Collaboration is becoming more and more common today with many web apps and extensions making it possible for you to mark, edit, and comment on documents in the cloud. If you are not on the cloud and still pass around documents via Gmail, working on such files can be annoying as you will need to download it, make the changes, upload it again and send it for further review. Annotate Attachments in Gmail is a Chrome extension that saves you time by allowing you to work with documents right from within the attachment. We take a look at how this intuitive tool works.
Annotate Attachments in Gmail
Annotate Attachments in Gmail is a free Chrome extension that adds a Review button on the attachment that you receive in your email account. Before you can start using it, you have to authenticate it with your credentials. This is to ensure that a certain level of security and authenticity is maintained in the comment thread.
Tapping on the button will let you open up the attachment inside the email itself. At the top of the document window, you have options to expand the window, mark it up using a pencil, arrow, draw rectangles, erase a markup or add color to the annotations. You can also add comments and zoom in and out. Once the changes are made, you can hit the Save button at the top of the screen to save the changes while you are still in Gmail.
When you add comments to the document, it will show up on the document with your Gmail avatar and name. When you send back the document with your annotations, recipients who also have the extension can open it up in their Gmail account and respond with their own comments.
When your review is complete, the extension drafts a reply for you. You need to head over to the Drafts folder in your Gmail account and send it to the intended parties. All your comments are displayed in a textual format in the reply email. The reviewee can respond to the comments by clicking on the “reviewing the file” link at the bottom of the reply email. This will open up an image file of the document where comments can be replied to. When the updates are completed, the reviewee can click Notify and this will again place a draft in the Drafts folder. The file can be sent back to the reviewer for another check.
In this collaborative method, the original document does not undergo any change. Rather, the comments are displayed in a conversational style indicating the changes made to the document. Annotate Attachments in Gmail works with images, spreadsheets, documents, PDFs, and even presentations.
In my experience with the extension, I found that it took too long to open large files and it did hang up a few times. It could be that you probably need a speedy internet connection for smoother functioning, but my connection isn’t bad at all. It also might take a while to get used to the way it functions because unlike other collaborative tools where the actual document is directly worked upon, this extension uses only the preview image of the file.
If you spend time on collaborative activities in Gmail, be sure to give the Annotate Attachments in Gmail a try and tell us your experience.