12 Commonly Used Annotation Tools To Consider (With Features)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Annotation is an important part of projects as it makes the content more meaningful. Tools that help with annotating content are extremely useful since they simplify the process of marking and tagging sections of important data in the project. Choosing the right tools for annotating your data is of prime importance as it improves functionality and efficiency. In this article, we look at the 12 commonly used annotation tools along with their features and tips to help you choose the right tool.

What Are Annotation Tools?

Annotation tools are those that are used to annotate documents. The tools allow the user to add annotations, notes and comments and then save them with the document for future use. There are multiple kinds of annotation tools, which include document, image and video annotation. They can be used purely for marking and highlighting content pieces that have heavy text as a way to increase efficiency or to make it easier to review. It can help you find information within the text you want to know more about quickly or even present your work to your colleagues.

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12 Annotation Tools To Consider

To be able to easily scan through documents and highlight important sections of your presentation, a tool to annotate your work is essential. Here is a list of frequently used annotation tools that can simplify the process of annotating your current and upcoming projects:

1. Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a great tool for PDF users that offers an easy, intuitive way to share and manage all of your documents. It has all the features one would want so that they may access and edit documents fast, convert image files into PDF format and protect them with passwords among many of its other features. It is easy to view feedback and share comments using Adobe Acrobat and also get real-time updates for ongoing projects. Additionally, it can also be used on mobile which adds to its list of pros.

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2. Filestage

This tool for annotation is very helpful if you wish to review text-based documents and PDFs. You can even approve multimedia files such as images, videos and audio. It is simple to sort and track the progress of any project due to its intuitive interface. With its file-sharing automation and uncapped sharing opportunities, it is one of the popular choices for annotation. Furthermore, it can be integrated with multiple apps such as Google Drive and Zoom which allows communication between teams to be interactive and makes presentations during meetings simpler to understand.

3. Annotate

Annotate is a tool for annotation that allows users to create notes, assign tasks to teammates, draft documents and annotate text and image-based documents. This is a preferred choice for people working in teams as it lets people collaborate throughout the project and make changes within the application as they progress. Additionally, it is simple to link to the source and references used which means the entire lifecycle of a project can be managed within the application itself. It also comes with a clean and orderly interface, a file protection option and a solution for teammates to fact-check the content.

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4. ClickUp

Clickup is a commonly used project management tool but one of the most useful features of all is its ability to help with annotations. This allows you to not only create documents and presentations but it allows you to actually make them more presentable by adding hyperlinks and highlighting important parts of the information with its in-built features so that viewers can easily distinguish between subtopics and key topics quickly.

Some of ClikUp's key features include easy collaboration, commenting options, the ability to import and export data, project management tool support and integration along with a user-friendly interface.

5. MarkUp

This is a suitable annotation tool if your requirements are simplistic and you wish to achieve increased productivity. MarkUp is used by novices and professionals alike and can even be used by students for projects. It is very easy to collaborate with your team using this tool and to give and receive contextual feedback in real-time. A benefit of using MarkUp is that it can be used on any device. It can be used for images, PDFs, videos and even live websites. Users can also leverage most of its features for free with the option of making in-app purchases for supplementary features.

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6. PDF Annotator

With this single tool, users can easily manage all their PDF requirements. It is a great tool wherein you can easily type comments on a PDF using text boxes or even highlight important text. PDF Annotator also allows you to write comments freehand with its pen tool. It also helps users reduce additional steps of printing and scanning by allowing them to sign a document directly and download it. Furthermore, you can even align your annotations so that the document looks clean and presentable. It also comes with symbols, dates, signatures and other customisable stamps for ease of use.

7. Drawboard

There are two primary tools in this, namely, Drawboard PDF and Drawboard Projects. With the PDF tool, you can make real-time markups and collaborate with your team. A highlight of using Drawboard is that you are not required to download an application. Instead, you can simply use the tool in your regular browser. With Drawboard Projects, you can work on design projects using a single dashboard. Tasks can be assigned, teammates can be mentioned to work more efficiently. Also, it allows integration with popular software for ease of collaboration.

8. Doccano

It is an open-source tool for annotation which is ideal for teamwork. It comes with multiple language support and a dark theme. Additionally, individuals can also use it on their mobiles and make use of emojis. It helps users with text analysis, summarising information and labelling sequences. It offers an uncomplicated interface that makes annotation easy and also offers the ability to annotate files in different languages.

9. Dropbox

Dropbox is a truly popular tool when it comes to annotating your files. It is equally beneficial for work-related annotation and personal work. Dropbox allows its users to sync files across devices and share them regardless of whether the receiver has an existing account or not. Its straightforward interface coupled with the reliability factor owing to project backups makes this tool a favoured choice for most users who opt for this tool for work purposes.

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10. Hypothesis

This is an open source platform that lets you annotate text-based content. It is marketed to different groups such as teachers and students, writers, editors and publishers. With the Hypothesis being aimed at solving problems for these groups, collaboration is one of its key features. It is free and available on all browsers with a user-friendly interface that allows easy navigation.

11. Note Ledge

This is an app that allows its users to take notes in a creative manner. It is compatible with multiple platforms such as iOS, Android, Mac and Windows. Note Ledge is ideal for users who are designers and content creators since it allows them to create mood boards and save ideas from different websites. Since it has tools that are compatible with different media formats, taking notes, adding annotations and highlighting important sections becomes easy.

Additionally, it is quite simple to organise text, images and more since users are allowed to layer their annotations. With the brush feature, designers can even sketch and draw using different brush options. The final work can be presented to clients or even shared with teammates. Students can also use Note Ledge to take notes in class and organise their work for later.

12. Nimbus

Nimbus is available as a browser extension. It allows its users to capture their whole screen or even a single tab if they wish to. On Nimbus, you can record and annotate your entire screen to make videos to help teammates. Additionally, you can screenshot an entire web page or a section and annotate it using the multiple tools provided at the top of the page. Some of the key features include screencasts, editing, collaborating and ease of use across devices such as mobile, tablets and desktops.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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