Using Smart Annotations

A fairly new feature in Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iOS is the ability to add Smart Annotations. You can draw using the Apple Pencil or your finger and mark up a document. You can delete and move the marks you make. You can also view these on the Mac when you use iCloud to share your documents between devices, but you cannot draw new Smart Annotations.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Using Smart Annotations.

A new feature in Pages for iOS that was introduced this year is something called Smart Annotations. This allows you to draw on your Pages document. So let's take a look at how it works.

This is in beta and you'll see that when you actually tap the tree dots here at the upper right and you'll see it says Smart Annotations beta. You tap that and it turns it on. Now what you get is a bunch of drawing tools at the bottom. You can choose the pen type, choose a color, and then you can just draw in the document. I'm going to zoom in here with two fingers just so I could get closer to the text, and I'm going to say circle some text here. I'm going to use two fingers to scroll down and maybe I'll change colors and underline another word. I'll change colors again and maybe change the pen style to a marker there and kind of smudge out a word right there with three different colors.

I'm doing this all with my finger now. This is really meant to be used with the Apple pencil. I believe when you use the Apple pencil for this you can no longer go and do it with your finger after that. But it works just fine doing it with your finger if you have an iPad without an Apple pencil.

I'm going to hit Done and that exits that mode. Now I can still do things with the annotations here if I tap on them. You can see it's kind of hard to select them because it wants to select the text but you can tap and then you can hit Delete on these. So you can do that even though you're not in the Smart Annotation mode.

You can do other things in here. For instance I can use the Erase tool to erase. I can also use the Selection tool to select like that. Once I select it I can move that around. I can even select more than one and move that around as well. So you do have the ability to do some editing here. Also, if you exit from it you can go in here and turn off Smart Annotations which hides it. It's still there and you can turn it back on again. So you can kind of get them out of the way.

So this is an interesting tool. It makes marking up documents a little more interesting. If you're on a Mac you, of course, can't do this. There's no way to draw with your finger or an Apple pencil. But you can actually mark it up like this on your iPad or iPhone and then you can go and see these on your Mac. So you have the ability to actually show the Smart Annotations on your Mac. You can't add new ones and things like that. You can't move them around and all. But at least you can see them and you can actually, I believe, delete them on the Mac. You can't just actually add them.

So, if it's the kind of them where you want to sit back and look at the document you've created on your iPad, mark a few things up, and then go into your Mac, because you have the Pages document shared through iCloud, and then you can look at it later and see your marks on there. Or if you're working as a writer with an editor they can do it on their Mac or they can edit on their iPad and then you can then work on a Mac to see their annotations.

It's something to play around with and give a try to see if it helps you with writing. This also works in Numbers and in Keynote. So you have the Smart Annotations beta there as well.

Comments: 2 Responses to “Using Smart Annotations”

    11 months ago

    How about changing the pencil’s thickness? In your example, the green annotation seems too broad. It seems you can’t control that. Am I missing something?

    11 months ago

    Juan: You’ve got three choices there, the thin pencil, the thick marker and the pen in-between.

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