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Support: Annotate PRO

Welcome to Annotate PRO support! You’ll find info here on the cloud Annotate PRO library, our Google Chrome Extension, and our Microsoft Word Add-in that make it crazy easy for you to manage a library of comments you can add to documents, emails, webpages etc. etc. with a click or a few key strokes.

We’re just getting started, so feedback definitely appreciated!

The info you’ll find here refers to post-2017 versions of Annotate PRO – designed to work with Word 2016 and Google Chrome. You can find our pre-2017 FAQ here.

Search our FAQ pages using the box below or jump to our General FAQ, Microsoft Word-specific, or Google Chrome-specific FAQs.

Search Annotate PRO Support:

Installation Links:

Note: the best way to install Annotate PRO for Microsoft Word is to open Word, visit the Insert Ribbon, click the Office Store icon, search the Office Store for “Annotate PRO” and click Add once you find it. Just like installing an app on your phone!

Annotate PRO FAQ:

How do I purchase Annotate PRO for myself?
How do I purchase Annotate PRO for my institution or organization?

This is one of our favorite questions:)

Account Setup

  • Once you have communicated your licensing needs (number of faculty, students and the content you need access to), we create an account for your institution. We set up your email domain or domains to automatically recognize users (so “yourschool.edu”) but can also create users manually, if for instance you don’t want or need to have users sign in with their organizational email.
  • We do not yet offer Single Sign On (SSO) or LTI integration options.
  • We can suppress the Support options inside Annotate PRO for organizations who wish their users to go directly to them vs. to us.

Technical

  • Administrators of a Google Apps organization can make our Chrome app available to all users (or a subset) with just a few clicks. Because Chrome (and our app) auto-updates we have not had any issues supporting large roll-outs.
  • Microsoft is a bit different story. Users need to be on a fairly recent version of Office 2016 (ideally summer 2016 vintage or better). At many institutions, updating Office is controlled by central IT. Also, Word 2016 uses Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) on Windows machines to run apps like Annotate. IE11 is a fairly old and problematic browser at this point (Microsoft’s new browser is called Edge, but it only runs on Windows 10). Updating IE11 is important to assure a good experience with Office Add-ins like Annotate.
  • We use Google Firebase for authentication of users. After creating an account via email you will receive a verification email. Some institutions have reported that these emails (sent by Google on our behalf) go to quarantine or spam. Ideally you whitelist “11trees.com” so our infrequent communications get through to your registered users.

Billing

  • We are happy to invoice for payment via check or credit card. We can pro-rate our annual license fee or even set up automatic monthly billing.
  • We are typically in touch 90 days before renewal to organize a subsequent year’s license.
  • Multi-year arrangements are an option.
What is a Custom Library?
Can my school purchase a customized version of Annotate for Word?
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Can I format Comments (bold, italic etc.)?

As of July 23, 2017 Annotate PRO for Microsoft Word and Google Docs now supports some ‘markdown’ language to format text.

This is a tricky area, because ultimately Annotate PRO’s value is as a ubiquitous solution for providing feedback – in Word, Google Docs, Salesforce, Dropbox, Canvas etc. And these different platforms have varying support for “fancy” text.

For instance, comment bubbles in Dropbox are plain text, so any special characters in your library will be inserted exactly as they are. An Annotate comment that contained “This is *bold*” would appear as “This is bold” in Microsoft Word, but as “This is *bold*” in Dropbox.

Comment bubbles in Word support some formatting. Comment bubbles in Google Docs support a little less. We’ve included a table summarizing text formatting availability on various platforms.

Our recommendation? If you’re are “all in” on Microsoft Word or Google Docs for commenting and feedback, then take advantage of these opportunities to format your text for clarity.

If you’re going to use Annotate in a bunch of different places, stick to plain text.

An example:

  • If you wanted to include some italic text and were using Microsoft Word or Google Docs, you could create a comment with _italic text_ in it. The underscores, with spaces on either side of them, tell Annotate to insert italicized text. So in both Google Docs and Microsoft Word when the text was inserted, it would be converted to italic text.
  • If you used that same comment to insert text into a Dropbox comment bubble or Google Mail email, you’d get_italic text_.

In other words, the underscores wouldn’t do anything and would be rendered as – underscores.

Sometimes a cigar really is a cigar.

It’s a bit like writing HTML – which we realize is intimidating for some. But taking this approach gives us (and you) maximum flexibility across Word and Google Docs, which is our primary goal. We will be able to add more sophistication as we go, like recognizing which environment is in use and adjusting to suit – perhaps removing special formatting if it isn’t supported.

