How to Annotate in Word

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You can add comments and annotations to Microsoft Word documents, allowing you to collaborate with others. Here’s how.

They say that writing is mostly rewriting. Whether you use Microsoft work for work or for creative writing , if you have a document you need to edit, annotating the text can be an effective way of keeping track of the changes you need to make.

Thankfully, Microsoft Word comes with annotation tools built-in. These allow you to quickly and easily add notes to your document and keep track of changes.

Adding Comments

Annotations in Word are done by adding comments. This creates a highlighted area of text that you can hover over to read the attached comment. You can also view the comments in a panel at the side of the page. Each comment includes the author of the comment and the time it was created or edited.

There are several ways you can insert comments into your Microsoft Word document.

Using the Ribbon Bar

First of all, highlight the text you want to annotate in your Word document.

Highlighted text in Word

Under the Review tab on the ribbon bar, press on the Comments button and click New Comment .

Adding a comment in Word

Your text will now have a colored background, and the cursor will move to the comments pane, ready for you to start typing your annotation.

Typing a new comment in Word

Type in your annotation and it will be visible in the comments pane. You can also hover over the highlighted text to bring up a pop-up box with your comment.

Hovering over a comment in Word

There are four other options under the Comments section, allowing you to make changes to your comments, as well as switch between them.

Comment options in Word

The Delete option gives you the option to remove the current comment, all comments, or just comments by the currently visible author.

Previous and Next  allow you to navigate through the document from one annotation to the next, rather than having to search through the content for the next highlighted section.

Resolve  allows you to mark an annotation as completed. For example, if the annotation suggested rephrasing a sentence, you could mark it as resolved once you’ve made the change. The comment is then grayed out, but will otherwise remain visible on your document.

Resolving an annotated Word comment

The highlighted text also changes to a paler color so you can differentiate between resolved and unresolved annotations. You can’t mark a comment as resolved until you’ve made a change to the highlighted text.

Right Click to Add Comments

If you just want to add a new comment rather than resolving, deleting, or navigating through them, then you can quickly do this through the context menu.

Highlight the text you want to annotate, and right-click. Choose New Comment  and your comment is created in the same way as before.

Right-clicking to insert a comment in Word

Using the Comments Button

There’s also a dedicated comments button in the top-right corner of the Word window.

The comment button in Word

Clicking on this button brings up the option to create a new comment, or to navigate to the previous or next comment in the document.

Comment options in Word

With all of these methods, if you don’t highlight any text before creating a new comment, Word will automatically select the single word at the cursor position.

If you want to annotate more than a single word, you must highlight the entire section before creating your comment.

Changing Author Name

Word automatically uses the name associated with your Word application as the author’s name for all of your comments. You may prefer to use a different name, however.

For an individual document, you can change this by clicking on File > Info.

The info button in Word

To the right of the page towards the bottom you will see a section labeled  Related People.

Related people in Word

Right-click on your author name and choose  Edit Property.

Edit property in Word

You can then type in the author’s name of your choosing.

Set author name in Word

If you want to change this permanently across all of your Word documents, then click  File > Options. 

File > Options section in Word

In the  Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office  section, type in the  User Name you want to use.

Personalize option in Word

Check the  Always use these values regardless of sign in to Office  box to ensure that the author name you set takes precedence over your sign-in credentials.

Other Annotation Methods

Comments are a simple and effective way of annotating your Word documents. There are other options you could try too, such as inserting footnotes and endnotes into Word.

Using these techniques can help you minimize the time spent editing Word documents . Other tips such as creating a table of contents in Word or rearranging pages in your Word documents can also help to boost your productivity.

how to annotate an article on word

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Learning Center

Annotating Texts

What is annotation.

Annotation can be:

Why annotate?

How do you annotate?

Summarize key points in your own words .

Circle key concepts and phrases

Write brief comments and questions in the margins

Use abbreviations and symbols


Use comment and highlight features built into pdfs, online/digital textbooks, or other apps and browser add-ons

What are the most important takeaways?

The table below demonstrates this process using a geography textbook excerpt (Press 2004):

A chart featuring a passage from a text in the left column and then columns that illustrate annotations that include too much writing, not enough writing, and a good balance of writing.

A common concern about annotating texts: It takes time!

Yes, it can, but that time isn’t lost—it’s invested.

Spending the time to annotate on the front end does two important things:

One last tip: Try separating the reading and annotating processes! Quickly read through a section of the text first, then go back and annotate.

Works consulted:

Nist, S., & Holschuh, J. (2000). Active learning: strategies for college success. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 202-218.

Simpson, M., & Nist, S. (1990). Textbook annotation: An effective and efficient study strategy for college students. Journal of Reading, 34: 122-129.

Press, F. (2004). Understanding earth (4th ed). New York: W.H. Freeman. 208-210.

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How To Annotate An Article Effectively [Tips + Tools]

Annotating an article goes over and above just simply writing down notes. It is a worthwhile activity, which when done correctly can help you to actively read and understand the text you're reading.

If you wanted to read something, you used to have to go to a library or bookstore. But now you can get access to thousands of free books and articles online. And thanks to the rise of the digital era , you don’t even need to leave home anymore.

However, how often have you found yourself reading an article or blog post only to realize that you don’t remember anything from it? This is because you weren't actively taking in anything you were reading.

This can easily be rectified if you annotate an article while reading it.

In order to get the most out of reading, you should always make comments or highlight important parts of the text. This way, your brain stays active and you can easily refer back to them later.

You can annotate articles by hand on a piece of paper, however, if you want to do it online, there are plenty of tools available to help you out.

how to annotate an article on word

7 Steps For How To Annotate An Article Effectively🔥

How to optimize your annotation process🌟.

Important disclosure: we're proud affiliates of some tools mentioned in this guide. If you click an affiliate link and subsequently make a purchase, we will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you (you pay nothing extra). For more information, read our affiliate disclosure .

First Of All, What Is Annotation? 🤷‍♀️

Annotation is simply making personal notes and adding explanations or comments on top of an image or document.

Annotating is about drawing attention to specific words, phrases, or themes in the article.

There are three main methods of annotation:


Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.

When highlighting, you add color to specific word s or phrases.

Advantages of highlighting text are that it's easy to do and actually doesn't require any special software.

A disadvantage of highlighting text is that it may not show up well when printed out and depending on the color used, the contrast can make it hard to read the words.

Tagging allows you to assign keywords to different sections of the text.

Advantages of tagging include easily being able to search for specific tags and locate associated text.

The disadvantages of tagging are that it requires more work than highlighting since you must first create a list of keywords before assigning each one of them to the text.

Comments are generally more personal than either of these two methods. They are usually written by the reader and reflect the readers' thoughts and feelings towards what they are reading.

The advantages of leaving your comments when annotating are article are that writing is an active learning strategy and you're more likely to remember what you've written. The disadvantages of commenting are that it takes time to write a comment.

The best way to annotate an article is by using all three methods at once.

Why Should You Take The Time Out To Annotate When Reading? 🧐

The main advantage of annotating articles is that it helps you retain information better.

It is one of the best active reading strategies.

When you annotate, you're forced to pay attention to the text and therefore you'll learn faster. It also makes you think harder so you'll understand things better. This is particularly helpful with complex reading material.

Potential thoughts while active reading

Another advantage of effective annotation is being more aware of what you're reading. You will naturally begin to notice the important points in the text or relevant pieces of information. This will help you focus on those areas.

You can even use annotations as a study tool.

If you annotate articles, digital textbooks, or academic texts, you'll find yourself referring back to it often. This is because you'll be easily reminded of the key points.

You can then go back and reread the highlighted passages without having to worry about remembering where you left off. This is particularly useful if you are a student who is studying for an exam or trying to learn a new concept.

The disadvantages of annotating are that you might feel like you're wasting time. However trust me, you aren't ! One way to eliminate this feeling is to annotate the articles you are reading online rather than print them out and annotate them by hand.

