It’s hard to beat Google Docs as a collaborative tool. The fact that it lives within the Google ecosystem, is pretty fully featured, and can be used from basically anywhere has helped it gain fame against long-established competitors such as Microsoft Word. There are lots of ways to add annotations and feedback to documents within Google Docs, but if you’ve ever found yourself in the need to do it the old-fashioned way (with pen to paper) instead of the modern way, Google Docs has your back, too.

Google Docs has just launched a new feature called markups, giving you yet another way to add feedback to documents that’s a bit more classic. This feature enables you to add handwritten annotations using a stylus or finger on Android devices. Markups can be useful over regular annotations in Google Docs, including colleagues providing feedback on diagrams and reports, educators offering comments on student work, or homeowners communicating construction updates with contractors.

Google Docs Handwriting

To actually use markups, an Android device is required—we can’t imagine these would be very comfortable using your computer’s cursor. You can enter markups mode to annotate using pen or highlighter tools, hide/show markups, erase annotations, and insert suggested markups. On iPhone and iPad devices, users can only view documents with markups, delete them, or toggle their visibility. Similarly, desktop users can view, delete, and manage the visibility of markups. To check it out, it’s just as simple as selecting the tool from the contextual toolbar within a document and then drawing with a finger or stylus.

While this is a pretty neat addition, we’d like to see it on desktop too. While it’s true that making these kinds of annotations with a mouse is not ideal, there’s a lot of touchscreen laptops and 2-in-1 laptops out there that can be used as a tablet and could greatly benefit from having this. It’s not clear if this is in the pipeline for a later date, but Google, if you’re reading this, think about it.

The feature is starting to roll out now, but it might take a few weeks for it to show up for everyone.

Source: Google

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