Collaborate for free with Annotate Attachments in Gmail

Not fancy or complicated, Annotate Attachments in Gmail offers a simple set of utilities to make collaboration easy.

Gmail users who collaborate with coworkers should check out the free Annotate Attachments in Gmail extension for Chrome from Framebench. The utility lets you mark on email attachments right in the inbox. It’s easier to do with a touchscreen but works pretty well on Chromebooks and other laptops with touchpads.

Markup for Gmail
Red marks added in Mail Markup with added comment. Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

Annotate Attachments in Gmail is not fancy or complicated; it has a simple set of utilities to make collaboration easy. Open up an attachment received in Gmail, right in the inbox, using the new icon that the extension creates, and mark it up as you see fit. You can draw freehand, add arrows and boxes to draw your colleagues’ attention, and add comments.

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The comment feature is where the extension really shines. When you add a comment anywhere on the page, a comment box appears with your name and avatar. When your marked response is returned to the sender (or the entire team), recipients can respond with their own comments. The text conversation created with Annotate Attachments in Gmail is appended to the response along with a link to an image of the document to show the markups. The original attachment is unchanged, as all interaction through Annotate Attachments in Gmail is strictly in email. You can have a running conversation with all recipients of the email.

Mail Markup comment added
Comment thread appended to Gmail response. Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

You can find Annotate Attachments in Gmail in the Chrome Web Store and once installed it's ready to go in minutes. To ensure that security in a comment thread is maintained, the app authenticates participants before it lets them in.

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Marked email can be saved as a draft and teammates can respond to it via the link the app appends to the response. The image of the marked attachment is sent so participants can see in place what the comments reference.

This extension does one thing and does it well, which is the mark of a good utility. It can add a lot of value for Gmail users, and given how most Chromebook owners are ingrained in the Google ecosystem it's a good tool for them.

Having visual input makes the collaboration effort more effective than simple email threads. Pointing out important information and then adding commentary is a great tool. Like previewing an attachment in Gmail, previewing and marking up an attachment doesn’t require downloading it first. Since it uses Gmail preview code, Annotate Attachments in Gmail works with most any document format.

Annotate Attachments in Gmail is free in the Chrome Web Store.

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