Vault includes robust annotation capabilities, allowing you to add or reply to annotations in your browser. There are six different types of annotations: Image, Text, Sticky Note, Line, Link, and Anchor annotations. Each annotation has two parts, the selection on the document, and the note, which includes any comments you made, if supported by type. Limited annotation functions are available for video files. See Annotating Videos for details.

Annotate Mode

Vault loads the Doc Info page in Annotate mode if you have permission to annotate the document, or if annotations already exist on the document. To enter View mode, click the Hide annotations icon in the viewer panel. To return to Annotate mode, click Show annotations.

Annotation Tools

You can select different annotation tools to navigate within a document or to create annotations.

The Select cursor allows you to select content and then select the type of annotation to create from the context menu. Options in this menu will vary based on the type of content you select and your permissions. The Select cursor is available in both Annotate and View mode and is enabled by default when you first access Annotate mode.

From Annotate mode, you can also choose tools to create specific types of annotations: Comment annotations, Line annotations, Document link annotations, Permalink Link annotations, and Anchor annotations. While in Comment, Line, or Anchor annotation mode, clicking on the document creates an annotation of that type.

User Preferences

Vault remembers your selected annotation tool and re-selects it for you when you navigate to another document, log out and log in, or switch browsers. For example, if you select the Document Link tool and then navigate to a new document, Annotate mode opens with Document Link enabled by default. In addition, if you select content in View mode without performing a Context Menu action, and then switch to Annotate mode, Vault unselects the content and defaults the annotation tool to the user preference.

If you lose access to an annotation tool due to a change in permissions, Annotate mode defaults to the Select cursor mode. Using Link to Content from the Linked Documents section of Doc Info does not update your user preference for annotation tool selection. However, if you select an annotation tool in the Select Anchors: Select or create new anchor in this document window, Vault will use that selection as your saved user preference.

How to Add Image, Text & Sticky Comment Annotations

Text selections can be up to 200 words and image selections must be within the boundaries of a single page. Sticky comment annotations cannot be created over text. To add image, text, or sticky comment annotations:

  1. From the Doc Info page, use the Select cursor to choose the text or area on the document to place the annotation. You can also use the Comment tool by selecting it from the Select tool menu while in Annotate mode.
  2. If the area contains selectable text, highlight the text. Vault supports whole word selection only. If the area does not contain selectable text, click and drag to select an area for an image annotation. Single click (CTRL + click on a Mac) in an area without selectable text to create a sticky comment annotation.
  3. If using the Select cursor, select Create Comment from the context menu.
  4. Optional: Change the style of your text or image annotation by selecting from the styles drop-down menu.
  5. Type a note in the dialog.
  6. Optional: If you want to notify a user about an annotation, add a user mention by typing “@” and the beginning of their first name, last name, or Vault username in the Comment field and selecting from the list of users.
  7. Optional: If your Vault has tags, click on tags to apply them to the annotation. Admin users can configure tags.
  8. Click Save.

Vault cancels annotations when you click outside of an unsaved annotation and no input exists. If unsaved user input exists, you must either confirm to dismiss or cancel to continue editing the annotation.

How to Add Line Annotations

To draw a line on the document (line annotation):

  1. Open the Doc Info page and click View annotations in the viewer panel.
  2. Click the Select annotation tool and select the line cursor mode.
  3. Click and drag on the document to create a line.
  4. Optional: Click and drag again to create additional lines in the line group. You can also resize and move individual lines or the entire line group.
  5. Optional: Modify the color and width of the line using the options that appear alongside the cursor mode selector.
  6. Optional: Type a note in the dialog box that appears.
  7. Optional: If your Vault has tags, click on tags to apply them to the annotation.
  8. Optional: If you want to notify a user about an annotation, add a user mention by typing “@” or “+” and the beginning of the first name, last name, or Vault user name and selecting from the list of users.
  9. Click Save. Once saved, you can move the annotation to resize, and move individual lines or the line group.

