Box Annotations enables you to mark up almost any file with your comments, on any platform (Web, mobile, desktop), without using another application. Simply open a document in Box Preview. From there you can place a border around any portion of that document and add a question or comment relevant to that portion. 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, or reply to existing comments. And if they click the page number in a comment, Box immediately jumps to the page where you made your annotation.
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.
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.
Annotations in Box currently work with all major image types and all major document types (Word, PowerPoint, Google docs, Autocad, and so on) except for Excel, iWork, and Numbers.
Image types include:
Document types include:
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.
- Click the Comment on Region icon ().
- When the cursor changes to a crosshair (), click and drag the cursor over the section you wish to annotate. As you do so, the system draws a box with a colored border around the section.
- 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 4, 5, and 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 view and create annotations on iPhone, iPad and Android
- The ability to highlight text annotations
- Freeform markups on all clients, including support for Apple pencil
- Notifications in the Box Notification center, including browser and mobile push notifications
- Support for additional files 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
- Admin ability to audit annotations through events streams and user activity reports
- Box Annotations does not support the following:
- any spreadsheet document -- .xls, .xlsb, .xlsm, .xlsx, .xml, .xsd, .xsl
- Apple file formats -- numbers