How to use Smart Annotations on iPad

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How to use Smart Annotations on iPad


Annotating on an iPad can be fluid and natural. (Photo by Pavel Danilyuk/Pexels)





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Apple’s Pages has a handy feature called “Smart Annotation,” which lets you switch between a tightly-formatted document and easy annotation. All you need is an iPad and, ideally, an Apple Pencil.

You can be paperless and still mark up documents freehand. To take full advantage of Apple’s hardware, however, you need to know how to best use its software.

How to add and remove a Smart Annotation

To create a Smart Annotation, first, open a document in Pages on your iPad. Tap the three-dot menu button on the top-right, then tap Smart Annotation.

Where to find Smart Annotation in Pages.

Where to find Smart Annotation in Pages.

Here, you can choose between several different tools, but the one you’re looking for is the annotation tool on the far right. When you select it, you’ll be prompted to “Add annotations to text with a highlighter or pen.”

Tap the tool again to choose between this or adjust the line thickness. You can also choose the color to the right of the tool.

Selecting and adjusting the annotation tool.

Selecting and adjusting the annotation tool.

Now you can highlight, circle, or underline words. This works fine with a finger, but an Apple Pencil naturally provides more precision. When you’re ready to return to word processing, tap Done in the top left.

Exit Smart Annotation and return to typing in Pages by tapping Done.

Exit Smart Annotation and return to typing in Pages by tapping Done.

To remove a Smart Annotation, simply tap it and choose Delete.

How to hide or export

To toggle between whether to hide or show Smart Annotations, go to View options in the top-left, then tap Hide Smart Annotations.

Toggle between hiding and showing your Smart Annotations.

Toggle between hiding and showing your Smart Annotations.

When exporting your Pages document to a PDF, you can check or uncheck include Smart Annotations to choose whether they appear in the output. Be aware that this setting doesn’t affect drawings.

Choose whether Smart Annotations are shown in the exported PDF.

Choose whether Smart Annotations are shown in the exported PDF.

Other formats, such as DOCX, don’t support Smart Annotations, so don’t expect your markings to appear in Microsoft Word.

Support on other Apple devices

Smart annotations will appear in Pages on a Mac, but you can’t create or edit them here. You can edit them on iOS, but they can only be created on iPadOS.

Smart annotations aren’t present in other apps, such as Keynote or Numbers, so they remain a Pages-exclusive feature, albeit a very welcome feature for paperless workers taking notes in the Apple ecosystem.



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