Line annotations do not appear correctly when a page is rotated in the document viewer. Make sure you are viewing the page in its original orientation when adding line annotations.

Link annotations are made up of two components: links and anchors. Links and anchors are reviewed in Using Document Links & Anchors.


Vault notifies you when users:

  • Add a reply to your note annotation
  • Add a new note or reply to an existing note on a Favorite document
  • Mention you in an annotation

Vault only sends notifications for new user mentions. Vault does not send notifications if a user edits a note with an existing user mention.

Vault limits the number of notifications from a single annotation event, preventing redundant notifications. For example, if you respond to another user’s note annotation and mention them, that user will only receive one notification and one email. An Admin can configure the notification and email text.

User Mentions

When creating or replying to an annotation, you can mention another Vault user in your annotation to send them a notification about your annotation. While Vault allows you to mention one or more users, you cannot mention groups. You can only save an annotation if all mentioned users have View Content and View Document permissions. User mentions do not grant any permissions.

After you save an annotation with a user mention, Vault sends a notification and an email to the mentioned user. If you mention a user more than once in a single comment, that user will only receive one notification and one email. An Admin can configure the notification and email text.

Annotation Color Selector

You can select a color from the palette in the Edit Annotation dialog. Vault stores and uses that color for your notes, replies, and text highlighting until you select a different color. If your document role has a required color, your Admins have defined a color for you and you cannot edit this.

Text Annotation Styles

Annotation styles change the way the selected text displays on the page. To change between styles, click .

  • Highlight displays the selected text highlighted.
  • Insert underlines the selected text.
  • Strikethrough strikes out the selected text.
  • Revise Text shows a dashed underline and highlight on the selected text and automatically inserts the selected text into the note field.
  • External Link highlights the selected text and makes it an active hyperlink to the URL you enter.

Actions for Existing Annotations

Once you or another user has added an annotation, there are various actions available:

  • Edit allows you to change any part of your annotation. This option is only available to the user who created the annotation. You can edit your reply on another user’s annotation if your reply is the latest. Click the Actions menu to use this action.
  • Delete removes any annotation or reply. This option is only available to the user who created the annotation. If replies exist, the original creator can delete the original annotation, which also deletes any replies. You can delete your reply to an annotation if your reply is the latest. Once deleted, annotations are not recoverable. Click the Actions menu to use this action.
  • Move allows you to move your annotation. Click the Actions menu to use this action.
  • Hide hides the annotation temporarily. This action works differently from the show/hide options in the Filter menu. To show an annotation that you’ve hidden this way, you must reload the document viewer. Other users will continue to see the annotation. Click the Actions menu to use this action.
  • Resolve annotation () adds a Resolved attribute to the annotation. By default, resolved annotations remain visible. You can hide them using the Filters menu. You cannot resolve Link and Anchor annotations.
  • Reopen annotation () removes the Resolved status for an annotation.

How to Move Annotations

Annotations are attached to a specific location on a document. Click the All Actions menu and select Move to move an annotation. You can move annotations in the following ways:

  • Comment or Link Annotations with Text Selections: Moving the annotation changes which text is selected. Editing can also change a text selection into an image selection.
  • Comment or Link Annotations with Image Selections: Moving the annotation can move or resize the selected area. Editing can also change an image selection into a text selection.
  • Comment or Link Annotations on Videos: Moving the annotation adjusts the time signature and the selected area.
  • Sticky Comment Annotations: Moving the annotation moves the sticky note icon. Although you can’t create a sticky comment over text, you can move it over a text area. You cannot resize the sticky comment icon.
  • Line Annotations: Moving the annotation can move the line group to a different location on the document. When moving a line group, you can also add, remove, or edit the lines in the group.
  • Anchor Annotations: If you have the Manage Anchors permission, or you authored the annotation, you can move any anchor annotations that do not have inbound references.

After moving the annotation, click to save or to cancel your changes.

Viewing Annotations

Note Position Menu

From the document view, you can choose where in the viewer your notes display.

