Marking up Mobile Photos with Annotable

Ever since Evernote abandoned Skitch a couple of years ago, I’ve been looking for a good way to mark up photos on my phone, which is a thing I find myself doing pretty regularly, either in documenting issues around campus, or communicating quickly about various issues.. I’ve tried a variety of different apps, but haven’t found one that’s really stuck.

I’d tried Annotable before, but it fell into the “interesting, but maybe not for me” category. Last month, though, Ling Wang released a new version of the app, and this one is really working for me at the minute. (I found out about the update from John Voorhees at MacStories.) The headline feature in the update is near-endless customization; for me, the new version handles text much better than the original version.

Annotable brings a lot of tools to mobile photos:

Screenshot of my phone with Annotable open

As you can see, it includes tools for cropping, drawing a variety of shapes, pixelating the image, redacting the image, and more. You might not want to use all of these tools, or to see them all the time (for example, maybe you only want to pixelate, never to redact), and you can turn each tool off individually. I’m particularly fond of the loupe:

iPhone screenshot

As I’ve mentioned, it’s good with text. It’s got five text styles and a lot of fonts for annotating images, and there’s a nifty tool for highlighting text in an image.

Annotable is for marking up images, not editing them, which basically means that it doesn’t alter the original image file. It feels quick and snappy when it applies these effects, so you’re able to send quick screenshots more or less effortlessly.

For many folks, the cost of Annotable will be an issue. It’s free to download and use, but almost all the tools you’d like to use are in-app purchases, either $1.99 a la carte, or $9.99 for the lot. If you spend a lot of time sending photos with notes, it’s certainly worth the cost. It’s a very thoughtfully designed app.

Do you have a preferred mobile image annotation tool–perhaps especially on Android or another platform? Let us know in comments!

Photo “Annotations” by Flickr user vickysandoval22 / Creative Commons licensed BY-2.0

Screenshots of a handout from an especially alarmist presentation about internet security for parents of high school students.

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