The silver lining? To include links that appear as clickable in Google Docs and Microsoft Word, just enter the URL. So adding “www.google.com” to an Annotate Comment will appear as www.google.com in a Google Docs or Microsoft Word comment. Automatically.

Desired Text Word 2016
Comments & Inserted Text
Google Docs
Comments
Other Platforms
Comments & Inserted Text
www.google.com www.google.com www.google.com Not supported
Bold text *Bold* text *Bold* text Not supported
Italic text _Italic_ text _Italic_ text Not supported
Underline text <u>Underline</u> text Not supported Not supported
Carriage
Return
Carriage<br>Return Not supported Not supported
Ordered list:

  1. First
  2. Second
  3. Third

Regular text.

Ordered List:* First<p>* Second<p>* Third<p><br>Regular text. Not supported Not supported

 

Notes:

  • In Microsoft Word and Google Docs http, https, and www plain-text links will convert to clickable links automatically. So just enter them as plain text. You don’t even need the “http” part.
  • After inserting a comment via Annotate in Google Docs you have to hit a space bar before you can click Comment to add the text. Once you do this and click Comment, links will convert to become clickable. A super fast way to use Annotate with Google Docs is to insert a blank Google comment, then an Annotate Comment, then a space bar, then Tab and SPACE again to insert the Comment (look Ma, no mouse!).
  • The space after the asterisk for ordered lists is important. So “* First” not “*First”
    • Microsoft Word, weirdly, doesn’t support unordered lists in comments that are created programmatically. We’ll continue to look for workarounds, but for now bullets will convert to numbered (ordered) lists no matter what you do.
Can I reorder Comments or Groups in Annotate PRO?

This is not currently possible but we are working towards a much more powerful implementation of Libraries and Groups with a targeted release of initial features (which probably won’t include sorting) of September 1, 2017.

We are depending on the powerful Search feature to making ordering of a Comment Library almost unnecessary. Feedback welcome! Click here for a longer discussion of current state vs. goals.

How do I add links to Comments?

Adding links is a fantastic way to follow the “bite, snack, meal” approach to user experience design.

In the Comment, give the user a concise overview of the issue or compliment (bite). Then give them a link to more detail – that they need to want to pursue (snack). And then, perhaps, in the webpage you provide, give the user additional options to learn: videos, exercises etc. (meal).

So how do you add them?

Just type them in. Like: www.yourgreatlink.com.

As of June 29, 2017 our Microsoft Word add-in will automatically turn plain links like the above into clickable links. Woot! You don’t even have to type the “http://” part – just www.whatever.com.

Google Docs is smart enough to do this on its own if you type a space after a link.

For more on formatting text, see our FAQ on the subject – so you can bolditalicize etc.

What does the message %22Unable to save data locally...%22 mean?

What does it mean if you fire up Annotate PRO in Microsoft Word 2016 and see the message at the right?

Annotate PRO, like many modern web apps, stores data locally – for speed of access and to power features.

Some browsers may have the ability to store data locally turned off. Annotate PRO will detect this situation and flag you…

What data are we storing? Your user ID, the Comment Library you’re using, and similar data. No passwords or personal info.

To use Annotate you’ll have to give your browser permission to store data locally. So far, we only know of this issue affecting Windows users, so the following instructions are specific to Internet Explorer 11.

Here’s how:

  1. Open Internet Explorer 11.
    1. “What,” you exclaim? I don’t use that browser!!! Oh, but you do – Microsoft Word 2016 uses it to present Add-ins like Annotate PRO, Wikipedia, and any other app running inside Office.
  2. Go to Settings and then Internet options.
  3. Click on the Advanced tab and scroll all the way to the bottom of the resulting list.
  4. Find Enable DOM Storage (it’s 10 or 15 items from the bottom) and make sure it is checked.
  5. Click OK and go back to Microsoft Word.
  6. Close the Annotate PRO taskpane by clicking the ‘x’ in the top right corner (same row as Annotate PRO) in the screenshot showing the original message above).
  7. Reopen Annotate PRO. The message should be gone and you should be able to proceed.

If you’re still blocked from using Annotate PRO please make sure both Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Word 2016 are updated to their latest versions (which you may or may not be able to do, given institutional policies and controls), then contact us for help. We’ll jump on a screenshare and sort it out.

 

Why would I want my students to use Annotate PRO?

Peer review is one the greatest under-used pedagogical strategies.

