3 Great Annotation and Markup Tools

A useful app to have in your bag of tricks is a tool for annotating images or PDF’s with markers, arrows and words. Being able to do this in one app on your iPad or iPhone that’s intuitive, simple and fast is a great way to visually communicate ideas, share feedback and collaborate with team members and clients. Perhaps you need to share a screen capture with someone to illustrate a point. Alternatively, you may have been sent a PDF document that needs some feedback, editing or comments. Here are a few that I am using at the moment.

Neu Annotate + PDF ($5.99 in iTunes)

This IOS app for iPad and iPhone is great for reading and annotating PDF documents. Annotations can be drawings, highlighting text, text notes, photos and stamps.  PDF files can be opened in neu.Annotate from any application that supports the “Open with…” menu command. This includes Mail, Safari, Box, Dropbox and many others. PDF files can also be imported using iTunes File Sharing, Dropbox, and WebDAV services.

Some of its useful features are:

  • Highlighting text
  • Adding text notes
  • Adding free-hand drawing
  • Adding photos
  • Inserting Blank Pages
  • Deleting pages
  • Importing/exporting from/to Dropbox
  • Duplicating documents
  • Protecting documents from modifications (lock/read only)
  • Grouping/ungrouping annotations
  • Aligning annotations

PDFs are a common format for sharing documents across platforms. If you only want to read PDFs, iBooks will likely meet your needs. But, if you want to modify or annotate your PDFs, I would recommend you try new Annotate + PDF.

Visit website

Blrt (free and premium accounts)

Blrt is a communication and collaboration mobile app that lets users talk, point and draw over websites, images and documents and record their actions.

Start with a website, PDF, blank page or image, then record and start pointing, drawing and talking over it. You can undo and redo while recording. Your Blrt’s become a conversation in the Blrt cloud that you can share with your team or clients. They can view it in Chrome or via their phone or tablet and respond in their own time. To access the Blrt’s you and any recipients have a Blrt account. You and anyone you want to share your conversations with can use this app for free with a 50MB monthly cloud upload, up to 10 images in a Blrt and up to 5 people in a conversation.

I miss not having the option to add text but this app is designed to be quick and simple with your voice recording added as you mark and zoom. There is a:

  • Pencil tool
  • Pointer tool
  • Straight line tool
  • Circle tool
  • Rectangle tool

You can also change the thickness of these tools, and you can hide the drawing tools if you want to get them out of your way while you’re moving around the screen, zooming in on different parts and talking.

For more information and pricing, visit their website

Skitch (free)

Communicate and collaborate with images using Skitch and its drawing and annotating features. With this IOS app, you can annotate any graphic file – it will open JPG, PNG, PDF, TIFF, EPS. You can add text, arrows, hand-drawn highlights, standard circle/rectangle shapes and it is easy to change the colour of an annotation, even after it is drawn, and there are several options for scale/thickness available.

This is a simple app with only a few tools in a vertical toolbar:

  • An arrow for pointing things out
  • A text tool
  • A color picker with a limited palette of just eight colours
  • A rectangle tool
  • A highlighter
  • A pixelizer for blurring out details
  • A crop tool

Skitch is simple to use. Just open up an image, annotate, and save or send. Effective visual communication.

Visit website


Add these apps to your toolbox and give them a test drive. Then when you next need to mark up something and share with a team member or client, you will have reliable markup tool on your side.

Caroline Siassios

About Caroline Siassios

Leave a Reply