Annotating online allows you to quickly make corrections to your annotations, something that may not be so easy by hand.

Plus when annotating online you have easy access to your annotations wherever you may be. You can just save the page with your annotations and continue reading later. No need to carry around stacks of printed-out articles with you.

Oh and you're also helping to save the environment too by reducing your paper usage & printing!

That's why I say, online annotation all the way!

Alright, so you know all about what annotation is and why it is important, which is great. But how do you actually go about annotating an article?

Below are seven steps you can follow when annotating an article:

how to annotate an article on word

1. Scan For Important Details

The first step when annotating an article is to scan the article for details that are relevant to what you want to learn from the article.

Usually, when you are scanning you read the title of the articles, the headings, the abstract, and the conclusion of the article so you can grasp some idea of the direction of the article.

2. Skim For More Information

You then need to skim-read the article to get a general and clearer idea of what it's about.

It doesn't matter if you don't fully understand everything but you want to get a sense of the topic and its central theme . This means you are looking for keywords, key concepts, terms, phrases, abbreviations, etc.

A good tactic when skimming through an article is to read the first sentence or two of the first paragraphs.

What it means to skim vs scan while reading

3. Underline Or Highlight Key Points

Your next step is to then underline or highlight the most important points in the article that you have picked up on through your initial readings.

These could be the main ideas in texts, facts, statistics, quotes, examples, etc. that you found interesting and relevant.

4. Read The Entire Article Thoroughly

Once you've underlined the key points, you should read the entire article again. Slowly and carefully.

Reading the article in its entirety helps to reinforce the key points you've already identified.

In addition, it gives you a chance to look at the different parts of the article and see how they relate to each other.

It is good practice at this point to circle any unfamiliar words and to look them up. Noting down the meanings of the words both mentally and on the article itself.

Highlight and circle important words or phrases in the text

5. Make Your Notes

Now that you've read the entire article, you can start making your personal notes. You can make these notes in the margin, at the end of the article, or on a new page entirely.

Write down any questions you still have about the article, any points you want to remember, or anything else you'd like to add.

Keep in mind that the notes you take don't have to be words, they can also be visuals.

6. Quickly Summarize The Key Ideas

After you've finished writing down your thoughts, you can summarize the main ideas of the article into one sentence.

For example, if you were annotating the article " Why Do We Have A Short Attention Span? ", you would write down something like:

"Short attention spans are caused by our fast-paced world."

It is important in your summary that you make connections between the key ideas in the article.

Create a short summary of the main ideas of the article

7. Create An Outline

Finally, once you've summarized the major ideas of the piece, create an outline . This will help you organize your notes as well as give you a deeper understanding of the article overall.

An outline is simply a list of the key ideas of the document. It's not meant to be exhaustive, nor does it have to include every single detail.

An outline is usually made up of three sections:

You are now ready to get started annotating articles. This extremely useful skill is a vital one to learn, however, you can take it a step further and optimize your annotation processes.

Some people are annotation naturals, but with others, it requires a bit more practice. Below are some tips and tricks to help you annotate articles online more efficiently and effectively:

An Annotation Tool Is Your Best Friend 💕

Use a legend 🔑, make use of your colors wisely 🎨.

Note Down Descriptions & Reactions ✍️

Did someone say snapchat 👻, be critical 🧠, use abbreviations or symbols *️⃣.

Annotation tools are useful because they allow you to easily mark up text and highlight important parts of an article. They also let you take notes and record your thoughts.

There are many online annotation tools available, including Markup by Kdan Mobile, Cronycle & Kami.

how to annotate an article on word

Markup is an all-in-one annotation tool - meaning you can use it to personally annotate articles online and websites ( & PDFs too if you’re using the iOS app ).

The tool combines note-taking with artificial intelligence, ensuring that you are actively reading with great efficiency.

The more you use Markup, the more helpful it becomes as it remembers the types of articles you have read and the content within them, and then it suggests articles of a similar nature.

With Markup you can save all your annotations in one place, for easy access and you can quickly share them amongst your peers.

You can get started with Markup for free. However, if you are looking to upgrade your functions and features then the paid pricing plans start at $39.99 per user per month billed annually.

how to annotate an article on word

From the outset, Croncyle may not look like an annotation tool. It in fact advertises itself as a marketing intelligence platform.

However, it does have a very nifty annotation feature for PDFs, saved web pages, and online articles. All you have to do is save the article to one of your boards and then you can get started highlighting, adding comments, and tagging.

After you have annotated the article you can review all of the comments you made, extract highlighted text, and then share it with whoever you wish.

Unfortunately, there is no free plan for Croncyle, and their paid plans start at $49 per user per month, paid annually.

how to annotate an article on word

Kami may market itself as a digital classroom tool , however, it can be used by anybody, in any industry.

With Kami, you can take a PDF document, a Word document, images, and conventional articles and transform them into a beautifully annotated end result. And then you can save and share those documents as you please.

One particularly useful feature of Kami that sets itself apart from the other two tools we have mentioned is that you can annotate in written words, visuals, videos, or voice recordings.

Kami offers its’ users a completely free version , or they can upgrade to the Teacher Plan which is $99 per year. It just depends on the extent of your needs.

Using annotation tools can save you valuable time. However, there are some things to keep in mind before using them.

First, you'll need to find a tool that works with your device. Some apps work only on certain devices (iPhones, iPads), while others may require a web browser.

Second, you need to think about your annotation needs and which tool best suits those.

For example , if you're looking for a simple way to quickly note down key points, then you might choose to use a basic highlighting app. If you're looking for more advanced features such as adding images, formatting text, or recording audio clips, then you may want to consider a more complex tool.

Third, make sure you know how to use the tool properly. You should always start off by reading through the documentation first. Then, practice using the tool until you feel comfortable doing so.

Lastly, make sure the tool fits into your budget . There are free options out there, but you may want to invest in a paid option if you plan on making heavy use of it.

An annotation legend

Always make use of a key or legend when annotating articles online. A legend is a quick reference guide that explains what each symbol means.

A legend can be used at any point during the process, whether you're writing annotations directly on the page or creating a summary.

It's very helpful to add a legend to a document because it helps other readers ( or you at a later stage ) understand what you mean. It will also help you organize your thoughts and remember what you've written.

When creating a legend, try to stick to 3-5 symbols per section.

When annotating you need to be careful of your color choices. Avoid using too many colors. Instead, pick just two or three main colors.

The reason why you need to limit yourself to these colors is that most people have limited vision. When you use too many colors, it becomes difficult for people to read what you wrote.

If you do decide to use multiple colors, make sure to use contrasting ones instead of monochromatic ones. If you don't it may be hard to distinguish one color from the next. For instance, if you use red and pink together, then you will struggle to tell where one ends and the next begins.

Avoid using bright colors like yellow or orange. These colors tend to distract from the content. Also, avoid using colors that are too dark as they will make it hard to read the text.

You should also use a different color for each type of reaction , e.g. green for questions, red for confusion, and purple for agreement.

Annotation guide for highlighter colours

Different Margin Different Task☝️

Try to make your annotations as logical as possible. Use one margin for tagging and another margin for making comments. Or one margin for reactions and the other for questions.

This makes it easier to follow along with the article themes.

When annotating an article it is important to note down descriptions of what is written as well as your reactions to the key concepts. Noting down reactions allows you to go back to this section and understand how it initially made you feel and your thought process at the time.

If you're not sure about something, then write it down, and question it. This will give you time to think about it before you continue.

Noting your thoughts helps you better understand the article when you review it again at a later stage.

This one is for students. Did you know you can annotate articles on Snapchat? Yes, it’s true!

All you need to do is take a screenshot of the article you want to annotate.

Then, open up the image editor and paste the article. Once you've done that, you can begin adding your own notes and reactions by tapping on the screen.