Notes display on top of the document rendition, next to their related annotation. You can drag and drop the notes to temporarily move them within the page.
Vault zooms out of the document rendition to make room for a sidebar within the viewer where the notes display. Notes align, space permitting, with their selected text or area on the document. Selecting an annotation brings the related text/area and the note into focus in the viewer.

How to Hide Annotations

If you need to add an annotation to an area where there are already multiple annotations, there is a shortcut key to help you hide all of the annotations quickly. Pressing the shortcut a second time makes the hidden annotations visible again.

  • On Mac: Use [Option] and [,]
  • On Windows: Use right [Ctrl] and [,]

You can also hide all annotations or specific types of annotations from the Filters menu.

Filters Menu

You can you use the Filter menu to show and hide annotations based on various criteria:

Show only unresolved or only resolved annotations.
Show annotations that have a text or image selection in the document, or show page-level annotations without a text or image selection.
Show link annotations by type - Document, Permalink, or anchor. Filtering permalink annotations is only visible in Vaults with linking to permalinks enabled.
Show annotations created by yourself, or show annotations created by other users.
Show only annotations with specific tags.

You can also click Filter Anchors to show only anchors that are used by specific selected documents. This option opens a dialog where you can search for and select documents. Vault will hide all anchors not used by one of the selected documents. To view all referencing documents, expand the anchors inside each link annotation on the document before clicking Filter Anchors. To filter out anchors that have no inbound links, uncheck Display empty anchors.

Vault remembers and re-applies most Filter menu settings for each user, across all documents, browsers, and sessions within a single Vault. The only Filter menu settings not saved are Hide/Show Annotations, Filter Anchors, Author, and Tag. When you view a document in annotate mode, Vault displays the number of annotations you’ve hidden with either the shortcut key or filters.

Bringing Forward Annotations

If your configuration allows this, you can bring forward link, note, anchor, and line annotations from previous document versions, dramatically reducing the effort required to maintain annotations throughout a document’s lifecycle.

How to Download Documents with Annotations

There are two options in Vault to download and view a document’s annotations offline. The first, the PDF with Annotations download option, is available on all Vaults. This option gives you a read-only version of the annotations. The second, Export Annotations, requires that your Vault uses the offline annotations feature.

To download the PDF viewable rendition showing annotations in the margins, navigate to the the Doc Info page or Library, then click and select PDF with Annotations.To include resolved annotations in the download, set the checkbox in the Download with Annotations dialog. Vault includes the annotation notes in the margin of the downloaded PDF. This does not include anchor annotations.

How to Download Notes as a CSV File

You can download a CSV file of notes for any document version that has a viewable rendition and at least one annotation. To download notes, navigate to the Doc Info page, open the All Actions menu, and select Download Notes. The CSV file downloads automatically.

Character & Placemark Limits

The following character and placemark limits apply when creating, editing, and importing annotations via Vault and the API:

Annotation Type Field Limit
Anchor Name 140 characters
Note, Link, Anchor Subject 32,000 characters
Note, Link, Line, Reply Comment 32,000 characters
External Link URL Length 32,000 characters
Line Placemark 50 lines

Vault automatically truncates any characters beyond these limits and will not allow you to place a 51st line in a line annotation.


Vault does not allow you to add, remove, or edit annotations on archived documents.

The following permissions control your ability to annotate documents:


Permission Label


Document Role


Ability to create, move, reply to, resolve, reopen, edit, bring forward, or delete note annotations.

Document Role

View Document

Ability to access the Download Notes action. You must also have a Full User license type to access Download Notes.

Security Profile

Application: Viewer Administration: Manage Anchors

Ability to bring forward anchor annotations, or move or delete empty anchor annotations.

Security Profile

Application: Document: Download Rendition

Ability to download documents with annotations.

Annotation Color Mapping in Action UI

Every annotation in Vault retains a record of the color value assigned at the time of creation or last update, whether a legacy color or a new color associated with Action UI. For annotations with legacy color values: Vault maps the legacy color to a near-equivalent Action UI color, and displays the annotation using the new color.