7+ Best Annotation Tools of 2023 (FREE and PAID)

Photo of author
Written By Haisam Abdel Malak
Spread The Love

Annotation tools can be used for many purposes, such as research, study, collaboration, and sharing information. The use cases for annotation tools are endless. In this guide, I ranked and reviewed the 8 best annotation tools, along with my top 4 choices, so that you can pick the best one

The 8 best annotation tools are Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, Markup Hero,  Annotate, Filestage, zipBoardClickUpPDF Annotator, and Hive.


Free Trial





Adobe Acrobat Pro DC



1 User

Free 7-day trial

Best for individuals and businesses


Markup Hero



1 User

Free version 

Best for freelancers and businesses

Web, Windows, and Mac



1 User

Free version 

Best for individuals and businesses






1 User

Free 7-day trial

Best for enterprises


WordPress Pricing Table Plugin

Contact me, if you want your product to be reviewed

Annotation tools are software that helps annotate and track the changes in documents. They can be used for a variety of purposes, including reviewing changes, tracking changes, and collaborating on documents.

They can be used in a variety of fields such as education, business, law, medicine, and more.

Annotation tools can be divided into two types:

Textual annotation tools: these tools allow users to annotate texts by adding comments, highlighting passages, or underlining words.

Visual annotation tools: these tools allow users to annotate images or videos by drawing on them and adding text, arrows, and shapes.

There is a wide range of annotation software available on the market, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, so you must carefully plan and access each one to choose the one that best meets your demands.

Let’s get started reviewing the top annotation tools.

Comparison of Best Annotation Tools

Best ForFree TrialPriceDeployment
Adobe Acrobat Pro DCIndividuals and businesses7-day Starting 14.99$/monthCloud
Markup HeroIndividuals and small businesses.FREE Starting $4/monthWeb, Windows, and Mac
AnnotateIndividuals and businessesFREE Pricing is not disclosedCloud
FilestageIndividuals and small businesses7-dayStarting $9/monthCloud
zipBoardIndividuals and businesses15-dayPricing is not disclosedCloud
ClickUpIndividuals and businessesFREEStarting $5/monthCloud, Mobiles, Tablets
PDF AnnotatorIndividuals and businesses30-day Starting $69.95plus VATDesktop
HiveIndividuals and businessesFREEStarting $12/monthWindows, Mac, and Mobile
This table compares the 7 best annotation tools in terms of usage, pricing, free trial and deployment model

What Are The Best Annotation Tools?

The eight best annotation tools available are:

1- Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a powerful tool that offers annotation tools, PDF conversion, and editing features. It is a must-have for any business or organization that needs to produce complex documents or deliver reports.

PDFs are often used in business to distribute important documents, but they can be difficult to work with when it comes to editing them. With Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, you can easily annotate PDFs and make changes without having to worry about compatibility with other programs.

The annotations can be text comments, highlighting, or drawing shapes on the document with your mouse cursor. You can also add stamps like “confidential” or “draft” on top of the document.

This annotation tool doesn’t have a FREE version however it provides a 7‑day free trial.

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC features

Best for individuals and businesses of all sizes.

Key Features:

  • Add notes, highlights, and other annotations
  • Edit text and images in your PDF.
  • Compress PDF
  • Recognize Text (OCR)


Adobe sign divides its pricing into two categories

1- Individual:

Acrobat Standard DC

  • $12.99 annual commitment billed monthly
  • $22.99 no annual commitment required. Windows only.

Acrobat Pro DC

  • US$14.99/mo requires an annual commitment. Windows and Mac.
  • US$24.99/mo no annual commitment required. Windows and Mac.

2- Teams

Acrobat Standard DC for teams

  • US$14.99/mo/license requires an annual commitment. Windows only.

Acrobat Pro DC for teams

  • US$16.99/mo/license requires an annual commitment. For Windows and macOS.

Acrobat Sign Solutions

  • Call for pricing

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Pricing
Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Pricing

2- Markup Hero

Markup Hero is a fast and easy annotation tool that allows you to markup images and PDFs with arrows, shapes, and text. With Markup Hero, you can quickly annotate images and PDFs without having to download or install any software.

It is a web annotation tool that is designed to help content creators and marketers annotate and share their work on the internet. With this tool, you can easily annotate and collaborate with your team members in order to produce content fast.

They also provide applications for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome and support a FREE plan which makes it super convenient.

Best for individuals and small businesses.

Key Features:

  • Scrolling screenshots
  • Text, arrows, highlighters, icons annotations
  • Create your own team or invite other people to collaborate with you in real-time
  • Get notified when someone has commented on your annotation
  • Integration with Google Drive and Slack
  • API available


Markup Hero comes with 2 different plans

  • Hero: Free for individuals and up to 10 markups per month
  • Superhero: $4 unlimited usage, best for teams.

Markup Hero Pricing Plans
Markup Hero Pricing Plans

3- Annotate

Annotate is a web annotation tool that allows you to highlight, underline, and comment on any document. With its very easy-to-use interface and powerful features, Annotate that become the go-to annotation tool in the market.

Annotate is the best way to annotate PDFs. It’s simple, efficient, and easy to use. With Annotate, you can quickly and easily add annotations to any PDF document.

In addition to the annotation tool, it offers other features like document management, document workflow, and so on to make working with documents easier and to assist change your workplace into a digital one.

For all offices and data centers, Annotate adheres to the appropriate international risk management requirements.

Best for individuals and businesses.