Another way to do this is to subscribe to one of the news accounts on Snapchat, open up an article of interest, screenshot it and get annotating.

You can also easily share your annotations with friends.

It is important when annotating an article to be critical of what is written. Don't just accept everything at face value.

Really think about what the article is saying and the implications of such.

Think about what you would say in response to the author's arguments. Would you agree or disagree? Why?

To make your life easier, you can always abbreviate certain words or you can use symbols to represent certain things. This is particularly useful for repeated concepts or themes as it saves you time in writing it out.

For example , instead of writing ‘theory’ all over the place, you could simply put ‘T’. Also saving you space for more elaborate descriptions. Or try using a '?' mark if something in the article requires more research on your behalf.

Just make sure you include these abbreviations and symbols in your legend so that you know exactly what they mean!

The last thing you want is to forget their meaning and have to annotate the article from scratch.

How To Use The Various Online Annotation Tools: Markup Vs. Kami 📝

Maybe using online annotation tools sounds daunting to you but we are here to show you otherwise. Using these tools couldn't be any easier.

Markup is a unique annotation tool as it allows you to highlight and annotate any article online. No need to download the article or have it on your google drive.

In fact, you don’t even have to download anything - not even the tool itself, as all you have to do, is add it as an extension to your browser.

how to get started using Markup

Go to the Markup website . Click on the relevant button to take you to your Chrome or Edge extension web store.

Markup on the google chrome web store

Add the Markup extension to your browser. No account is needed! You may want to pin it to your extensions bar for easy access.

highlighting online articles using Markup

Go to the article you want to annotate. Click on the Markup extension button and a drop-down annotation menu will appear ( as seen above ).

As you can see with Markup you can highlight text, add tags, add annotations, automatically summarize the article (a very useful feature) and then share your annotations with other people.

Plus they offer you pro tips for using the tool!

Adding notes using Markup

Select the text you want , and as long as the ‘Text Highlighter’ toggle is set to on, a Markups button will appear next to your text.

Click this button and it will give you the option to highlight your text - in multiple different colors!

If you want to annotate your text all you need to do is select your text, click the annotation button that pops up next to your text, and type in your note. You can even change the note color.

It really is that easy.

viewing all the annotations you've made to an article

Click ‘Annotations ’ on the side panel to view all the notes and highlighted text you’ve added.

This quickly shows you everything you deemed important in the article and allows you to easily navigate to any section.

save and share your annotated article

Click ‘Share’, and then click ‘Include highlights and notes’ to share your annotated article with anyone via a link or across your Facebook, Twitter, and Weibo social networks.

Kami is an annotation tool that is aimed at the education industry. Because of this, it functions mainly to annotate articles that are either saved onto a drive or downloaded onto the computer.

Unlike with Markup, you cannot annotate straight onto an article on a website. However, it still fulfills its purpose perfectly.

how to annotate an article on word

Go to their website , create an account, and log in. Then open your file from Google Docs or Drive, My Computer, or OneDrive. Or create one using the various templates.

how to annotate an article on word

Once your article is uploaded you’ll get access to a number of annotation tools , all present in the bar on the left-hand side of your screen.

There are also a number of functional options in the top right-hand corner - open file, save, share, download, etc.

highlighting a document using Kami

Click on the highlighter icon and highlight your text in multiple colors. You can also underline important text or strike it through if it isn’t relevant.

Adding comments to an article using Kami

Click on the comments icon to add notes in multiple forms - written, audio, video, or visual. Plus you can tag your notes in different colors so you know which are related and which aren't.

use Kami to add shapes and draw on the document

You can even add text boxes, shapes, and drawings to the actual article itself.

share your fully annotated article

Click on the download icon to export your document - with or without the annotations.

Which tool is best?

That depends on your needs as a person. If you have a whole lot of downloaded articles, go with Kami, but if you want to save time and annotate directly online, then Markup is the tool for you.

Or you can always explore the other annotation tools we mentioned in this article…

Conclusion 🙌

Without annotation, it becomes easy to read through an article and not remember anything afterward. This isn’t ideal - especially if you are a student.

Annotating an article online is an important skill if you want to not only read the text but actually actively take in what it is saying. Many people view annotation as tedious, however, there are a number of tools available to help you.

And using them couldn’t be any easier.

After reading this article you should have everything you need to effectively and efficiently annotate your articles. What are you waiting for?

This article was written by Sam Hops . Sam is passionate about all this digital marketing but has a particular interest in writing about graphic design. Avid lover of dogs and a sunflower enthusiast 🐶 🌻

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What Is an Annotated Bibliography? | Examples & Format

Published on March 9, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 23, 2022.

An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that includes a short descriptive text (an annotation) for each source. It may be assigned as part of the research process for a paper , or as an individual assignment to gather and read relevant sources on a topic.

Scribbr’s free Citation Generator allows you to easily create and manage your annotated bibliography in APA or MLA style. To generate a perfectly formatted annotated bibliography, select the source type, fill out the relevant fields, and add your annotation.

The Scribbr Citation Generator will automatically create a flawless APA citation

The Scribbr Citation Generator will automatically create a flawless MLA citation

An example of an annotated source is shown below:

Annotated source example

Table of contents

Annotated bibliography format: apa, mla, chicago, how to write an annotated bibliography, descriptive annotation example, evaluative annotation example, reflective annotation example, finding sources for your annotated bibliography, frequently asked questions about annotated bibliographies.

Make sure your annotated bibliography is formatted according to the guidelines of the style guide you’re working with. Three common styles are covered below:

In APA Style , both the reference entry and the annotation should be double-spaced and left-aligned.

The reference entry itself should have a hanging indent . The annotation follows on the next line, and the whole annotation should be indented to match the hanging indent. The first line of any additional paragraphs should be indented an additional time.

APA annotated bibliography

In an MLA style annotated bibliography , the Works Cited entry and the annotation are both double-spaced and left-aligned.

The Works Cited entry has a hanging indent. The annotation itself is indented 1 inch (twice as far as the hanging indent). If there are two or more paragraphs in the annotation, the first line of each paragraph is indented an additional half-inch, but not if there is only one paragraph.

MLA annotated bibliography

Chicago style

In a  Chicago style annotated bibliography , the bibliography entry itself should be single-spaced and feature a hanging indent.

The annotation should be indented, double-spaced, and left-aligned. The first line of any additional paragraphs should be indented an additional time.

Chicago annotated bibliography

For each source, start by writing (or generating ) a full reference entry that gives the author, title, date, and other information. The annotated bibliography format varies based on the citation style you’re using.

The annotations themselves are usually between 50 and 200 words in length, typically formatted as a single paragraph. This can vary depending on the word count of the assignment, the relative length and importance of different sources, and the number of sources you include.

Consider the instructions you’ve been given or consult your instructor to determine what kind of annotations they’re looking for:

These specific terms won’t necessarily be used. The important thing is to understand the purpose of your assignment and pick the approach that matches it best. Interactive examples of the different styles of annotation are shown below.

Here's why students love Scribbr's proofreading services

Discover proofreading & editing

A descriptive annotation summarizes the approach and arguments of a source in an objective way, without attempting to assess their validity.

In this way, it resembles an abstract , but you should never just copy text from a source’s abstract, as this would be considered plagiarism . You’ll naturally cover similar ground, but you should also consider whether the abstract omits any important points from the full text.

The interactive example shown below describes an article about the relationship between business regulations and CO 2 emissions.

Rieger, A. (2019). Doing business and increasing emissions? An exploratory analysis of the impact of business regulation on CO 2 emissions. Human Ecology Review , 25 (1), 69–86.

An evaluative annotation also describes the content of a source, but it goes on to evaluate elements like the validity of the source’s arguments and the appropriateness of its methods .

For example, the following annotation describes, and evaluates the effectiveness of, a book about the history of Western philosophy.

Kenny, A. (2010). A new history of Western philosophy: In four parts . Oxford University Press.

