How to interact with Document Annotations

What is the Document Annotations feature? 

The Document Annotations feature is a simple but powerful tool that allows you to add annotations on certain document types along with other event users. By interacting with the Annotation tool, you can add a note, an update, or an opinion to a PDF or image file in the application that you have access to (bar Reference Documents). Selecting the Annotate File option when viewing a conversation with a PDF or image file attached will allow you to interact with the 'Annotation' tool and perform the following actions: 

  • Draw an annotation directly onto a PDF or image file by holding down your left mouse button and dragging the cursor to annotate. 
  • Add a text annotation to a PDF or image file. 
  • Highlight an area of your document as an annotation.
  • Add additional annotations directly onto a PDF or image file where annotations have already been added.
  • Reposition annotations in different areas of the current page using the Move feature.
  • Zoom and reposition the area you want to annotate.
  • Undo or restore annotations, with a single click on 'Save' to add your annotations when you're ready.

To access the latest version of the annotated file, you can simply select the Download Latest Version option to download directly. You also have the option to download previous versions of the annotated file in the Versions area - just select the version you wish to download from the list displayed.


What can I add as an 'annotation' to a document? 

Using the Document Annotations feature, you can add either text annotations or direct annotations to a document. 

To add a direct annotation, select the Draw option found on the Annotations toolbar and use your mouse/trackpad/touchscreen to draw directly on to the file. 

If you'd like to add a text annotation, select the Text option found on the Annotations toolbar and click on the area you would like to add you annotation. From here, enter your text and select another option from the toolbar to finish your text annotation.

To add a highlight annotation, select the Highlight option found on the Annotations toolbar and click on the area you would like to start adding you annotation. With your mouse button held down, simply drag the cursor over the area you wish to highlight to create the annotation. Adding a highlight over previously created annotations will display them beneath the highlighted area, whereas adding a new annotation on a highlighted area will display the new annotation on top.

Finally, if you are interacting with a PDF document (the Signature tool is not available when annotating an image file) you can choose to upload and add a signature image by selecting the Sign option.

You can continue to add further annotations if you like, and when you're finished, simply select Save on the Annotations toolbar to store your annotations and exit the Annotations area.


How do I allow annotations on a document?

The ability to annotate either PDF or image files must be enabled when you first upload a document. When you select to add a PDF or image to a new conversation, you will see a 'checkbox' displayed beneath the Title field that says Allow Annotations. 

Simply click on this box, continue with adding your conversation, and when it has been successfully uploaded you and other users will now have the ability to add annotations to the document.

NOTE: ONCE A FILE IS ALLOWED TO BE ANNOTATED, THIS STATE CANNOT BE CHANGED


What file limits are there when I make a file annotatable?

There are only a few limitations concerning what you can upload to a conversation that can be annotated. The first specification is that the file should either be an image or PDF file - any other file type uploaded will not display the option to 'Allow Annotations' when creating a conversation. 

The second specification concerns the amount of pages contained in the PDF file you wish to upload. Currently the maximum page count that an annotatable PDF can contain is 50 - if your file exceeds that limit a warning will be displayed and you will not be able to continue with the upload.

There is no particular 'file size' limit for annotatable documents, but as an advisory the larger the file size, the longer it will take to process an annotation on the file.  


How do I add an annotation to a document? 

To begin annotating a document, you must first enter a conversation that has had annotations enabled. Annotatable conversations have the following icon displayed next to them...

Once you have clicked on a conversation with a file you wish to annotate, you will now be in the conversation area. To get started, click on the 'Annotate File' button.

Once the Annotate File option has been selected, you will see the file contents displayed on the main area of the page. At the top of the main area you will find the Annotations toolbar - using this toolbar you can begin to add annotations or resize the area you are interacting with using the 'Zoom' function. You can also move the current area by selecting the 'Move' option and dragging the area you wish to interact with into position.

To add a direct annotation, select the 'Draw' option on the toolbar and use your mouse/trackpad to sketch directly on the area currently displayed. Selecting the 'Text' option will allow you to add text as an annotation instead of a free-hand annotation, and selecting the 'Highlight' option will allow you to create highlighted areas as annotations. If you are interacting with a PDF file, you can also select the 'Sign' option, allowing you to upload and add a signature image as an annotation.

The 'Move' function can also be used to move an annotation to a different area of the current page. Simply select the 'Move' option and click on the annotation you wish to move. With your mouse button held down, drag the annotation to the area you wish to place it and then release the mouse button to set it in place.

If the file is a PDF that contains multiple pages, you can switch between pages by clicking on the page selector (found next to the 'Save' option in the toolbar).

If you wish to remove the annotation, a quick click on the Undo button will remove the last annotation you have created. Selecting the 'Redo' option will restore the last annotation you removed with the 'Undo' option.

When you are finished annotating your file, select the 'Save' button to continue. Once completed you will be returned to the main conversation view - the version of the document with your annotations applied to it is now available from the list displayed beneath the document summary area.

If you wish to download a version of the file with your annotations on it (or any other user's annotations), simply click the annotation version you want to be applied from the list displayed beneath the file summary. The latest set of annotations are easily available by selecting the 'Download Latest Version' button, found beneath the Annotate File area. You can still download the original version of the file by selecting the 'Original' option found at the bottom of your Versions list.


How do I use the Zoom and Move tools to change my view?

Selecting either of the 'Zoom' options will either expand or minimise the main viewing area where you add your annotations. This area can be expanded by selecting the magnifying glass icon with a '+' in the middle - each click will 'zoom' the current viewing area further. Selecting the magnifying glass icon with a '-' in the middle will minimise the viewing area, and again every click will 'zoom out' until the entire page is displayed in the main view.

As well as moving your annotations, selecting the 'Move' option also allows you to reposition the page currently displayed in the viewing area. When selected, click and hold your left mouse button on any area of the page that you have not annotated and drag your mouse in the direction you wish to move. The current viewing area will adjust to your movement, and when you release your mouse button you can continue to create or manage your annotations.


How do I download an annotated document? 

If you wish to download a version of the file with your annotations on it (or any other user's annotations), simply click the annotation version you want to be applied from the list displayed beneath the file summary. 

The latest set of annotations are easily available by selecting the 'Download Latest Version' button, found beneath the Annotate File area. You can still download the original version of the file by selecting the 'Original' option found at the bottom of your 'Versions' list.


Why can't I access my annotated files after uploading or saving?

When you first upload a file after selecting to 'Allow Annotations', you may see a message on the document summary area informing you that the file is being 'processed' or 'processing'. While processing is in progress, you will not be able to download or annotate the file from this area. 

All files uploaded with annotations 'allowed' must be processed by the application to help minimise loading times when the file is being annotated. This action should only take a few moments, and you can check the status of your file by refreshing the page until you see the options to 'Annotate File' and 'Download Latest Version' displayed on the document summary area. You can always leave the area and return later on When these options are available, the document is ready to be annotated! 

You may also notice after saving an annotation that your annotations are being processed (displayed in the Versions list) and cannot be accessed/downloaded. Every annotation added to a document must be processed separately on our servers to minimize performance issues and reduce load times for all users interacting with the application. Again, it should only take a few moments before the annotation becomes available for download, and can be checked by refreshing the page until the options to download options become available.

When a document has annotations being processed on it, it will also be unavailable for download using the 'download' icon that can be found in your newsfeeds and conversation indexes. This state will change when processing is complete, but the conversation can still be viewed and commented on while annotations are being processed.