Google Docs and Annotate PRO

Annotate PRO’s goal is to help you create deeper, more impactful feedback for your students while saving you thousands of clicks (and time). Annotate PRO (AP) makes it easy to create and share reusable libraries of comments, so you can write great feedback once, then use it over and over again only tweaking to personalize for a specific student. Annotate PRO is particularly fantastic with Google Docs, although you can use it on almost any website where you can type: Gmail, discussions in Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology, etc.

Creating and using Annotate PRO Libraries is free for everyone – unlimited use, our toolbars for Google Docs, Canvas, Bb, our Microsoft Word appOr choose to license our College Edition Library, Presentation Skills Edition, or advanced features including the Comment AnalyticsComment Histories, and Forms. Institutions can license AP to make it easy to share libraries and measure the impact of feedback.

Install Annotate for Chrome

It takes 30 seconds, is free, and will help you give better feedback,
faster, starting immediately (well, 31 seconds later).

In Google Docs, using Annotate is as easy as:

  1. Highlighting text in the document, as you always would
  2. Clicking into the green search box in the Annotate PRO toolbar, typing CTRL-ALT-A to jump there without touching your mouse, or clicking a blue Favorite button, then watching a chunk of beautifully articulate feedback appear as a comment
  3. Personalize the text if required

The result is a comment just like any other Google Docs comment. You can also just click in a document, choose a comment from your Libraries, and then Paste it into the body of a Google Doc wherever your cursor is currently located.

Annotate PRO does not require ANY technical integration. You just install our Chrome Extension, create an Annotate account (using Google authentication if you’d like), and away you go… You can set a keyboard shortcut to pop Annotate open on ANY page, turn the toolbars off if you’d like, create your own libraries, share them (if you get Annotate through an institutional/school license) with colleagues, review feedback you’ve created in the past, and use previously created comments to fuel creation of new reusable comments.

Comment Histories

Annotate PRO has some special sauce when it comes to Google Docs: optionally saving ALL your comments. By saving even free form (custom) comments entered into Google Docs you can easily extend your libraries of reusable comments based on actual feedback you provide. 

Adding Comments to a Google Docs – Annotate PRO Toolbars & Popup

Click any image to see a larger version. Better yet, install Annotate PRO and you could be experimenting for yourself 60 seconds from now:)

Once you install Annotate PRO for Google Chrome and refresh any open Google Docs pages, you’ll have trial access to the College Edition Library and a starter Library for your own use – both of which you can easily modify and extend. The screenshot above shows the optional Annotate PRO toolbar docked to the top of the screen. The instructor has highlighted some text (1), then clicked into the search box in the Annotate toolbar (2) to search for comments on “capitalization.”

They only needed to type the first few letters and Annotate surfaced an appropriate choice from the College Edition Library. The user has already clicked on this choice and Annotate has created a comment bubble (5), added the complete text, and placed the cursor in the comment area so the instructor can further personalize the feedback. Notice that this particular choice includes a link out to additional reading so the student can get more help with an issue – a feature most of our College Edition Comments share. Rather than use search, the user could have created the comment bubble first, then used Annotate’s right-click menu to scroll through the selected Libraries. Or, highlighted text then clicked one of the blue Favorite buttons (4) visible in the Annotate toolbar. Most awesomely, you can highlight text then click CTRL-ALT-A to jump into the search area – no mouse required!

Insert Formatted Text

Google Docs supports some rich formatting for document comments, which AP supports. However, users must learn ‘markdown’, enclosing text in asterisks, for instance, to create a bolded comment. For example, to created bold users must type **bold** into a Google comment box.

Fortunately, AP has you covered. Comments authored in AP with bold, italics, bold AND italics, and embedded URLs will insert with rich formatting. AP+ and institutional users can use AP’s Free Form feature to type rich text comments, using keyboard shortcuts like CTRL-B to turn on bolding, and then insert them into a Google Docs comment with formatting preserved.

Using the Free Form editor you can add formatted text to Google Docs!