A reflective annotation is similar to an evaluative one, but it focuses on the source’s usefulness or relevance to your own research.

Reflective annotations are often required when the point is to gather sources for a future research project, or to assess how they were used in a project you already completed.

The annotation below assesses the usefulness of a particular article for the author’s own research in the field of media studies.

Manovich, Lev. (2009). The practice of everyday (media) life: From mass consumption to mass cultural production? Critical Inquiry , 35 (2), 319–331.

Manovich’s article assesses the shift from a consumption-based media culture (in which media content is produced by a small number of professionals and consumed by a mass audience) to a production-based media culture (in which this mass audience is just as active in producing content as in consuming it). He is skeptical of some of the claims made about this cultural shift; specifically, he argues that the shift towards user-made content must be regarded as more reliant upon commercial media production than it is typically acknowledged to be. However, he regards web 2.0 as an exciting ongoing development for art and media production, citing its innovation and unpredictability.

The article is outdated in certain ways (it dates from 2009, before the launch of Instagram, to give just one example). Nevertheless, its critical engagement with the possibilities opened up for media production by the growth of social media is valuable in a general sense, and its conceptualization of these changes frequently applies just as well to more current social media platforms as it does to Myspace. Conceptually, I intend to draw on this article in my own analysis of the social dynamics of Twitter and Instagram.

Before you can write your annotations, you’ll need to find sources . If the annotated bibliography is part of the research process for a paper, your sources will be those you consult and cite as you prepare the paper. Otherwise, your assignment and your choice of topic will guide you in what kind of sources to look for.

Make sure that you’ve clearly defined your topic , and then consider what keywords are relevant to it, including variants of the terms. Use these keywords to search databases (e.g., Google Scholar ), using Boolean operators to refine your search.

Sources can include journal articles, books, and other source types , depending on the scope of the assignment. Read the abstracts or blurbs of the sources you find to see whether they’re relevant, and try exploring their bibliographies to discover more. If a particular source keeps showing up, it’s probably important.

Once you’ve selected an appropriate range of sources, read through them, taking notes that you can use to build up your annotations. You may even prefer to write your annotations as you go, while each source is fresh in your mind.

An annotated bibliography is an assignment where you collect sources on a specific topic and write an annotation for each source. An annotation is a short text that describes and sometimes evaluates the source.

Any credible sources on your topic can be included in an annotated bibliography . The exact sources you cover will vary depending on the assignment, but you should usually focus on collecting journal articles and scholarly books . When in doubt, utilize the CRAAP test !

Each annotation in an annotated bibliography is usually between 50 and 200 words long. Longer annotations may be divided into paragraphs .

The content of the annotation varies according to your assignment. An annotation can be descriptive, meaning it just describes the source objectively; evaluative, meaning it assesses its usefulness; or reflective, meaning it explains how the source will be used in your own research .

A source annotation in an annotated bibliography fulfills a similar purpose to an abstract : they’re both intended to summarize the approach and key points of a source.

However, an annotation may also evaluate the source , discussing the validity and effectiveness of its arguments. Even if your annotation is purely descriptive , you may have a different perspective on the source from the author and highlight different key points.

You should never just copy text from the abstract for your annotation, as doing so constitutes plagiarism .

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How to Write an Annotation for an Article

Annotation is an essential skill that lets students make the most out of reading done for their college courses. When annotating, one inspects a text they read with a critical eye and makes useful notes. An annotated article helps better understand the material, can become a part of academic research, and make the process of preparing for tests easier.

What does it mean to annotate an article? How do you make effective notes? Is it possible to annotate texts online? Find answers to these and other questions in our article.

What Is Annotating an Article?

Annotation is a strategy of active reading. It means that while reading a text, you add notes to it, make your comments, explanations, opinions, questions or associations. The skill of annotation may take some practice but offers a better understanding of complicated materials and helps easily and quickly find important information when reviewing. While making notes, you become familiar not only with the content of an article but also with its organization.

A properly annotated article accomplishes the following:

How to Write Annotations Effectively?

We recommend you read through the text once before you start taking major notes. You may only circle new concepts or vocabulary if needed. This will let you understand the article’s main ideas and notice where the most important pieces of information are. When you reread the text, making an annotation should be more efficient.

You can make your further notes in these ways:

Underlining or highlighting main ideas or key phrases and words is the most common form of annotating a text. Many students do it to make the process of studying up for exams easier. Highlighting also works well when you are picking quotes or passages to use them in your written work. However, this method has certain drawbacks. Firstly, people tend to highlight or underline more than it’s really necessary. Secondly, this form of making an annotation is less active than others. It doesn’t involve much thinking or interacting with statements and ideas in a text. On the contrary, highlighting only postpones this process. Instead of making the whole text look like a rainbow, you can only use a highlighter to mark parts, worth making notes about.

Locating the main ideas of your text is only the first step. To go beyond, you can paraphrase the ideas to capture their meaning and solidify your understanding. It is also works great as a preparation for a written work based on reading. Short notes, written in the page margins, along with the key concepts, already make a brief summary. If you can condense the substance of a paragraph or a sentence in several words, there won’t be any trouble showing deep understanding in your written work.

This form of annotation shows how a text is organized. Basically, you need to break an article to show where each idea is introduced and where it develops. A descriptive outline aims to show you where not only the key ideas but also facts, details, and explanations supporting them are located.

Here’s what a descriptive outline focuses on in individual sections and paragraphs: summary of a topic, the introduction of an idea, giving explanations, providing examples and evidence, limiting or expanding an idea, looking on a contrary view, making a transition, stating conclusions, etc.

To do even more, you can note own reactions to an article, such as your agreement or disagreement, associations, questions, ideas from other articles that correspond to this one, discussions in class, etc. This is a good way to start forming the core of your future written assignment based on the whole text or on some of its ideas.

How to Annotate Articles Online?

Annotation of an article doesn’t have to be handwritten. There are plenty of various mobile apps and online tools that can help you with this task. They are handy, simple to work with, and easily visualize your notes. You can download your written sample in the form of a Word document or a PDF, work with screenshots and web pages or download a special extension on your computer.

A good example of a free tool is an add-on for Google Docs called Grackle Marks. A good (but paid) pro version is Newsela. Other good choices are Scribble, Diigo, Hypothesis, and Notable.

Writing an Annotation for an Article: Summary

Our essay writers are sure that with some practice, you’ll see all the advantages of annotations, and find the process of writing them handy and exciting. Let’s summarize what you need to do, to annotate an article:

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How to Annotate

Last Updated: December 9, 2022 References

This article was co-authored by Alexander Peterman, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden . Alexander Peterman is a Private Tutor in Florida. He received his MA in Education from the University of Florida in 2017. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 319,296 times.

Slogging through a tough text is hard, and it can be even harder if you aren’t retaining the information. Annotating text is a purposeful note taking system that encourages close reading and literary analysis. When you go back to review a book or article, your annotations should help you find important information and jog your memory about relevant information. Your annotation system can be highly personalized, but you should establish your method before you start to read to make it easier on yourself.

Sample Annotations

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Highlighting Important Information

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Taking Notes

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Using Annotations to Understand a Tough Text

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Annotating Digital Text

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About This Article

Alexander Peterman, MA

Before you annotate a text, read it thoroughly so you can identify the main points or themes that you want to focus on. Next, highlight important passages and use different markings to identify things you want to make note of. For example, you can circle the names of any new characters as they appear, or underline statements relating to the theme. Then, create a legend by listing what each type of annotation means so that you can quickly find it again later. Finally, write an index of your notes on the text by writing down the page numbers and a short description of your observation on a separate paper. For tips from our Education reviewer on how to summarize each chapter in a text, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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What is Annotating?

