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Steps to Annotate on Google Docs

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Google Docs is one of the most valuable offerings under the whole Google workspace, useful for regular users, students, professionals, and more. However, while it is easy to use, some users do not know to use it to the best of their ability, like how to annotate on Google Docs.

Indeed, from writing articles and sharing them with specific users for collaborative editing, the software assures many benefits. Not to mention, all of these features are free to use, whether it comes to formatting, creating, editing, sharing, or archiving.

However, when you share files, you may not want the recipients to make changes to the content directly. You only want the feedback. For this, the feature to annotate Google Docs is useful- users can add/edit comments via the cloud-based connection. Read on to know how it works.

Quick Rundown: How to Annotate on Google Docs (30 Seconds)

Adding annotations to the Google Docs files is not extremely difficult if you know how to annotate in google docs. There are specific steps that you should follow to complete this task quickly. If you have used this feature before but do not remember the exact process, here is a simple refresher for you.

Step 1 Open Google Docs > New. For older files, click on File > Open > select the file.

Step 2 Highlight the phrase or word to add an annotation to and click the Add Comment button beside.

Step 3 Insert the comment you want to add. Press the Comment button. And you are done!

Repeat for multiple other comments this way, if needed.

In Detail: Step by Step Guide to Annotate Google Docs (5 Minutes)

Yes, the feature to annotate in google docs is a relatively common feature that many users utilize often. However, there is a first time for everyone, and if you have not dealt with this feature before, you should know the steps in detail first. In this part, we present a better explanation of each sequence.

How to add comment on Google Docs through the Comment command

Step 1 Go to Google Drive and press New > Google Docs > Blank document.

press blank document

Step 2 Add your content into the file, as needed. If you want to insert a document you were already working on, click File > Open. Then, add the file from your stored location. Alternatively, copy and paste the content from your Word document.

Step 3 Use your cursor to highlight the section you want to add a comment to, and click the Add Comment icon that appears.

click the add comment icon

Step 4 Type in the comment you will add and click the Comment command to post.

click the comment command

Alternatively, you can highlight the phrase and click on the Insert tab from the taskbar. Scroll down and click on Comment.

scroll down and click on comment

Or, you can directly press Ctrl + Alt + M on your keyboard to activate the commenting feature.

Step 5 Right-click inside the Comment text file > choose Annotate Pro option.

choose annotate pro

Choose among the list of options you get for categorization.

Step 6 After you have added the comment, you can right-click on the three-dotted icon to further make edits to the text you add if any revisions are needed.

right click on three dotted icon

How to add comments using Full-text Search

Step 1 On the content you have added, click on Ctrl + F.

click on the ctrl and f keys

When the search pop-up appears, add the word or term you find in the text field. Choose the highlighted text that Google Docs analyses and finds. If you have multiple repetitions of the same word, click on the arrow buttons to go forward or back in the document.

add the word or term

Step 2 Place your cursor on the phrase or word you will add the annotation to. Then, press Insert > Comment.

Step 3 Type what you want to add and then press Comment. It will fix the content.

How to find the comment history on Google Docs?

Step 1 On your file, you will see the Comment icon at the top-right part of the screen.

see the comment icon

Step 2 Click on the Open Comment History icon, choose the comment to resolve, and insert your reply if that is what you are doing.

insert your reply

Step 3 Click the "Mark as resolved" button to confirm the changes in the document.

mark as resolved

How to set comment notifications on Google Docs?

Step 1 In the file, click on Open Comment History.

Step 2 Hit the Notification Settings icon at the top.

hit notification settings.

Step 3 Make the necessary settings adjustments for the alerts you will get for each step you take for how to add annotations in Google Docs and even edit them. Press OK.

press ok

Related Reading 1: How to Annotate PDF without Google Docs

Indeed, in the context of how to annotate on google docs, the main steps are not extremely challenging to handle. However, this simplicity of annotating terms and editing the comments are only available for the Google Docs files only. If you have any other digital file, like a PDF of the content you need to annotate, that feature is non-existent on Google Docs.

For that, you have to download and use reliable external software like PDFelement.


The Wondershare PDFelement is a high-quality document editing software with PDF-based annotation functionality. You can highlight and add annotations to the PDF files and insert text, corrections, sticky notes, drawings, signatures, and more.

Not only can you create your documents and review/proofread them, but you can also leave comments, drawings, and notes on the pages. Professionals like company officials and teachers find this helpful in leaving feedback on agreements, giving suggestions/corrections, and grading the digital pages, respectively.

Searching for a PDf editor with the perfect features? No need to search anymore. Check out the link below to learn more about PDFelement, one of the most excellent PDF editors of all time.

Top Features of PDFelement

  • Use around 4 different types of commenting methods on the texts.
  • Add personalized images or stamps (markup symbols) to the document.
  • Highlight specific phrases or words for markup optimization.
  • Add and remove shapes into the PDF files to make the content look more dynamic.

How to use PDFelement to annotate PDF files?

Step 1 Download and install the PDFelement software on your PC (Windows/Mac). Follow the on-screen steps as they come up.

Step 2 Launch it after the installation is complete.

Step 3 Hit the "Open PDF" button at the lower part of the screen. Choose the file to add.

hit the open pdf button

Step 4 The PDF file will open in the software.

pdf file will open

Step 5 You can make the editing requirements, as needed, like selecting the section to edit, clicking on the Edit icon, and making changes.

select the section to edit

Step 6 Choose the section to add a comment into, and press the Comment option from the taskbar.

press the comment option

Step 7 Add the comment, edit the text, and drag the comment box to the right spot on the file.

drag the comment box

Step 8 Hit the File icon at the top-left to save or press Ctrl + S keys on the keyboard.

Overall, this software is beneficial as an alternative for annotating files, especially for digital files besides Google Docs files. Give it a try for advanced documentation and PDF formatting benefits.

Related Reading 2: How to Annotate PDF Free & Online

While you can use the software version to annotate Google Docs or PDF files, it involves downloading a third-party tool. If you want to avoid that, you can give PDF24 Tools a try. This online document editor is easily accessible through different OS devices, like Android, Windows, Mac, iOS, and Linux.

PDF24 Tools

This online tool is simple to operate and free, accessible through any browser. PDF24 Tools has many free document editing tools, like adding comment, shapes, and images without simple taps. You can also use it in the app version or access it for offline use, but the latter is only available for Windows users.

Best Features:

  • Simple to visit the site, add the file, and make annotations without any installations.
  • Tools are available for inserting drawings, shapes, images, and texts.
  • The software does not store any files in its servers- assuring good data security.
  • Compatible with different platforms, browsers, operating systems, and devices.

How to use PDF24 Tools to annotate PDF files?

Step 1 Open the website on your preferred browser and click on the Choose File button. You can also drag and drop your file into the section.

click on choose file

Step 2 Wait for the file to load.

Step 3 At the top taskbar, click the icons like Add Picture to include elements into the file.

click icons like add picture

Step 4 Press the "Add Text" icon to insert comments.

press the add text icon

Step 5 A text box will appear. Use the font editing features to change font type, size, etc.

use the font editing features

Step 6 Click on the text and add the comment you want to include.

Step 7 Hold and drag the text box to any file part.

hold and drag the comment box

Step 8 After adding more comments, press the Save PDF button at the bottom if necessary.

press the save file button

Final Words

Overall, it is not difficult to add comments and highlight specific sections on Google Docs. Follow the steps accurately, review the comments you have added to the whole file, and make changes as needed. For further annotation work on PDF files, you can opt for alternatives like PDFelement and PDF24 Tools. Understand your primary needs and follow through with the proper steps.