But student writers, no matter their level, often struggle with providing coherent, constructive feedback.

Annotate PRO can dramatically improve students’ responses to each other, and their assessment of their own work, by providing them with the language of response.

They can highlight some text in their own or a fellow student’s work, then search a Comment Library for an appropriate response.

We can work with your institution to design a Comment Library specifically for peer review, so that the observations (the text the student chooses) is written at the appropriate level and includes questions to help the student dig further into the particular issue.

For instance, a Comment concerning argument might begin:

  • Your writing could be stronger here – I don’t think you really believe what you’re saying.

The peer reviewer would select the above text, but then be prompted to continue, making suggestions to help the student writer state their opinions more vehemently along with ideas to improve the logic of the underlying argument.

At the very least, having access to the Comment Libraries used by their faculty will further demystify writing and help them understand more deeply what good writing looks and feels like.

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Can I use Annotate PRO on an iPad?

Soon!

Like, summer 2017 – just in time for the new academic year.

Microsoft, to their great credit, have made their cool new Apps for Office solution work on Office for iPad, too.

So if you’ve got Microsoft Word on your iPad you’ll be able to use Annotate PRO there – same library, same full-text search.

Does Annotate PRO work on a Mac?

The latest version of Annotate PRO works on Microsoft Word 2016 – including Windows and Mac. You can also use Annotate PRO with Word 2016 online.

iPad is coming soon!

Can I use Annotate PRO on a Chromebook?

Yes!

You can install from here. Or get your school’s Google Suite administrator to add Annotate PRO to all teacher accounts with just a couple of clicks…

We can add your institution’s email domain (like YourISD.edu) to our database and every user will automatically get a specific Comment Library or Libraries.

Automation is so cool!

Can I use Annotate PRO on an Android tablet?

No.

You can try to use Word Online on your tablet, but your experience will vary with the version of Android, power of your tablet etc. We don’t anticipate it will be a great experience.

And we aren’t aware of any plans on the part of Microsoft to bring Office to Android tablets.

Google, for its part (as the creators of Android) have been working for years to bring ChromeOS and Android together.

ChromeOS is based on the Chrome browser and is the operating system behind millions of Chromebooks. Chromebooks, by very definition, will never run Microsoft Office. Android tablets cannot run Chrome Extensions, either – which means you can’t use the Annotate PRO for Google Chrome Extension.

 

Can I swap out Annotate PRO Comment Libraries?

No – not yet.

Backstory: some of our Annotate for Word powerusers had discovered a hack (clever!) that allowed them to save off versions of their library as local databases. So they could have one for a Fall assignment, another for Spring assignments – implying that they were writing feedback specific to assignments.

Annotate PRO currently supports the use of ONE library: College Edition (free), College Edition, Legal Writing Edition.

We anticipate adding cloning and sharing of libraries – much easier to do now that we’re in the cloud and working with modern technologies.

Would this feature be useful to you? Would you prefer to share libraries with colleagues before having the ability to flip from library to library? Or just have sections within a library to support different assignments (or other purposes)?

Annotate PRO for Google Chrome FAQ:

Questions specific to using the Annotate PRO app for Google Chrome.

How can I go FASTER? Are there keyboard shortcuts?

If you’re an Annotate fan, or even just kicking the tires, you care about giving rich, personalized feedback fast.

So here are three hacks to help you go even faster:

  1. Insert comments into a Google Doc with ALT-CMD-M (Mac) or ALT-CTRL-M (PC).
    • Just highlight some text, or place the cursor where you want, and pop in a new comment bubble with this handy Google keyboard shortcuts.
  2. Pop open Annotate PRO with ALT-A. You’ll be able to start typing in the Annotate search box or can scroll down to get to Favorites.
  3. After choosing an Annotate comment from search, hit Escape (to close the Annotate Popup), then hit Space, then Tab, then Space to add the comment.
    • Adding the space changes Google Docs’ understanding of the subsequent Tab command, and makes it possible to move focus to the Comment button, which will add your comment to the document.
    • An added benefit is that clicking Space makes the comment area grow, so you can see the entire comment and quickly edit to personalize further.
Why doesn't Annotate insert a Comment sometimes?