Annotating is any action that deliberately interacts with a text to enhance the reader's understanding of, recall of, and reaction to the text. Sometimes called "close reading," annotating usually involves highlighting or underlining key pieces of text and making notes in the margins of the text. This page will introduce you to several effective strategies for annotating a text that will help you get the most out of your reading.

Why Annotate?

By annotating a text, you will ensure that you understand what is happening in a text after you've read it. As you annotate, you should note the author's main points, shifts in the message or perspective of the text, key areas of focus, and your own thoughts as you read. However, annotating isn't just for people who feel challenged when reading academic texts. Even if you regularly understand and remember what you read, annotating will help you summarize a text, highlight important pieces of information, and ultimately prepare yourself for discussion and writing prompts that your instructor may give you. Annotating means you are doing the hard work while you read, allowing you to reference your previous work and have a clear jumping-off point for future work.

1. Survey : This is your first time through the reading

You can annotate by hand or by using document software. You can also annotate on post-its if you have a text you do not want to mark up. As you annotate, use these strategies to make the most of your efforts:

Lastly, as you annotate, make sure you are including descriptions of the text as well as your own reactions to the text. This will allow you to skim your notations at a later date to locate key information and quotations, and to recall your thought processes more easily and quickly.

how to annotate an article on word

Write great papers

Write great papers with microsoft word.

You may already use Microsoft Word to write papers, but you can also use for many other tasks, such as collecting research, co-writing with other students, recording notes on-the-fly, and even building a better bibliography!

Explore new ways to use Microsoft Word below.

Getting started

Let’s get started by opening Microsoft Word and choosing a template to create a new document. You can either:

Select Blank document to create a document from scratch.

Select a structured template.

Select Take a tour for Word tips.

Word new doc templates

Next, let’s look at creating and formatting copy. You can do so by clicking onto the page and beginning to type your content. The status bar at the bottom of the document shows your current page number and how many words you've typed, in case you’re trying to stay maintain a specific word count.

Word ribbon format text options

To format text and change how it looks, select the text and select an option on the Home tab: Bold, Italic, Bullets, Numbering , etc.

To add pictures, shapes, or other media, simply navigate to the Insert tab, then select any of the options to add media to your document.

Word automatically saves your content as you work, so you don’t have to stress about losing your progress if you forget to press  Save .

Here are some of the advanced tools you can try out while using Microsoft Word.

Type with your voice

Have you ever wanted to speak, not write, your ideas? Believe it or not, there’s a button for that! All you have to do is navigate to the Home tab, select the Dictate button, and start talking to “type” with your voice. You’ll know Dictate is listening when the red recording icon appears.

Tips for using Dictate

Speak clearly and conversationally.

Add punctuation by pausing or saying the name of the punctuation mark.

If you make a mistake, all you have to do is go back and re-type your text.

Dictate button in Word

Finding and citing sources

Get a head start on collecting sources and ideas for a big paper by searching key words in  Researcher in the References tab of your document.

Researcher button in Word

Researcher uses Bing to search the web and deliver high-quality research sources to the side of your page. Search for people, places, or ideas and then sort by journal articles and websites. Add a source to your page by selecting the plus sign.

As you write, Researcher saves a record of your searches. Just select My Research to see the complete list.

Keep track of all your sources by using Word's built-in bibliography maker. Simply navigate to the References tab.

First, choose the style you want your citations to be in. In this example, we’ve selected APA style.

Select Insert Citation and Add New Source .

In the next window, choose what kind of work you’re citing—an article, book, etc.—and fill in the required details. Then select  OK to cite your source.

Keep writing. At the ends of sentences that need sources, select Insert Citation to keep adding new sources, or pick one you already entered from the list.

Point to Insert Citation, and choose Add New Source

As you write, Word will keep track of all the citations you’ve entered. When you’re finished, select Bibliography and choose a format style. Your bibliography will appear at the end of your paper, just like that.

Make things look nice

Make your report or project look extra professional in the Design tab! Browse different themes, colors, fonts, and borders to create work you're proud of!

Illustrate a concept with a chart or a model by navigating to the  Insert tab and choosing  SmartArt . In this example, we chose Cycle and filled in text from the writing process to make a simple graphic. Choose other graphic types to represent hierarchies, flow charts, and more.

Example of a chart you can make

To insert a 3D model, select  Insert > 3D Models to choose from a library of illustrated dioramas from different course subjects and 3D shapes.

Invite someone to write with you

If you’re working on a group project, you can work on a document at the same time without emailing the file back and forth. Select Share at the top of your page and create a link you can send to other students.

Now, everybody can open the same file and work together.

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Annotation Tips

Annotation, which means “to add notes,” is one of the key skills of active reading. By reading with a pen, pencil, or highlighter in hand, the reader can pause to mark important information, reflect on ideas, and monitor his or her understanding. This unit covers how to annotate different types of texts. It also covers how to make sense of visual aids, a common feature of many texts. Click on one of the areas below to learn more.

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Epidemiology Research Essay: A Guide with Steps, Insights, & Tips

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As a nursing student, one of the best pieces of advice you will get is to learn how to write an epidemiology essay. Although not so challenging, an epidemiology class can easily fall within challenging nursing school classes . We are here to change that narrative. Epidemiology is the scientific study of the distribution and determinants of disease and health-related events in a specific population. While these essays or research papers seem challenging at first, you will be on your way to getting a top grade on your paper once you get the hang of it. The following guide will exhaustively explore all the steps you need to write a high-quality paper.

Steps for Writing an Epidemiology Essay

In nursing or med school, you will be assigned to write an essay about a specific disease either of your choice or one that your professor or instructor specifies. Instead of panicking, we’ve compiled this step-by-step guide to writing an epidemiology research essay to help you write a paper that meets the rubric requirements. Our epidemiology essay writers find the entire process thrilling and rewarding, albeit tiresome. Having gone through the process endless times, we have mastered all it takes to write a perfect epidemiology research essay, and here are the steps:

1.   Pick a Topic (Disease)

Sometimes professors will ask students to choose a topic for their epidemiology paper. While this is exciting, it can become challenging because there are tons of epidemiology topics available, and you may need help to pick the right one. To make things easier, you must be clear about the topic.

First, you need to understand what epidemiology entails. Consider any topic that covers health risks for people due to genetics and environmental conditions. Make sure you pick an interesting topic that can lead to powerful results.

Related Reading: Steps for choosing the best nursing dissertation topic .

2.  Conduct the Research

You must have all the suitable material to write a compelling epidemiology essay. If your instructor still needs to give you materials for your research, start by doing the work yourself. The best places to start include organizations such as the CDC , WHO , PubMed , NIH , NHS , etc. You need to gather as much information as possible so that when you start writing, all the information flows well.

3.  Come Up with an Outline for Your Essay

To write a well-structured essay, you need to have a relevant outline. An outline will help organize your thoughts, which helps in creating a well-balanced paper. An example of an outline for an epidemiology essay would be like this:


Related Reading: Get over the embarrassment when you repeat a class .

This section introduces your topic, background data, and details of the research to the reader. If you are writing a paper about a disease like HIV/AIDS, share how it has affected people worldwide and briefly state how it is spread. Then show the aim of your essay. For instance, you can say: “ the following paper will provide a compelling overview of what HIV/AIDS is, including the social determinants leading to its progression.

Simultaneously, the essay will provide the epidemiological triangle showing how the disease is spread, the actions taken by the community health nurse, and the contribution made by the different government agencies…etc.”

Describe the Chosen Disease

Now that you have decided which disease to write about, it is time to describe it. The definition of the disease should be as straightforward as possible. Also, please provide what you think are the possible causes, common symptoms, how it is transmitted, complications, and treatment.

Moreover, include a demographic of interest (incidence, prevalence, morbidity, and mortality). Incidence refers to the measure of disease that makes it possible to determine the probability of a person being diagnosed with a particular disease in a given period. For instance, if five women are diagnosed with HIV from a group of 200 women (HIV-free) for a year, then the incidence of HIV will be 0.025.

