Creating annotations using only your keyboard

Creating annotations using only your keyboard2021-09-17T14:34:46-07:00
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1. Activate Hypothesis and log in (unless you’re using the LMS app)

Users of our LMS app can skip this step, as Hypothesis will automatically be activated over web pages and documents.

Other users will need to activate Hypothesis over a web page or document in their browser and log in to the Hypothesis sidebar before proceeding.

2. Make a text selection

Your browser, operating system, or assistive technology tool should have a built-in way to select text on a page or document using only the keyboard or voice commands, as this function is needed for actions like copy and paste. We’ll point to some browser-based solutions, but if you already have a way of doing this, skip to Step 3.

For users of Chrome

Follow these instructions for installing and using Caret Browsing, an accessibility tool built by the Chrome team. When the extension is active, you’ll be able to navigate the text in your browser using just your keyboard and use Shift + arrow key to select some text.

For users of Firefox

Follow these instructions for turning on cursor key navigation in Firefox. Once you’ve enabled cursor key navigation, you’ll be able to navigate the text in your browser using just your keyboard and use Shift + arrow key to select some text.

For users of Safari

Follow these instructions for selecting text using VoiceOver and Mac keyboard shortcuts.

For users of other browsers and/or assistive technology tools

Consult the documentation for your browser and/or assistive technology tool to learn how to select text using only your keyboard. Note that NVDA users will need to use Focus Mode and JAWS users will need to use Forms Mode to select text for annotation.

3. Use the “a” or “h” keyboard shortcut

Once you have selected text, you can press a or h on your keyboard to create an annotation or highlight, respectively.

The a key will create an annotation and bring the browser’s focus to the annotation editor so you can add a note to your annotation.

The h key will create a highlight and will not move focus to the annotation sidebar.

Tip: We have a help article which explains the differences between a highlight and an annotation.

4. Format and post your annotation

Once you have selected text on the page and used our a keyboard shortcut, your browser’s focus will shift to a text box in the Hypothesis sidebar. Here you’ll be able to type a note to accompany your text selection. For information on formatting, read our help article: Formatting Annotations with Markdown.

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