How to Annotate in Zoom: Best Method for PC and Mobile

Discover how to annotate in Zoom, and bring your desired annotations to life; this article contains all the information you need.

Zoom, one of the most popular remote conferencing platforms globally, has seen a surge in its user base over the past month. It wasn’t designed to accommodate that many users in such a short amount of time, but in the end, it worked pretty well to keep customers happy.

Yes, there were security issues and interrupted Zoom meetings, but these were quickly resolved with the latest updates. So unless you’re picky, there’s practically no reason not to host your meeting on Zoom.

The ongoing global lockdown did its part, of course, but Zoom’s sudden surge is still largely due to the innovative features it offers. Today we’re looking at one of those useful little tools on the platform: the annotation marker.

What Does Annotate mean on Zoom?

A note can be an example of additional information added to text or an illustration. It allows viewers to have a deep understanding of the subject, while other contributors can bring their ideas.

Who can Access the Annotation Tools?

As you may already know, hosts have full control over Zoom meetings. Whether members want to allow or return screen sharing controls, the options are virtually limitless. So it’s not surprising that hosts can use the annotation tools with just a few clicks.

Participants can also use annotation tools, but only with the host’s permission. If a user wants to access the annotation tools, they should ask the host for permission and only proceed after confirmation.

Where can you Annotate in Zoom?

As mentioned above, Zoom lets you annotate the screen as long as you are using a whiteboard or sharing your desktop/application screen. Once you are in a suitable display, several annotation tools are available to help you present the elements displayed.

How to Enable Annotations in Zoom

Access to annotations works differently for paid and free accounts.

For free users

First, log into the Zoom portal and go to Settings. Then go to the “Meeting” tab and explore “Meeting (Basic)”. When you’re done, scroll down and select Annotation.

How to Annotate in Zoom

If the Annotation were previously disabled, a confirmation dialog would appear asking you to confirm the change. Click the Activate button in the pop-up window to confirm.

For paid users

Sign in to the Zoom portal, navigate to Account Management, then Account Settings. Then go to the “Meeting” tab and explore “Meeting (Basic)”. Finally, scroll down and activate “Annotation”.

How to Access Annotation Tools in Zoom Meeting

The method of accessing the annotation tools depends on the screen you are on.

How to Annotate in Zoom on PC


There is nothing else you need to do on this screen to access the tools as they are automatically placed in front of you. Select the whiteboard option on the screen sharing screen and get instant access to the annotation tools.

How to Annotate in Zoom

Regular screen sharing

Zoom enables you to share your desktop screen or any other application you use. After clicking “Screen Share”, select “Screen” or a specific application window to begin.

When you’re on the screen you want to share, click the Comment button on the floating toolbar. The annotation bar will appear at the top of the screen you are sharing.

How to Annotate in Zoom

Seeing someone else’s screen

If you have permission, you can also annotate someone else’s shared screen. If so, you need to click “Show Options” at the top of the window, then click “Annotate”.

How to Annotate in Zoom on Mobile

Due to the limited screen area, the options on mobile devices are very limited. Rest assured, however, that the basics are covered comprehensively.

Share screen

If you want to share a screen and annotate it at the top, you must first hit the Share button in the lower part of your screen.

How to Annotate in Zoom

Now select “Screen” and give Zoom permission to save potentially sensitive content.

How to Annotate in Zoom

Then tap the small “Annotation” icon in the lower-left corner.

Here! This screen gives you access to tools such as Pencil, Highlighter, and Highlight.


If you want to show the whole class something, nothing beats the old blackboard. To activate it, first, click the “Share” button and select “Share Whiteboard.”

How to Annotate in Zoom

To view the annotation tools, tap the pencil icon in the lower-left corner.

How to Annotate in Zoom

All of the annotation tools (“pencil”, “eraser”, “highlighter”, etc.) appear on the screen. Tap the select icon to view more options, such as Smart Recognition, Save to Album, and New Whiteboard.

The Most Useful Annotation Tools You Should Know

As you can see, there are tons of annotation tools available for different purposes.

  • Mouse – Click to turn off the annotation tools and switch to the mouse pointer.
  • Select – Click to select, move, or resize the inserted annotations. This option is only available when sharing your screen.
  • Text: Insert text.
  • Draw: Click to draw on the screen. The tools range from lines to predefined arrows/shapes.
  • Spotlight – click to change the pointer to a headlight or arrow. This option is only available when sharing your screen.
  • Save: This option allows you to take a screenshot with all the annotations. This is especially useful when revising.

Turn off annotations for attendees

If you don’t want your attendees to comment, you can do so by following the following steps:

For Free Zoom users

First, log in to your Zoom account and go to “Settings”. Now go to “Meetings (Basic)” in the “Meetings” tab. Scroll down and turn off Annotation.

Note that even the host will not use the annotation tools after following the steps above.

For paid users

First, log into the Zoom portal and navigate to “Account Management.” Now go to “Account Settings”. Then go to the “Meeting” tab and explore “Meeting (Basic)”. Finally, scroll down and uncheck “Annotation”.

Show/hide annotator names

When you are running a screen sharing session, you can show/hide the name of annotators.How to Annotate in ZoomPC

During a screen sharing session, hover over the floating controls of the meeting. Now move the mouse pointer over “More”. When a menu opens, click “Show Annotator Names”.

How to Annotate in Zoom


You can also view the name of the annotators on the mobile device. First, tap “More” when a screen sharing session is in progress.

Now go to “Meeting Settings”.

How to Annotate in Zoom

Finally, activate the option “Show annotator names” under “Share content”.

You can also activate Annotation for meeting participants via the same menu. Once activated, attendees can annotate any screens you have shared.

As mentioned above, Zoom’s annotation tools can add a new dimension to your online presentations, making them more expressive than ever. These tools are quite easy to use, and we are sure that you will enjoy trying them out. However, if you need help with Zoom annotations, please let us know using the comments box below.

Leave a Comment