Prevalence is the measure of a disease that makes it easy to determine a person's likelihood of getting a disease. In other words, prevalence is the total number of disease cases in a given population.

Morbidity is simply another name for a disease. A patient can have several morbidities. These can range from heart disease to cancer and so much more. Mortality is also referred to as death. The mortality rate is the number of deaths caused by a disease.

Still, in this section, say whether the disease is reportable. If it is, provide details such as when it is reported and to whom.

Write Down the Social Determinants of the Disease

Social determinants are non-medical causes that influence the outcome of a disease. These conditions influence health outcomes, including stigma, poverty, lack of education, access to quality healthcare, etc. As you list them, show how they lead to the development of a disease.

This section is crucial, as it will help understand where the disease is coming from and those likely to be impacted. For instance, if you are writing about infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, you can say that poor people or those with proper education are the most likely to get the disease. Some can be lured to engage in sexual activities with promises of money, food, and shelter.

Discuss the Epidemiology Triangle Related to the Disease

As an epidemiologist, it is imperative to understand the process by which a disease spreads is essential. They use a tool to help them understand how this process occurs. This tool is referred to as an epidemiology triangle . In other words, an epidemiology triangle is a simple tool for explaining the organisms that cause disease and the conditions that allow this to happen.

You should be aware that diseases such as HIV/AIDS spread from one person to another. An epidemiology triangle can guide people to understand how disease spreads from one person in a given situation.

This triangle consists of the following:

In the same example of HIV/AIDS, the causal agent is HIV. The host is the organism carrying the virus and transmitting it to another person. The environment is the social and economic factors that influence the rate at which the disease spreads.

You should also note whether any considerations are given to schools, communities, or the public. If so, please list them down. Also, mention if these regions are responsible for the spread of the disease through inappropriate behavior or practices. Show how all these people can benefit from measures that will keep them safe. These measures could be things like education, posters, and pamphlets.

Discuss the Role of Community Health Nurses

A community health nurse is responsible for encouraging healthy living, preventing diseases, and providing medical treatment. Research their role in case finding, reporting, data collection, data analysis, and follow-ups, and include them in your essay.

Additionally, say why the demographic data is essential. Demographic data encompasses all aspects of a population. This data helps in providing greater accountability and treatment measures. When done correctly, this data can help treat people of different ethnic backgrounds, gender, and age difference. These people can be treated with the correct data by considering specific demographic factors.

Point Out the Organization that Organization Helping Out

If an organization (s) addresses the disease you are discussing, please mention it. Also, mention the measures they have in place to resolve or combat the impact of the disease.

For instance, say how governments are actively involved in helping to find solutions to a particular disease. Include measures put in place by governments to support these organizations and society in general. You can list government-funded institutions that conduct studies to solve health problems. 

What are the Global Implications?

List down the implications for the disease in question. What is the mortality rate? Have there been any economic damages or social or psychological impacts? How do different countries address these impacts? Has it affected different cultures? Is the particular disease endemic? All these questions are essential and must be addressed in the paper. For instance, if you are writing epidemiology of HIV, you can say the implications are;

HIV affects people in every country, thus resulting in governments and healthcare institutions prioritizing it. Researchers in every country have been engaged internationally to study and find ideas to help manage the disease.

In this section, write down the summary of your paper. Say what the epidemiology has discovered about the disease in question. Also, add what government agencies and international communities should do to solve the health problem.

Remember that this is a concluding paragraph and should be a summary of what you have written. Refrain from introducing any new points or ideas.

This section provides detailed information about all the materials you used in your epidemiology paper. Write this section in a separate paper and ensure you follow the same formatting style.

Related Reads:

How to Format Your Epidemiology Paper

When writing your epidemiology essay, your paper should have the following sections: title page, introduction, body, conclusion, and references when writing in APA format

The purpose of an introduction paragraph is to provide the reader with a clear picture of what the body will be about.

A good introduction should summarize, incorporate and evaluate the collected data in a way that will set the stage for the body of the essay. It should also have the thesis statement of your paper, which is the main idea or argument in your entire paper.

If you want the readers drawn to reading your epidemiology paper, ensure that you have a catchy or thought-provoking hook statement or attention grabber.

Ensure there is also a logical flow of ideas to avoid confusing your readers. You can also signpost ideas so that the readers have a clear roadmap of the paper right from the start.

Related: Tips for writing an outstanding nursing class essay.

This is the longest and most important part of your essay. It contains all the main ideas and points you are trying to convey. This is where you guide the reader through all ideas, arguments, and points supporting your research topics. You must explain all of them in detail.

Related: How to formulate a PICOT Question or statement .

Use the insert page breaker feature in Microsoft Word to begin a new page when setting up your reference paper. Remember that the header and margins are similar to that of the body, and the pagination will continue from the body of your essay. The header and page number will also appear correctly in the reference section if the paper is set correctly.

To format your entries, include the following:

Other rules to keep in mind for APA format:

Related Readings:

Tips for Writing a Compelling Epidemiology Essay

Nursing epidemiology essays, just like other academic writing, must meet specific criteria to be A+ level. Follow these tips to avoid mistakes that could cost you a higher grade.

Writing an epidemiology essay as a nursing student can be challenging at first. However, once you have all the correct information and steps with you, it will be a smooth ride. Ensure you understand the topic and have all the right data before writing. With this in place, you can follow the above steps to perfect your paper. Also, revise and proofread your work to meet the required standards.

Related Reading: The cost of getting your paper done at NurseMyGrade .

Are you stuck with an epidemiology essay or paper? Do you need someone to pay to do your epidemiology essay? We can help. Our established nursing and medical writers at NurseMyGrade have a wealth of knowledge in writing epidemiology papers. It does not matter whether it is tough or challenging; they always get it right. The good thing, they use scholarly peer-reviewed nursing journals that are country specific. So, if you are an Australian nursing or med student, they will only use relevant Australian-based peer-reviewed journals. The same applies to our clients from Canada, the USA, or the UK.

We write 100% original, non-AI generated, and well-polished papers that can serve as excellent references for inspiration when writing your future nursing or med school papers. Trust us today and get top-quality papers. We also handle online classes for nursing students at an affordable fee. Just tell us, “ do my online nursing class ,” and we will reach out to you and figure out a personalized approach for mutual benefit.

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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - APA Style (7th Edition)

What is an annotation, how is an annotation different from an abstract, what is an annotated bibliography, types of annotated bibliographies, descriptive or informative, analytical or critical, to get started.

An annotation is more than just a brief summary of an article, book, web site, or other type of publication. An annotation should give enough information to make a reader decide whether to read the complete work. In other words, if the reader were exploring the same topic as you, is this material useful and if so, why?

While an abstract also summarizes an article, book, web site, or other type of publication, it is purely descriptive. Although annotations can be descriptive, they also include distinctive features about an item. Annotations can be evaluative and critical as we will see when we look at the two major types of annotations.

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward bibliography in that each reference is followed by a paragraph length annotation, usually 100–200 words in length.

Depending on the assignment, an annotated bibliography might have different purposes:

There are two major types of annotated bibliographies:

A descriptive or informative annotated bibliography describes or summarizes a source as does an abstract; it describes why the source is useful for researching a particular topic or question and its distinctive features. In addition, it describes the author's main arguments and conclusions without evaluating what the author says or concludes.

For example:

McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business.  Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting ,  30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulties many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a legal nurse consulting business. Pointing out issues of work-life balance, as well as the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, the author offers their personal experience as a learning tool. The process of becoming an entrepreneur is not often discussed in relation to nursing, and rarely delves into only the first year of starting a new business. Time management, maintaining an existing job, decision-making, and knowing yourself in order to market yourself are discussed with some detail. The author goes on to describe how important both the nursing professional community will be to a new business, and the importance of mentorship as both the mentee and mentor in individual success that can be found through professional connections. The article’s focus on practical advice for nurses seeking to start their own business does not detract from the advice about universal struggles of entrepreneurship makes this an article of interest to a wide-ranging audience.

