How To Use the Annotations Feature in Youtube

Youtube is the Internet's leader in video sharing. It was the first website of its kind and when it was introduced in 2006 it was called the best invention of that year. For most people it is their default internet video site. Part of the reason that they remain so popular is that they manage to keep on top of cutting edge technology. An example of this is their fairly new and unique annotations feature that allows videos to be interactive with viewers.

What are Annotations

Annotations are used to create interactivity between the video and the viewer. With annotations you can add some background information about your videos, link to related videos and create stories with multiple possibilities allowing the viewer to choose where it goes.

Choose a Video to Add Annotations To

The first step in adding annotations to work is choosing the video to add them to. Go to and log into your account. Click on your user name on the top right corner and choose "My Videos." A list of the videos you uploaded during your time at Youtube will appear. Click on the video that you wish to work with.

How to Create Annotations

With your video now opened on its page you will see a tool bar on the top of the page called "Edit Video." One of the options on this tool bar is "Annotations." Click on it. The Annotations Editor will open.

Play your video and find the moment where you would like your annotation to appear. At the bottom left of the screen should be a widget that has a '+' sign in between '<' '>' these icons. Click on it.

A menu pops up with four types of annotations that you can choose from.

Different Annotations

Speech Bubbles: These are used for creating speech bubbles that pop up with text in them. You can also create links to other Youtube videos in the speech bubble.

Notes: These create pop up boxes that contain text. You also have the ability to link to other Youtube videos with this annotation.

Spotlights: This will highlight areas of your video. When a user moves the mouse over these area text that you created will appear. In addition to text you can also use this annotation to link to other Youtube videos.

Video Pauses: This will pause your video for a length of time that you choose.

Editing Annotations

The annotations you create are not permanent and can always be edited. Or, if your annotations have spun out of control you can always delete them and then start from scratch.

Creative Possibilities

The first time there was something similar to annotations was in music videos about ten years ago. Trivia would pop up. This kind of style was also used on the hit TV show "Lost" to fill viewers in on the little details they might have missed in a previous episode. What makes Youtube Annotations really unique is that you can link to other videos. This allows creators to make stories with endless possibilities where the viewer decides what happens.

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