Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions2017-12-05T17:53:16+00:00



I’ve created my Hypothesis account. What now?

If you prefer the Chrome browser, please install our Chrome extension using the Install button on our home page. Otherwise you have two options: you can activate Hypothesis on a web page using our Via proxy, or you can install the bookmarklet by clicking the bookmarklet link on the home page.

Where’s my activation email?

Please check your email spam folder. If the Hypothesis email is there, please drag it to your inbox, since doing so will improve our score and make it less likely that subsequent emails will end up there.
If you still can’t find your confirmation email please send us a message to

How do I delete my account?

We’re sad to see you go! Please send a message to from the email address you used to sign up to Let us know if there’s anything we can do to provide a better experience.

How do I change my username?

Please send a request to



What are the types of annotations I can create?

Highlights, annotations, page notes, and replies. Please see our Illustrated Taxonomy of Annotation Types for details.

Who can see my annotations?

Annotations are public by default and can be seen by anyone using the Hypothesis client. Highlights are private, visible only to you when you’re logged in. If you’ve created a public annotation you can later make it private.

Annotations made as a member of a group are visible only to other group members. Group annotations can, as well, be made fully private.

Why are highlights private by default?

Highlighting is generally something we do for ourselves. We’ve chosen to keep highlights private to avoid cluttering pages enriched with public annotation and discussion.

Can I see annotations on articles behind a paywall?

Yes, if you have permission to access the content. Otherwise:

    • You can see public page notes for the article, and you can see public annotations that anchor to parts of the article that may be visible in a truncated version of the article.
    • You can see all public annotations for the article on the stream. For http:/, the stream URL is

Where are my annotations stored?

Annotations are stored in’ servers.

Can I annotate Google Docs?

Google docs “published to the Web” can be fully annotated. Google docs which shown in the editor can only accept “Page notes” Note that the URL of the Google doc can depend on the identify of the logged-in Google user. If the Google URL is of the form …document/d/… then it’s the same for all Hypothesis users. But if it’s of the form …document/u/1/d… in which case they may be annotating a different document than others. Signing out of their different accounts, or using google Chrome in incognito mode, or using the Via proxy should resolve it.




How do I get access to the code or talk to H developers?

Please read our contributor’s guide and our documentation Our code is available on GitHub and you can contact our developers on IRC ( on and our dev mailing list!forum/dev

Educational Use


How can I use Hypothesis in my classroom?

There are many examples of students and teachers using to engage in the classroom. Start here to learn more



Can I add Hypothesis to my website?

Yes. You can also embed the application on a page using our WordPress or Drupal plugins, or by adding a line of JavaScript. Please see instructions at



Can I get a copy of my annotations?

We’re working on a way to let you easily download all your annotations.



How do I install the Chrome extension?

Click the big red button at

What permissions am I really giving to the Chrome extension?

Read our blog post about the Chrome extension permissions.

What about extensions for other browsers?

We’re working on that. The next supported browser is likely to be Firefox.



Can I get an RSS feed to follow new annotations on a document?

Yes! You can get RSS and Atom feeds by URL, Tag and User. See more details here



How do I use groups?

For a detailed explanation of how to annotate privately with others in groups, please see Introducing Groups.

I’d like to limit the group I’ve created to named members, can I?

Not at the moment. Group membership is governed solely by shared access to a secret URL. More advanced group membership is on the roadmap.

Help / Tutorials


Do you have tutorials and/or a help section?

The help page linked from within Hypothesis is Other resources include tutorials and the Tips section on our blog.



What is the license on public and private annotations?

Annotations are published under the Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication. The CC0 Public Domain Dedication allows free copying, modification, distribution and performance of your contributions, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. We note that Creative Commons has provided additional public domain guidelines that we strongly support.If you use contributed content, please give credit and attribution and provide a link to the original source.

Annotations made privately or in a group are the property of the individual user (“All rights reserved”) and are ?not? in the public domain or licensed under Creative Commons.



