Hypothes.is : User guide

Hypothes.is is an online annotation tool, which can now be activated on the OpenEdition Books platform by publishers who wish to use it. This guide aims to support users as you learn to use the tool. To learn more about the annotation service, visit this page: https://www.openedition.org/22530

When the tool is enabled on a web page, a sidebar appears on the right side of the screen.

On this sidebar, three icons are available (arranged vertically):

  • The first icon, an arrow, opens the menu. By clicking on this, you will access all the tool’s features. Click again on the arrow to minimize the menu.
  • The second icon (an eye) hides the highlights that appear in the text when annotations are made.
  • The third icon is used to create a page note (or an annotation if a passage of text is selected beforehand).

Once the menu is open, three main blocks appear.

First block:

This first block contains the different annotation layers enabled on the web page. In the example above, we are in the “Public” layer on Hypothes.is. But you can also create and select private groups.

Be careful – there are several layers of annotation and it is important to check that you have selected the correct one. To select the annotation groups, click in the drop-down menu.

Second block:

These are the Hypothes.is instructions. If they bother you, you can hide them by clicking on the cross in the top right of the block.

Third block :

This contains the list of annotations and page notes. The superscript shows the number of annotations and notes that have been published. Click on “Annotations” to make the annotations appear and click on “Page notes” to make the notes appear.

Register and connect

Users must have an account to be able to annotate. To create a user account, simply go to this link: https://hypothes.is/signup. Fill in the three fields requested and accept the conditions of use. Hypothes.is then sends an email to activate the new account.

Here is the procedure to follow to connect:

  • Go to the web page you wish to annotate.
  • Open the drop-down menu (click on the arrow icon in the sidebar).
  • Click on “Log In”, enter your username and password and validate.

Once the identification is successful (the “Profile” icon appears), you can start annotating.


  • Select the passage of the text to annotate by “clicking and dragging” it.
  • When a piece of text is selected, two icons appear. The one on the right, “Highlight”, allows highlighting (this action is only visible in private mode). The one on the left, “Annotate”, allows you to create an annotation. Click on it.
  • Once you click, the annotation editor opens.

Publish an annotation

Enter the content of the annotation in the text block. This text can be edited thanks to several icons which allow you (in the order of the display options) to: write in bold; write in italics; insert a quote; insert a link; insert an image; insert a mathematical formula; insert a numbered list; insert a bullet list. The “Preview” function allows you to view an annotation before publishing it.

It is also possible to add keywords (tags) in the “Add tags …” field. These are optional but may be useful for managing annotations on the Hypothes.is site. In the previous example, the keyword “test” has been added to an annotation. To do this, we entered the word “test” and pressed the “Enter” key on the keyboard. Once the keyword is added, it appears as a label under the annotation. You can add multiple keywords.

The last step, which is required to validate an annotation, is to click on the “Post to …” button. If you do not perform this action, the annotation will not be published.

Finally, the icons that appear at the bottom right of a published annotation allow you to perform several actions: edit; remove; reply; share.


To respond to an annotation, click on the arrow icon (bottom right of a published annotation). A new text editor block opens. As with a standard annotation, you should: fill in the text, add keywords if necessary and click on “Post to …” to publish.

Users are notified by email when they receive a response.

Modification or removal

To edit an annotation, click on the pencil icon (bottom right of your annotation). The text editor block opens. Edit the text, then click on the “Post to …” button to save the change.

To delete an annotation, click on the trash can icon and confirm the deletion.


Each annotation has its own URL. To share an annotation, click on the last icon at the bottom right of the annotation (or the second to last if it is not your annotation). You can then share it on any of the following by clicking on the associated icons: Twitter; Facebook; Google+; email. You can also copy and paste the URL of your annotation. If a user opens the URL of an annotation, they will be taken to the passage of annotated text (and the annotation will open automatically).

Report an annotation

On Hypothes.is, annotations may be moderated. If an annotation seems inappropriate, just flag it by clicking on the flag icon at the bottom right of the annotation. Moderators will then be notified of the report and may hide the annotation if they consider that it does not comply with the code of conduct.

Add a page note

Annotations allow you to write a comment relating to a particular passage in the text. But it is also possible to make an overall comment on the chapter or book you are annotating by using the “Page notes” feature.

To do this, click on the document-shaped “New page note” icon in the vertical bar of the drop-down menu. The text editor appears. The procedure is the same as for publishing an annotation.

Hypothes.is dashboard

Users have a personal space, which is accessible on the Hypothes.is website. To access it, click on the “Profile” icon (top right of the menu) and then on the username. The user page opens in a new tab. It lists all annotations made by the user. It is possible to sort these annotations using the associated keywords.

In addition, you can consult other annotators’ pages by clicking on their pseudonyms (only the public annotations will be visible).

Finally, the Hypothes.is website has a search engine (https://hypothes.is/search) that you can use to explore annotations by:

  • Author: public annotations made by a user.
  • Keyword: Annotations labelled with the keyword you are looking for.
  • Group: Annotations created as part of a private group (if you are part of it) or an open group.
  • URL: Annotations made on a particular web page.

Image : David Schwarzenberg de Pixabay

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