate pages of your document, Reader can do that too. Every answer also provides page number links so you can jump directly to the source for more details.

See our website for a video demo. We've found this much more useful than traditional keyword search on questions like:

  • "Which pins support i2c?"
  • "What value is OP-IMM set to?"
  • "How do I initialize the UART bus?"

Data Privacy

Metalware Reader runs 100% locally with the exception of AI Search.

For AI Search, your document is vectorized and stored locally in a Qdrant database. When you ask Reader a question, only the document chunks relevant to your question are sent to OpenAI's API (GPT-4) for synthesis into a natural language answer.

System Requirements

  • macOS 13.1+ (Apple silicon)
  • Linux x86-64 (libc >= 2.31)


Download the latest version here and follow the installation instructions for your operating system.

Key Features

  • Vim Bindings & Dark Mode: Offers vim-style navigation and a dark theme.
  • AI Search: Utilizes natural language processing to allow users to find information quickly, moving beyond traditional keyword search.
  • Multi-Document Search: Enables searching across multiple PDF documents simultaneously, enhancing research and reference checking efficiency.
  • Source Links: Provides direct links to the source documents for quick verification of information, ensuring accuracy and trustworthiness of answers.
  • Window Panes: Supports multiple window panes for efficient document management and comparison.
  • Fast Search: Delivers speedy search results, even on extensive documents.


Preview Release 9

  • All document processing runs locally.

Preview Release 8

  • Added feedback button.
  • Bug fixes related to libcurl.

Preview Release 7

  • More generous timeouts.
  • Chat locks when response is in progress.
  • Add check for reference processing.

Preview Release 6

  • Faster upload.
  • QA responses are now streamed.
  • Chat is now copy-pasteable.
  • Resizable side-car.
  • Chat font size is adjustable.
  • Progress bar now shows both upload and processing progress.

Preview Release 5

  • Add editable page tracker
  • Add :[n]gg command for jumping to page
  • LLM now works over encrypted tunnel
  • h,l (horizontal panning)
  • Add support for "open with"
  • :makedefault command (MacOS)
  • :center command (centers and fits document to window)
  • :version command
  • Minor UI changes

Preview Release 4

  • Vim-like next/prev for search

Preview Release 3

  • Document chat now targets all open documents.
  • Add :sv and :vs commands.
  • 5x faster zoom render.
  • Connections errors are now surfaced to sidecar.
  • Add better logic for handling high-DPI displays.
  • Minor bar and sidecar UI improvements.
  • Make fonts consistent across platforms.

Preview Release 2

  • New UI
  • Open file option on homescreen
  • Command bar now appears on homescreen
  • New tabbed sidecar
  • Help tab and command
  • LLM now lives in a sidecar tab