You access Annotate by right-clicking in a text entry box on just about any website. You should see something very similar to the image at right.AnnotateRightClickMenu

There are a couple of reasons Annotate might NOT insert a comment:

  1. Annotate needs a little kick in the rear to get going, especially after first install. Try refreshing the web page (like a Google Document), then trying again.
  2. You are right-clicking in a “fancy” text-entry box. For instance, a rich text editor. There is a fast workaround: just right-click outside of the rich text entry box, choose the comment you want from the Annotate menu, then click in the rich text editor where you would like to insert your comment, and Paste. Annotate has added your choice to your clipboard, so you can paste it anywhere (even outside of Google Chrome).

Contact Us if you aren’t getting that Annotate love!

How do I update Annotate PRO for Chrome?

Chrome Extensions update automatically – assuming you have an Internet connection. So you don’t, generally speaking, have to worry about manually updating Chrome Extensions like you might update apps on your phone.

However, sometimes you may want to force Chrome to update more quickly than it otherwise might – for instance, if we release new features and you don’t want to wait for Chrome (which will update over roughly within twelve hours of your releasing an updated version).

Here’s how:

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Browse to chrome://extensions/ – just like you would visit http://www.google.com.
  3. Check the Developer mode box at the top right of the resulting page. See the red numeral “1” in the screenshot below.
  4. Make sure your 11trees’ Extension is installed and Enabled. Make a mental note of the version of Annotate PRO or Q for Success. In the screenshot, Annotate PRO is on version 4.0.0.6 (next to the red numeral “2”).
  5. Click the  Update extensions now button (red numeral “3” in the screenshot).

All of your Extensions will check for updates and, if available, update. The version will increment to a higher number if indeed an update occurs.

Annotate PRO users – note: refresh any open web pages so that they “get” the new code.

Can I use Annotate PRO with any website? Like my LMS or Gmail or Dropbox?

Annotate for Google Chrome is optimized for Google Docs, but you can use it on most websites to enter text.

Many plain text entry boxes, like editing a WordPress Post in text mode, will allow you to right-click and use Annotate to insert comments.

For instance, the screenshot below is of a Blackboard discussion – clicking the HTML button will flip the display to plain text, and Annotate can be used to insert pre-written text.

Blackboard Discussion Edit

Alternately, you can just click outside the text entry box – on the body of the webpage – and make a choice from your Annotate right-click menu. The pre-written text will be added to your clipboard, so you can just click back inside the textbox and Paste (CTRL-V or CMD-V) to insert the comment.

Both options take a split second and will help you create much more detailed feedback for students – effortlessly.

 

Can I format text (bold, italics etc.)?

As of July 23, 2017 Annotate PRO for Microsoft Word and Google Docs now supports some ‘markdown’ language to format text.

This is a tricky area, because ultimately Annotate PRO’s value is as a ubiquitous solution for providing feedback – in Word, Google Docs, Salesforce, Dropbox, Canvas etc. And these different platforms have varying support for “fancy” text.

For instance, comment bubbles in Dropbox are plain text, so any special characters in your library will be inserted exactly as they are. An Annotate comment that contained “This is *bold*” would appear as “This is bold” in Microsoft Word, but as “This is *bold*” in Dropbox.

Comment bubbles in Word support some formatting. Comment bubbles in Google Docs support a little less. We’ve included a table summarizing text formatting availability on various platforms.

Our recommendation? If you’re are “all in” on Microsoft Word or Google Docs for commenting and feedback, then take advantage of these opportunities to format your text for clarity.

If you’re going to use Annotate in a bunch of different places, stick to plain text.

An example:

  • If you wanted to include some italic text and were using Microsoft Word or Google Docs, you could create a comment with _italic text_ in it. The underscores, with spaces on either side of them, tell Annotate to insert italicized text. So in both Google Docs and Microsoft Word when the text was inserted, it would be converted to italic text.
  • If you used that same comment to insert text into a Dropbox comment bubble or Google Mail email, you’d get_italic text_.

In other words, the underscores wouldn’t do anything and would be rendered as – underscores.

Sometimes a cigar really is a cigar.

It’s a bit like writing HTML – which we realize is intimidating for some. But taking this approach gives us (and you) maximum flexibility across Word and Google Docs, which is our primary goal. We will be able to add more sophistication as we go, like recognizing which environment is in use and adjusting to suit – perhaps removing special formatting if it isn’t supported.

The silver lining? To include links that appear as clickable in Google Docs and Microsoft Word, just enter the URL. So adding “www.google.com” to an Annotate Comment will appear as www.google.com in a Google Docs or Microsoft Word comment. Automatically.

