Zoom Tips and Tricks #4: How to Annotate a Document in Screen Share

Zoom Tips and Tricks #4: How to Annotate a Document in Screen Share

We’ve talked in the past about ways to share screen effectively and smoothly in a Zoom proceeding. But what happens when you need your Screen Share to do more than just show your document? What if you need to highlight, or circle, or make notes in real time as you share?

Our in-house legal videographers see this need all the time. Attorneys often rely on exhibits to have the witness testify with confidence — particularly in situations such as car crashes and other personal injury lawsuits. At an in-person deposition, it’s easy for the videographer to zoom in on the lane of traffic the witness is pointing to in a diagram, or the cracked sidewalk that they circle in a photo.  In person, there is no miscommunication.

On Zoom, this simple, ordinary practice becomes so much harder.  It often turns into the attorney asking the witness if they’ve put their cursor arrow in approximately the right place, and making a statement about the record reflecting where they’ve put the cursor. It can get awkward when the witness has trouble describing exactly where they need the arrow, or perhaps the witness isn’t too clear and the attorney can’t quite figure out what they mean.  It becomes a frustrating, time-wasting experience for all, and leads to a messy record.

However, it doesn’t have to be. Zoom has an option to make annotations to the shared screen that all participants can see, which can then be saved for future reference. It’s an incredible little tool that very few people know about. While we consider this tip to be of particular use to attorneys, Annotate has a wide variety of features that can be applied to many types of Zoom meetings.  Annotating is simple and can be extremely helpful in remote settings.



How to Annotate a Document in Screen Share


Start by sharing your document. The Zoom toolbar will move to the top of your screen. On the right side of that toolbar, find the little pencil icon that says Annotate.  When you click that, another toolbar will appear with options. You can add text, draw freehand, and more:


Annotate your document as needed. The other participants will be able to see what you are doing in real time. And don’t worry about errors — Zoom offers both an Eraser and an Undo button. If you want to save your annotations (such as in the case of a deposition exhibit, where it is helpful to retain a marked-up copy), click the Save button on the right of the Annotate toolbar. Choose the format by clicking the down-arrow next to the Save button. You can choose between PNG and PDF. The image will save to your computer.

We recommend trying out the Annotate options before your meeting, if it is possible, so that you can get a feel for the tools. The good news is that they are straightforward and operate like any other program on your computer, but like we always suggest in our Zoom tips, practice helps!

Happy Zooming!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.