How do I report abuse?

Send a message with all the details to indicating Abuse on the subject line. Please add all the relevant details (URLs, usernames and/or screenshots) and we’ll take action as soon as possible. Please read our Terms of Service ( and our Community Guidelines (



Does Hypothesis work on PDFs?

Yes. Hypothesis will work on most native (versus scanned) PDFs — that is, PDFs whose text is selectable.

How do I “reset” a PDF to make fresh annotations?

If using Acrobat, export to Postscript and create a new PDF from the exported file.



I’d like to see a particular feature on H. How do you know if this is already been planned?

Please check our Roadmap for a list of major features we’re working on. You can also see our work on our Github repository And you can see we what we’re working on currently on our Trello board. If you have an idea for improving the service, please visit to learn about ways to contribute.




Can I share annotated documents with someone who doesn’t have an account?

Yes! Everyone can see public annotations using the Hypothesis client. If you’d like to share a page of annotations with others, click the share icon at the top of the open sidebar. Note that users without Hypothesis accounts can read public annotations but cannot create or reply to annotations.



Hypothesis is not working on a particular page. What could be happening?

Here are some common reasons.

  • Conflict with an ad blocker or other browser extension. If you have other extensions enabled, try turning them off to see if the page in question works. If so, please let us know so we can investigate the conflict.
  • You’re trying to annotate a password-protected page using the Via proxy. That won’t work because unlike you, Via can’t log in to that page. In this case please try the extension (if you are willing/able to use Chrome) or else the bookmarklet. Both see the same page you do and can annotate it.
  • You’re trying to annotate content that lives in an iframe. When Hypothesis is loaded on a page that embeds an iframe, you can annotate text in the part of the page that surrounds the iframe, but you can’t annotated text inside the iframe. (Publishers: If you routinely deliver content in iframes, note that you can embed Hypothesis within an iframe to enable annotation there.)
  • You’re annotating a PDF and the message “Invalid PDF” appears. Very rarely, the JavaScript component Hypothesis uses to read PDFs can fail to do so.
  • There has been an error in the Hypothesis software, or a conflict between it and other JavaScript software running in the page. If you suspect or know that’s happened, please tell us the following in an email to support:
    * What you expected vs what happened.
    * Your operating system and browser.
    * The URL of the page you’re trying to annotate

The contents of a web page I annotated changed and my annotations are gone. What can I do?

Your annotations are safely stored in a Hypothesis server, but if the text to which they anchored has vanished, Hypothesis can no longer attach them. We are working on a way to display these unanchored (“orphan”) annotations in a separate section of the sidebar.

Meanwhile, you can find unanchored annotations in your stream. If the page that changed is, you can see all your annotations for that page at

The web page I annotated has moved to a different URL and my annotations are gone. What can I do?

Your annotations are, again, safely stored in a Hypothesis server. Publishers: If you are able to use a tag in the new page that refers to the original one, Hypothesis will coalesce annotations on both pages. Users: If you encounter this problem on a site, you may want to report it to the publisher and refer to

Why can’t I login to a website using Via?

That’s by design, it would be insecure to do so. Please try the Chrome extension or the bookmarklet. (Note that we’re working to make the extension available for other browsers too.)

I’m getting an error “Session is invalid”, what does that mean?

At the moment, Hypothesis requires your browser to accept 3rd-party cookies. If you use a privacy extension or privacy settings that disallow cookies, you may get an invalid session message. We are planning to re-work the way authentication in the client works in future to alleviate the need for 3rd-party cookies.

Has my problem perhaps already been reported?

You can see (and search) a list of issues we’re working on here

Via Proxy


What is the Via proxy?

The Hypothesis proxy, at, serves two main purposes:

You can use it to share an annotated page with someone who does not otherwise use Hypothesis.
You can use it to annotate a page yourself, if you’re in a browser that doesn’t (or can’t) use an extension or the bookmarklet.

Community, Privacy and Accessibility at Hypothesis