Annotations on PDF or Docs

I would love to have the ability to assign annotations directly onto a pdf or a doc. Right now I hack this by converting the pdf to an image them use the show your work option to annotate.


Thanks for the feedback Joe! We plan on creating a premium annotation question type in the near future. We actually have a Chrome extension we use to capture all feedback like this to make sure we use every piece to help prioritize our development plans and inform our designs.

In general, we do not currently have a Feature Request category so you can post feedback in the “Uncategorized” category or submit it to us over the site:

We may create a category for feature requests in the near future if we modify the structure of our certification program. On a related note, as a Formative Certified Educator, you will receive opportunities to collaborate with other distinguished members to inform our designs (Ex: small-group brainstorming sessions). We can’t wait to engage in those with you!


This would be very useful in Science. It would give more flexibility to the type of responses we could have for a formative.

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I use the same hack, @JoeMarquez70, and I agree than an annotation feature would be useful. I teach English; I’m always encouraging the students to mark up their texts. Good idea!


Thanks for the feedback Claire! We note every piece we get!

Somtimes students complain that the image is too small for them to see on their devices. Do you ever have this problem?

I do. My workaround is to have the students use the Snipping Tool on their student computers, copy and paste it into Word/PowerPoint/ActiveInspire where they can enlarge the picture.

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Are you finding that they need to enlarge images that you add to a Show Your Work canvas or ones that you upload using the “Image” option? or both?

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It depends on the Formative, but I’ve had to do it in both cases.

If it’s something I’ve uploaded (worksheet, picture) I’ve found CTRL+(+) works some times and other times students want to draw on the picture (Snipping Tool) or have the pic in a second tab/window so they can still answer questions in the Formative.

We had some minor glitches with all the updates in March/April '18 and the images I uploaded into the Show Your Work problems were resizing themselves. The Snipping Tool was helpful when students were actively working on the assignment. After I had graded submissions for the day, I went back and simply deleted the old, resized picture and uploaded the original again.


Thanks for the additional details. We can definitely think about implementing a way to resize images.

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@tricia.mintner So we looked into providing a solution for students to be able to see images bigger (that you upload using the Image option and Upload & Transform feature). What do you think about just providing a full screen option for both? :slight_smile:


A full screen option might be the easiest solution for everyone. Easier to code (I’m sure) than a multi-sizing option. Great idea.

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Thanks for the feedback! Would this be useful for both the Image option and Upload & Transform? Which one is more important to you? As always, we would love to hear what others think too!

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It would most definitely be useful for both. :slight_smile: I would say the image would be more important. Right now the U&T already gets close to being full screen already.

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A post was split to a new topic: Follow Up About Issues

I recently received a Formative account for Hybrid Teaching. I would greatly love and prefer an annotate mode. Currently I would have to recreate a document or worksheet into formative rather than just upload and have the students write or draw directly on the document.

Currently, students can annotate using the “Show Your Work” question. In this short screencast I use a PDF which is converted to an image for annotation.
pdf annotation using “Show Your Work”