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annotation on article in Cronycle boards

How to annotate articles and online PDFs

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In our quest to make it easier for professionals and teams to make sense of information and curate intelligence from the abundance of content on the web, we have made significant improvements to the feature that enables you to annotate articles. Now, not only can you highlight and add your commentary within an article or online PDF, you can also add labels to your annotations see them in the board insights view, and extract them in many useful ways. 

This is valuable for several reasons, such as:

  • Highlighting an important passage to signal team members as to what information is interesting or critical to check. 
  • Extracting important quotes you may want to use elsewhere, for example while preparing a report, original content or when summarizing articles
  • Organizing key points found in articles using labels, building a structured knowledge base. 
  • Starting a team discussion about an insight, problem or question to help the team make sense of information. 

This tutorial explains how to annotate articles, webpages you’ve saved, and even text in online PDFs.

Annotate an article or web page

In Cronycle, go to one of your boards, or create one if needed. We recommend you have different boards for different topics of interest, customers or target audience. 

First, save a piece of online content, such as an article, onto the board. There are several ways to save content to your board: pin from Cronycle feeds, add a URL to the board, use the Cronycle content clipper or iOS application

Next, open the article from the board into the reader, and simply use your cursor to highlight the section of text you want to annotate. Several options appear – annotate, tweet, email and copy. 

highlight a section from a saved article and click on annotate
Add an annotation on content saved on a board

Click on “annotate.” Now the highlighted section is saved as an annotation, with a yellow background and an asterisk displayed to the right of the highlight. 

Annotate an online PDF

Note that annotations can only be added to: 

  • Online articles and posts, including LinkedIn articles 
  • Online PDFs. Annotations are not compatible with uploaded files, including PDFs you upload to your board. 

As with articles, you first need to save the online PDF to your board before annotating. If you want to annotate an online PDF, do not download the PDF first and then upload it on the board. Instead, save the web page showing the PDF using our content clipper, or adding the PDF link (URL) to your board. 

Very shortly after you save the online PDF to your board, it will appear and look just like an article. You can now open it and beginning annotating text just as you would with an article (see section above). Learn more about online PDFs with this dedicated tutorial

Enrich annotations

When you hover your mouse over the annotation, you’ll see a new set of options:

options available when hovering above an annotation

Click on Copy to copy the highlighted text to your clipboard. Append to Summary will add the highlighted text to the article summary and auto-save it (provided you haven’t reached the maximum number of characters). Extract as a note will create a new note on your board with the highlighted text in quote format, author if available and source. And finally, More will show options to share to Twitter or by email.

Now, if you click on the annotation itself, a dialog opens with even more options:

window with options for an annotation on online content
Options for an annotation

Label your annotation

Label the annotation to categorize information. You can type your own label, or use one of the suggestions – Markup (generic annotation added by default), Person, Location, Organization or Date. Only one label can be added simultaneously. 

add a label, from the preset defaults or type your own

Add notes to an annotation

Use annotation notes to add your thoughts or commentary to the annotation. This can be both for yourself (to summarize a key point, describe an insight, etc.), or for your team members. You can even add @mentions so others get a notification (provided they have enabled notifications for that board). Other notes can be added after yours. Each note shows the name of the person who added it, and the option for the author to edit or delete. 

Notes added by the team to an annotation
Series of notes added by a team to an annotation

Extract annotations

You can extract the highlighted text – usually an insight – in several ways to smoothly speed up your workflow:

  • Copy the text to the clipboard, so you can easily take the highlighted text to other apps
  • Append to the summary (what fits within the character limit) to help you get key points into the summary field which you can edit to get ready to be published
  • Extract as a note to create a new note on the board containing the highlighted text in quote style alongside the reference, and author when available.
  • Discuss on a Crystal to start a conversation on the board as a team (for Enterprise users only)
the extract options for an annotation

In addition, when you click on the 3 dots […] to the top right, you get the following options: 

  • Share the annotation on Twitter or via email. In both cases, the highlighted text and original link are added to the draft message. 
  • Remove the annotation, which removes the highlight but also any note or label added. If you already extracted this annotation as a note to the board, or appended it to the summary, these elements will remain.
share and remove options
Extra options for an annotation

View, use and export annotations

Once you’ve annotated an article, each annotation remains visible as a highlight in the content reader. The number of annotations is also visible on the board tile, with a highlighter symbol and a number.

footer of a board tile showing the count of annotations (2 in this case)

Annotations can easily be reviewed, with the highlighted text and label, in the board insights view described in this other post. You can switch to this view by clicking on the Content/Insights switch to the far right of the board menu. 

view annotations added to online content on board insights view
Insights view on the board

When you annotate online PDFs, this view is particularly useful for bringing forward the key points in very lengthy PDF documents.

Annotations’ portability

If you want to use these annotations in a report, battlecard set, analysis document or original content, you have two options: export your insights or publish notes made from extracted annotations. 

Export annotations to RTF or CSV

Both highlighted text, notes and the labels are exported, so you can use them in other applications and documents. To export insights from one item on the board, click on the three dots […] options from the tiles in the board view or from the insights view. Then select Export your insights:

Option to export insights from the board tile
Option to export insights from the insights view

We currently support export to: 

  • CSV – Comma Value Separated, to import into Excel, Google Sheets and other tables
  • RTF – Rich Text Format, to import into text editors

This insights RTF export option also works for rich text notes on your board, making it the ideal option to get content into Google Docs and Microsoft Word.

Window to export insights

Next, click on Export. A file will soon become available to download.

Exported insights with annotations in the downloaded RTF file, open in a text editor
Exported RTF file opened in a file editor

You can also export the annotations (with other insights) across all or filtered content from the board itself. To do that, click on Export from the board menu, then select the insights option, followed by the file format you need.

Learn more about exporting insights on the insights tutorial mentioned earlier.

The enhanced ability to annotate articles and PDFs will be a major time-saver for your team, making collaboration and speed to useable insights easier than ever before. 

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