An analytical or critical annotation not only summarizes the material, it analyzes what is being said. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of what is presented as well as describing the applicability of the author's conclusions to the research being conducted.

Analytical or critical annotations will most likely be required when writing for a college-level course.

McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business.  Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting ,  30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulty many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a nurse consulting business. While the article focuses on issues of work-life balance, the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, marketing, and other business issues the author’s offer of only their personal experience is brief with few or no alternative solutions provided. There is no mention throughout the article of making use of other research about starting a new business and being successful. While relying on the anecdotal advice for their list of issues, the author does reference other business resources such as the Small Business Administration to help with business planning and professional organizations that can help with mentorships. The article is a good resource for those wanting to start their own legal nurse consulting business, a good first advice article even. However, entrepreneurs should also use more business research studies focused on starting a new business, with strategies against known or expected pitfalls and issues new businesses face, and for help on topics the author did not touch in this abbreviated list of lessons learned.

Now you are ready to begin writing your own annotated bibliography.

Annotated bibliographies may be arranged alphabetically or chronologically, check with your instructor to see what he or she prefers.

Please see the  APA Examples page  for more information on citing in APA style.

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How to Annotate

Looking over the shoulder of someone writing on a notepad

Where to Make Notes

First, determine how you will annotate the text you are about to read. 

If it is a printed article, you may be able to just write in the margins. A colored pen might make it easier to see than black or even blue. 

If it is an article posted on the web, you could also you Diigo , which is a highlighting and annotating tool that you can use on the website and even share your notes with your instructor. Other note-taking plug-ins for web browsers might serve a similar function. 

If it is a textbook that you do not own (or wish to sell back), use post it notes to annotate in the margins.

You can also use a notebook to keep written commentary as you read in any platform, digital or print. If you do this, be sure to leave enough information about the specific text you’re responding to that you can find it later if you need to. (Make notes about page number, which paragraph it is, or even short quotes to help you locate the passage again.)

What Notes to Make

Now you will annotate the document by adding your own words, phrases, and summaries to the written text. For the following examples, the article “ Guinea Worm Facts ” was used.

Two circled textboxes. Left reads "Traditional removal of a Guinea worm consists of winding the worm -- up to 3 feet (1 meter) long -- around a small stick and manually extracting it..." Right reads "The best way to stop Guinea worm disease is to prevent people from entering sources of drinking water with an active infection..." A blue arrow moves from left to right, with blue text reading "Better to prevent than treat later!"

To summarize how you will annotate text:

1. Identify the BIG IDEA 2. Underline topic sentences or main ideas 3. Connect ideas with arrows 4. Ask questions 5. Add personal notes 6. Define technical words

Like many skills, annotating takes practice. Remember that the main goal for doing this is to give you a strategy for reading text that may be more complicated and technical than what you are used to.

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The Simple Guide to Annotations: How to Annotate PDFs, Ebooks, Images, and Websites

What exactly is annotation all about? And how should you annotate what you read? Here are the best tools for common document types.

Annotating a physical book---marking important passages, highlighting special words, writing notes in the margins---is a good way to tarnish it forever. Fortunately, annotations aren't so destructive when reading digitally or on the web.

The right kinds of annotations in the right place can help you remember more and be more productive. On the web, annotations are also valuable when you're collaborating on documents with a team.

But how do annotations help you? And how can you start annotating what you read in a way that isn't difficult or inconvenient? Here's everything you need to know about annotations in the digital age.

What Is an Annotation?

Annotation is a fancy word for "marking a sentence, paragraph, page or anything else." There are various markup tools you can use to annotate what you are reading: underline a sentence, use a highlighter, add a comment with an arrow, flag with a symbol, draw a shape around it, tag a Post-It note on it, etc.

The concept of annotation stays the same regardless of which medium you're using, but the tools available to make those annotations may differ. More on that later in this article.

How Are Annotations Useful?

When you mark up text, you are in fact having a conversation with what you are reading. So, an annotation is important for five main reasons:

Think of it this way: Reading is a passive activity. To understand and remember information , you have to keep track of what you are reading and connect it with the knowledge you already have. You also have to mark the parts which you don't understand so that you can come back to them later. In short: you have to become an active reader.

Your brain has to process information. The act of annotation is one of the most important but rudimentary skills that can help anyone, all the way from kindergarten to a PhD.

But remember one caveat: Annotations are most effective when done sparingly and with purpose. Don't underline or highlight too much.

How to Annotate an Ebook

Annotating an ebook is easy. All e-readers have built-in annotation tools. They are also supported by other note-taking features. Let's see how the process works in three popular ereaders:

Annotations in Mobile Kindle Apps

We have already shown you how to set up and use the Kindle Paperwhite . Annotating a block of text is a simple matter of dragging your finger across the text to highlight it. The Kindle apps on Android and iOS also follow the same method.

All notes and highlights can be viewed on the app and also on your Amazon Kindle account page .

Annotations in iBooks

Apple's default ebook reader gives you one of the cleanest reading experiences on its devices. The method to annotate text is similar to the Kindle apps with one minor difference. You can choose a different color for the highlights and add notes. But it also allows you to underline text .

Tip: Use the different colors to color code your annotations. For example, a pink highlight can be used to show a doubt or a query, whereas a green highlight can be for an idea you connect to.

Google Play Books

You can highlight and add notes to a book using your computer or the Play Books Google Play Books app. The method, again, is similar to the iBooks app.

How to Annotate a PDF Document

The good news is that most of the focus is on annotating PDF documents because it is the most shared format. Annotation is also a default feature set of common tools found on both Windows and macOS. Let's look at what's built in.

Annotate a PDF on Windows 10

Microsoft Edge became the first browser to allow PDF annotations natively. The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update brought in PDF annotation and with highlights and notes. The Inking feature also another key tool that allows you to annotate PDFs, websites, and even EPUBs. Though, inking works better on touch screens.

The annotation capability is just another reason to use the Edge browser as a secondary browser on your machine.

Annotate a PDF on Mac

The Preview app on your macOS is one of the underrated tools. The markup menu in Preview is one of its more useful features. You can use it to leave information for yourself or suggest changes to a PDF document while collaborating.

The Preview app has all the bells and whistles. You can even create, merge, and split PDF documents with it.

How to Annotate an Image

Image annotation tools are dime a dozen on the web. So, we won't cover them in great detail here. Any good screenshot tool would allow you to annotate the image. You can go back to Apple Preview on macOS and Paint on Windows .

Here are a few other worthies you can check out:

And let's not forget two of the best all-in-one free tools that allow us to annotate images and documents with ease: Google Drive and Evernote .

How to Annotate a Website

Most of our reading is on the web. An annotation tool helps you add context to what you are reading. Again, Microsoft Edge and its markup toolkit enable you to write notes, doodle, and highlight on webpages too. But there's a good chance that you do most of your browsing on Google Chrome. The browser lacks native annotation abilities, but there are enough extensions to fill the gap.

Here are some of the best extensions to annotate websites.

Tip: If you are on Firefox, then take a look at Firefox Screenshots from Mozilla that has basic built-in annotation with its screen captures.

Annotations in a Nutshell: Mark Up, Retain, and Recall

It's not enough just to start annotating everything---you have to do it in the right way for best results.

Science strongly recommends that you avoid taking notes on the computer. Use longhand instead. Even then, annotation can do the initial spadework for you as you gather the information. Then hand them over to your own processing and analytical brain cells.

For instance, I use annotation tools to slow the speed of my own forgetfulness . The web may deluge us with information, but it also gives us the tools to manage it smartly.

7 Strategies for Teaching Students How to Annotate

For many educators, annotation goes hand in hand with developing close reading skills. Annotation more fully engages students and increases reading comprehension strategies, helping students develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for literature.