Key Features:

  • Document collaboration
  • Document management
  • Native chat
  • Document annotation
  • Workflow
  • Integration with other systems


Annotate comes with a FREE plan for up to three users and 30MB of safe storage space. For other plans, you need to contact them.

Annotate annotation tool
Annotate Pricing Plans

4- Filestage

Filestage is one of the best annotation tools that lets you create and collaborate on videos, images, PDFs, and web pages.

The Filestage annotation tool is an easy-to-use, web-based tool that helps you annotate PDF documents. It allows you to add text, highlight important sections, and add your own comments. The tool is perfect for collaboration, as it allows you to share your annotations with others.

The reviewing features allow other colleagues to directly evaluate the material and discuss in real-time, eliminating the need to manually send them an email for evaluation. This will undoubtedly assist to accelerate the cooperation process and boost productivity.

Best for individuals and small businesses and it doesn’t provide a free version. However, you can have a free trial period.

Key Features:

  • Unlimited reviewers
  • One-click approvals
  • Annotations
  • Project dashboard
  • Compare versions


It comes with four different plans, none of which are free.

  • Essential: $9 / month / seat (For freelancers)
  • Advanced: Starting at $95 per month including the first 5 seats (For small teams)
  • Professional: Starting at $195 per month including your first 5 seats (For large teams)
  • Enterprise: For companies and no pricing information

Filestage annotation tool
Filestage pricing plans

5- zipBoard

zipBoard is a web-based annotation and visual feedback tool for almost all types of content. It lets you annotate on images, videos, webpages (static and live), SCORM, PDFs, etc. and simplifies your visual bug tracking & QA process for reviewers. With zipBoard, you can review all your online proofs on a centralized platform and get rid of the endless email chains and screen-sharing meetings.

zipBoard’s vast array of annotation tools lets you markup directly on top of your screen and share them across the team and stakeholders. It has an easy-to-use, simple UI, especially useful while getting feedback from non-technical clients and stakeholders which is often the need.

All of these without the need to create an account for the guest collaborators, letting you assign and prioritize the tasks from its dashboard.

With the traceability of all versions and changes and a clear designation of roles, zipBoard helps ensure confusion-free collaboration for all, whether you’re an agency or an individual.

Key Features:

  • Unlimited collaborators and projects.
  • The biggest range of annotation tools.
  • Provide your stamp of approval and sign off creatives.
  • Integrate the product into your ERP. API creation on demand.
  • Best in class sharing features.


zipBoard comes with 3 different plans and they offer a 15-day free trial in each of them. Team, Agency, Enterprise: Custom (Contact zipBoard)

6- ClickUp

Clickup is a web-based platform that enables its users to create, manage, and collaborate on projects.

Clickup is a web-based project management and collaboration tool that provides users with an easy way to organize their work. The basic version of Clickup is free for teams of up to five people.

The app has been designed for anyone who needs help organizing their work or collaborating with colleagues on projects. It’s ideal for small businesses, entrepreneurs, sales teams, freelancers, and more.

ClickUp has a long list of satisfied clients, including Samsung, IBM, and booking.com.

Ideal for individuals and companies of all sizes with a mobile/tablet app.

Key Features:

  • Powerful collaboration features
  • Annotate in real-time with others
  • Real-time reporting
  • Time management


ClickUp comes with 3 different plans.

  • FREE: Best for personal use
  • Unlimited: $5 / user / month. Best for small teams
  • Enterprise: You need to contact them. Best for many large teams

ClickUp annotation tool
ClickUp Pricing Plans

7- PDF Annotator

PDF Annotator is a PDF reader with many tools for annotating, filling out and editing PDFs.

PDF Annotator is a simple but powerful annotation tool, which helps users to fill out, annotate and edit PDFs. It also provides many helpful features to make the editing process easier. You can add text annotations in the form of text boxes or sticky notes, highlight text passages or draw shapes on the document.

PDF Annotator is easy to use and has many features that make it stand out from other annotation tools. It also offers a free trial so you can try it before you buy!

Best for individuals and businesses and only available as a Windows application.

Key Features:

  • Easy to use
  • Good annotation capabilities
  • Stamping
  • Adding custom images


This annotation tool doesn’t have a FREE version however, they have a 30-day trial to test it out.

  • Business: $69.95 excluding VAT per year
  • Education: $39.95 excluding VAT per year

PDF annotator
PDF annotator pricing plans

8- Hive

Hive is a project management software package with a variety of team-friendly features. Annotation is one of these functionalities, which allows users to collaboratively annotate and edit documents in real-time.

Hive is a project management and annotation tool that is designed to help you and your team stay organized and collaborate better. Hive is a simple, yet powerful tool that will help you manage your projects from start to finish.

With Hive, you can upload files, create tasks, plan your timeline, annotate documents, and more. It’s the perfect tool for anyone who needs to get their work done with minimal effort.

Key Features:

  • Project management
  • Annotation capabilities
  • In-App messenger
  • Proofing & approvals
  • In-App email
  • Automate repeated processes
  • Good integrations capabilities


Hive comes with 3 different plans and the most important is that it has a FREE version.

  • Hive Solo: Free forever
  • Hive Teams: $12 / user / month
  • Hive Enterprise: You need to contact them

Hive Annotation tool
Hive Pricing Plans

What is annotation tool?

The annotation tool is a software that helps to organize and manage information. It can be used for any type of information, such as text, images, audio and video. It lets you add notes or comments on the content in order to make it easier for you to find the needed data when you need it.

Leave a Reply