Desired Text Word 2016
Comments & Inserted Text
Google Docs
Comments
Other Platforms
Comments & Inserted Text
www.google.com www.google.com www.google.com Not supported
Bold text *Bold* text *Bold* text Not supported
Italic text _Italic_ text _Italic_ text Not supported
Underline text <u>Underline</u> text Not supported Not supported
Carriage
Return
Carriage<br>Return Not supported Not supported
Ordered list:

  1. First
  2. Second
  3. Third

Regular text.

Ordered List:* First<p>* Second<p>* Third<p><br>Regular text. Not supported Not supported

 

Notes:

  • In Microsoft Word and Google Docs http, https, and www plain-text links will convert to clickable links automatically. So just enter them as plain text. You don’t even need the “http” part.
  • After inserting a comment via Annotate in Google Docs you have to hit a space bar before you can click Comment to add the text. Once you do this and click Comment, links will convert to become clickable. A super fast way to use Annotate with Google Docs is to insert a blank Google comment, then an Annotate Comment, then a space bar, then Tab and SPACE again to insert the Comment (look Ma, no mouse!).
  • The space after the asterisk for ordered lists is important. So “* First” not “*First”
    • Microsoft Word, weirdly, doesn’t support unordered lists in comments that are created programmatically. We’ll continue to look for workarounds, but for now bullets will convert to numbered (ordered) lists no matter what you do.

Annotate PRO for Microsoft Word 2016 FAQ:

Questions specific to using the Annotate PRO app for Microsoft Word.

What version of Word 2016 do I need to happily use Annotate PRO?

Microsoft has become a lot cooler and competent over the last few years…but their naming conventions for Office still leave a lot to be desired.

  • Office 365 is the name for a subscription version of Office. It is the same thing as saying “Office 2016,” at least for now.
  • Office 2016 is the latest Office product from Microsoft.
  • If your installation of Office 2016 is managed by a central IT group your ability to update might be limited.
  • Windows versions of Word 2016 all start with “16” but Mac versions start with “15.” Go figure.

Please check out our post on updating Word to make sure you’ve got the latest version possible.

To see what version you’ve got:

  • Windows 7 / 8 / 10:
    • Open Word 2016
    • Click File > Account or Help from the list on the left
    • You should see your
  • macOS
    • Open Word 2016
    • Click WordAbout Word in the app menu
    • Your version should be displayed.

For help see this Microsoft support page.

In general, you should be in good shape if your version of Microsoft Word is at least:

  • Windows 7 / 8 / 10:
    • Version 16.0.6741 or later
  • macOS:
    • 15.20 or later
  • Office Online:
    • January 2017

Windows users need to make sure to update Internet Explore 11, also. All Word Add-ins use IE11 to run.

Ideally you have IE11 set to automatic updates. Here’s how:

  1. Open IE11 (Windows 10 users may not even know they have it, since Microsoft Edge is the default browser).
  2. Click the Tools menu or cog icon in the top-right of the screen.
  3. You’ll see the version number of your install and (hopefully) a checkbox that allows you to install updates automatically. If you don’t see this checkbox it’s because your central IT folks have set up some other process for updates.
How do I update Word 2016?
Why change Annotate from the old version? What has changed?

We created the first version of Annotate in 2008…and thousands of teachers and students have benefitted since.

The first version only worked on Windows; we added a Mac version in around 2011 and soon half or more of our users were on a Mac (walk into any coffee shop and you’ll see the same thing).

Annotate was always caught between Mac and Windows, because Microsoft perennially ignored Mac. We were using two completely different code bases, plugging into Microsoft Word the only ways possible at the time.

Microsoft has completely overhauled the way that developer can extend Office. There are many, many benefits to the change but also a few drawbacks if you’re a diehard Annotate user.

Two steps forward (the good):

  • Modern look and feel.
  • Support from Microsoft – they’re serious about this new approach.
  • Will work on iPad!  We’re not there yet, but this will be a pretty easy addition, we think.
  • Cloud libraries: wherever you can log into Microsoft Word (using Word Online, for instance) you can use your Annotate PRO library. No more worrying about work vs. home computers, or Mac vs. Windows.
  • Full text search: instead of searching the ribbon for the right comment, you can just start typing and Annotate PRO will surface matching comments. Zing! Pow!
  • Easy sharing with fellow faculty and students. We can automate assigning custom libraries to users with specific email addresses. So everyone logging in with an “@youruniversity.edu” address can automatically get a custom library and/or access to our College Edition Library.

One step backwards (the not so good):

  • No offline access. See this FAQ post for more info and to comment/complain/wish.
How to install a new Comment Library?