However, it’s also one of the more difficult skills to teach. In order to think critically about a text, students need to learn how to actively engage with the text they’re reading. Annotation provides that immersive experience, and new digital reading technologies not only make annotation easier than ever, but also make it possible for any book, article, or text to be annotated.

Below are seven strategies to help your students master the basics of annotation and become more engaged, closer readers.

1. Teach the Basics of Good Annotation

Help your students understand that annotation is simply the process of thoughtful reading and making notes as they study a text. Start with some basic forms of annotation:

Assure them that good annotating will help them concentrate and better understand what they read and better remember their thoughts and ideas when they revisit the text.

2. Model Effective Annotation

One of the most effective ways to teach annotation is to show students your own thought process when annotating a text. Display a sample text and think out loud as you make notes. Show students how you might underline key words or sentences and write comments or questions, and explain what you’re thinking as you go through the reading and annotation process.

Annotation Activity: Project a short, simple text and let students come up and write their own comments and discuss what they’ve written and why. This type of modeling and interaction helps students understand the thought process that critical reading requires.

3. Give Your Students a Reading Checklist

When first teaching students about annotation, you can help shape their critical analysis and active reading strategies by giving them specific things to look for while reading, like a checklist or annotation worksheet for a text. You might have them explain how headings and subheads connect with the text, or have them identify facts that add to their understanding.

4. Provide an Annotation Rubric

When you know what your annotation goals are for your students, it can be useful to develop a simple rubric that defines what high-quality and thoughtful annotation looks like. This provides guidance for your students and makes grading easier for you. You can modify your rubric as goals and students’ needs change over time.

5. Keep It Simple

Especially for younger or struggling readers, help your students develop self-confidence by keeping things simple. Ask them to circle a word they don’t know, look up that word in the dictionary, and write the definition in a comment. They can also write an opinion on a particular section, so there’s no right or wrong answer.

6. Teach Your Students How to Annotate a PDF

Or other digital texts. Most digital reading platforms include a number of tools that make annotation easy. These include highlighters, text comments, sticky notes, mark up tools for underlining, circling, or drawing boxes, and many more. If you don’t have a digital reading platform, you can also teach how to annotate a basic PDF text using simple annotation tools like highlights or comments.

7. Make It Fun!

The more creative you get with annotation, the more engaged your students will be. So have some fun with it!

Annotation Activity: Create a dice game where students have to find concepts and annotate them based on the number they roll. For example, 1 = Circle and define a word you don’t know, 2 = Underline a main character, 3 = Highlight the setting, etc.

Teaching students how to annotate gives them an invaluable tool for actively engaging with a text. It helps them think more critically, it increases retention, and it instills confidence in their ability to analyze more complex texts.

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  1. Annotating an article, Article writing, Annotation example

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  2. How To Annotate An Article College

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  3. How To Annotate Example

    how to annotate an article on word

  4. How To Annotate Example

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  5. Annotated Bibliography

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  6. How To Annotate A Poem

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  1. Microsoft Word Flow


  3. How do you annotate an online article?

  4. annotating word problems

  5. MS-Word Skills

  6. Becoming an Active Reader (breaking passive reading habits & understanding the process of reading)


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  2. How to Annotate in Word

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  3. 3 Ways to Annotate an Article

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    Annotating a Journal Article About Transcript Handouts Annotations Learn about the different types of academic journal articles and how to annotate them. Video Transcript Video Reference Guide The following text was sampled in this video: Rufai, Ahmed Umar, Ab Rahim Bin Bakar, and Abdullah Bin Mat Rashid.

  5. How To Annotate on Word (Plus Reasons To Learn)

    Here are some steps for how to annotate a Word document using comments: 1. Open the document you want to annotate To begin annotating, open the Word document you want to review. You can use the same actions for this step as when using "Track Changes" to annotate a document.

  6. Annotating Texts

    How do you annotate? Summarize key points in your own words. Use headers and words in bold to guide you Look for main ideas, arguments, and points of evidence Notice how the text organizes itself. Chronological order? Idea trees? Etc. Circle key concepts and phrases What words would it be helpful to look-up at the end?

  7. How To Annotate An Article Effectively [Tips + Tools]

    Annotating is about drawing attention to specific words, phrases, or themes in the article. There are three main methods of annotation: Highlighting Tagging Adding comments. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Highlighting When highlighting, you add color to specific word s or phrases.

  8. How to Annotate Texts

    Annotating a Text (Hunter College) This resource is designed for college students and shows how to annotate a scholarly article using highlighting, paraphrase, a descriptive outline, and a two-margin approach. It ends with a sample passage marked up using the strategies provided.

  9. What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

    MLA style. In an MLA style annotated bibliography, the Works Cited entry and the annotation are both double-spaced and left-aligned.. The Works Cited entry has a hanging indent. The annotation itself is indented 1 inch (twice as far as the hanging indent). If there are two or more paragraphs in the annotation, the first line of each paragraph is indented an additional half-inch, but not if ...

  10. Best Tips on How to Annotate an Article

    Let's summarize what you need to do, to annotate an article: Read through the text once. Don't make major notes, mark unfamiliar concepts or words only. Mark the key ideas. Read the article once again. Prepare to make written notes, or choose an online tool to help you.

  11. 5 Ways to Annotate

    How to Annotate Download Article methods Sample Annotations 1 Highlighting Important Information 2 Taking Notes + Show 2 more... Other Sections Questions & Answers Video References Article Summary Co-authored by Alexander Peterman, MA and Hannah Madden Last Updated: December 9, 2022 References

  12. English Composition I

    To summarize how you will annotate text: 1. Identify the BIG IDEA 2. Underline topic sentences or main ideas 3. Connect ideas with arrows 4. Ask questions 5. Add personal notes 6. Define technical words Like many skills, annotating takes practice.

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    Annotation, which means "to add notes," is one of the key skills of active reading. By reading with a pen, pencil, or highlighter in hand, the reader can pause to mark important information, reflect on ideas, and monitor his or her understanding. This unit covers how to annotate different types of texts.

  16. How to Write an Epidemiology Research Essay

    Title of 10-12 words reflecting the content of your essay, formatted in APA, AMA, or Harvard referencing styles. Write and double-space the title, your name, and the name of the college. Create a page header and include the running head, which should be in capital letters. The topic of the essay.

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    Article abstracts are helpful in this process. Write the citation and annotation - When writing your annotation, the complete citation should always come first and the annotation follows. Depending on the type of annotated bibliography you are writing, you will want to include some or all of the following: The purpose of the work

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    Go to Ribbon > Layout > Margins > Normal (1-inch margins on all sides). 2. Set the font. MLA recommends a serif font (e.g., Times New Roman). Go to Home > Font and choose Times New Roman and 12 pt. Also, go to the Paragraph group and choose 2.0 for double-spaced line settings. Start the Annotated Bibliography 3. Choose the location.

  19. How to Annotate

    An active reading strategy for articles or textbooks is annotation. Think for a moment about what that word means. It means to add notes (an-NOTE-tate) to text that you are reading, to offer explanation, comments or opinions to the author's words. Annotation takes practice, and the better you are at it, the better you will be at reading ...

  20. The Simple Guide to Annotations: How to Annotate PDFs, Ebooks ...

    Go to View > Show Markup Toolbar or click the (sketch pen) icon on the top right. Use the selection and the markup tools annotate the PDF. You can use type, sketch, draw, use shapes, add notes, sign, and change the format for all. Click Done after you finish marking up the PDF.

  21. 7 Strategies for Teaching Students How to Annotate

    For example, 1 = Circle and define a word you don't know, 2 = Underline a main character, 3 = Highlight the setting, etc. Teaching students how to annotate gives them an invaluable tool for actively engaging with a text. It helps them think more critically, it increases retention, and it instills confidence in their ability to analyze more ...