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Support: Annotate PRO for Google Chrome

Annotate PRO is available from the Chrome Web Store  for macOS, Windows, Chromebooks, and Linux.

We chose to launch Annotate PRO, all-new, with a basic and compelling set of features. We are eager for feedback from real users on what matters, what we should prioritize, and what we haven’t thought of…please feel free to comment on this page or any one of the FAQs we’ve included below. Thank you!

Search Support:

Google Chrome FAQ:

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!

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 “” to an Annotate Comment will appear as in a Google Docs or Microsoft Word comment. Automatically.

Desired Text Word 2016
Comments & Inserted Text
Google Docs
Other Platforms
Comments & Inserted Text 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<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



  • 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 FAQ – General Questions:

Questions that apply to all versions of Annotate PRO (Windows, macOS, Microsoft Word, Google Chrome, College Edition, Legal Writing Edition).

How do I purchase Annotate PRO?

The first 10 Comments in Annotate PRO will always be free.

We aren’t charging for Annotate PRO College Edition or Legal Writing Edition yet, mostly because we want to get people using our new solution and partly because we haven’t built payment functionality!

So thank you for asking…but you can’t buy Annotate PRO! We anticipate having payments in place by September 2017.

The Annotate PRO College Edition and Legal Writing Edition libraries are free to use (and customize) until August 31, 2017.

The longer it takes us to build payments the more free usage you’ll get!

Of course institutions can get going, now, with a site license to share customized libraries with all of their instructors and (potentially) students. Just contact us to get that ball rolling.

We hope to build a sustainable business with our 11trees’ solution, and so want to keep prices affordable – especially for individuals. We anticipate the following annual subscription pricing of individual licenses:

  • College Edition: $36/year
  • Legal Writing Edition: $55/year

Individuals will be able to license a “blank” Annotate PRO – to create their own libraries from scratch – for $24/year. The College Edition and Legal Writing Edition include these features.

What is a Custom Library?

Annotate PRO is free and comes with ten Comments (focused on college/high school argumentative writing) that you can quickly change to suit your needs.

User can purchase additional libraries that we created and maintain: College Edition, Legal Writing Edition, and others to come.

Most powerfully, schools can design their own libraries that we can automatically provide to their teachers and students.

By simply creating an Annotate PRO account at a site license institution, new users will automatically get the library or libraries intended.

So high schools could develop a library specific to their curriculum, using our College Edition as a starting point, then automate sharing of that library to all teachers.

The following year the school district might add a library intended for middle school teachers, scaffolding feedback and aligning with the high school curricula and Annotate PRO library.

Another school might develop a library specific to peer review or English Language Learners (providing dual language responses, for instance).

A university might create a library intended for peer tutors and TAs, to speed training and improve consistency amongst many graders.

Schools can author their libraries using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets using our content as a starting point. We review the library, then upload to our servers and do some behind the scenes work – all within a couple of days. Then BOOM! Potentially hundreds of teachers (and students?) can be using the library to create better feedback more quickly.

Just Contact Us to learn more!

Can my school purchase a customized version of Annotate for Word?

We regularly build customized versions of Annotate for First Year Writing programs, high school English departments, Writing Across the Curriculum initiatives and similar. Customizations can be simple, for instance replacing the references to a writing handbook or Purdue’s OWL website with a specific resource, or more detailed. Please use the Contact Us link in the menu to find out more.

Can I reorder buttons 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:

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

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.

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.

Can I use Annotate PRO on an iPad?


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?


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 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?


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)?