Box Annotations enables you to mark up almost any file with your comments, without using another application, on the Box Web platform. Simply open a document in Box Preview. From there you can highlight passages of text or place a border around any portion of that document, and then add a corresponding question or comment. Box records all your comments in the right-hand File Activity pane (), including the name of the commenter, the time of the comment, and the page number of the annotated section.
The next time someone opens the document, they can view all existing comments in the File Activity pane. They can also add their own comments. And if they click the page number in a comment, Box immediately jumps to the page where you made your annotation.
You can also use your iOS device to view annotated documents.
You can share the document via a shared link, or directly notify people in your organization by using the @ command and their user name – for example, @johnsmith – within the comment. Box sends them an email with a link to the document. They also receive a notification in their Box Web Notification Center; clicking the notification opens the file preview to the annotated section, regardless of where in the document it may be.
When the recipient clicks the link, Box opens the file preview to the annotated area, regardless of where in the document it may be.
Annotations make it easy to locate information buried in large files. They also make it easy and fast to collaborate on content – especially visual content – as they make clear the detail you’re referring to. For example:
- Marketers can provide feedback on graphic designs or collateral developed by agencies and contractors.
- Executives can provide feedback on sales presentations to prospects.
- Insurance adjusters can annotate photos of damages to help in claims adjustments.
- Researchers can take notes in lengthy documents they can later use as references.
- Reviewers can call out specific text in documents ranging from a PowerPoint slide to a full-length manuscript for revision or clarification.
You can highlight and annotate text in the following file types:
You can border and annotate any area of an image in the following file types:
Any Box accountholder can create or respond to an annotation, except for people with the role of Uploader.
You can also use the “Write a comment” feature in the activity pane to describe what you want on a specific file and then notify a relevant collaborator.
To annotate a file
- Preview the file you wish to annotate.
- Hover over the file until a preview toolbar displays at the bottom of the screen.
- Depending on whether you’re annotating text or an image, do the following:
- To highlight text, click the Highlight and Comment icon ().
- To border a portion of the screen, click the Comment on Region icon ().
- When the cursor changes to annotation icon, click and drag the cursor over the section you wish to annotate. As you do so, the system draws a highlight (for text) or a box with a colored border (for images).
- When you’ve captured the section you want, release the mouse button. A window opens in which you can enter text.
- When you’re done typing, click Post. Your annotation now displays in the File Activity pane on the right.
- Repeat steps 3 through 6 for each additional annotation you wish to make.
To delete an annotation
- In the box of the comment you want, click the ellipsis (…).
- From the menu that displays, click Delete, and follow the prompt.
Only owners and co-owners of the folder containing the document, or the person who created the comment, can delete an annotation.
Versioning with Box Annotations
You can annotate multiple versions of a document. To help you distinguish which annotations apply to which version, Box appends the corresponding version number to comments on all earlier file versions (that is, all versions except the current one). Only annotations to the current version display a page number at the bottom of each annotation, which refers to the page in the current version that includes the corresponding annotation.
Box annotations essentially are an overlay in Box Preview – that is, they are not added to the actual file contents. If you open the file in its native application, your annotations do not display.
Enhancements on the way
Box has a robust series of enhancements to be released individually, or in small groups, throughout the second half of 2020. These include:
- The ability to create annotations on iPhone, iPad, and Android
- Freeform markups on all clients, including support for Apple pencil
- Support for additional file types
- Annotation replies
- The ability to hide annotations that have been addressed
- The ability to edit or modify annotations
- Annotation information in file access stats