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Highlighting Documents in NowComment

Nowcomment offers 10 different highlighting colors that are split into two categories:

  • 5 colors for Private Highlighting that only you can see
  • 5 other colors that the Document Owner controls for Public (group) Highlighting... with a heat map capability.

Each color can have a customizable meaning, described below.

Your own highlights, both Public and Private, show as a background color for the text, just like highlighting on paper. The Public highlighting of others shows to you as colored underlines; mousing over colored underlined text will pop up a small window showing a breakdown of what meanings commenters gave to various Sentences.

Highlighting is done a sentence at a time by clicking on the Highlighting Icon in the light blue toolbar at top:

Highlighting Icon

to get the Highlighting Menu:

highlighting menu

To highlight text, click on the desired color (meaning) from the menu. This will turn your cursor icon into a multi-colored highlighter icon; you then just click on whatever sentences you want highlighted with that color. Highlighting in NowComment is much faster than highlighting on paper (and makes it easy to color-code text).

To change colors, click on the highlighting icon again and then click on a different color. To remove highlighting from a sentence just highlight it again in the same color.

If a sentence is highlighted in one color and you highlight it with a second color then the first color (and its corresponding meaning) will be lost; each user can only highlight a passage in one color (with one meaning). To undo a highlight just highlight it again with that same color.

You can temporarily hide all a document's highlights by clicking “Hide Highlighting” on the Highlighting Menu; this makes it much easier to read a heavily highlighted document. You can also turn off just some colors by toggling on/off the checkboxes on individual colors… or use the checkboxes on the Private or Public header tabs to turn all five on or off.

Double-clicking on a passage, whether in highlighting mode or not, will bring up the Add Comment window.

The Document Owner can turn off Public highlighting if desired when the document is first uploaded, and can later turn it on or off by accessing and then editing the document's Document Properties page.

Customizable Meanings for Each Color

Each color has a default meaning (e.g. yellow = &ldquoImportant&rdquo, red = &ldquoUnclear&rdquo). Each person can override his/her Private color default meanings by clicking the white “Private customize” tab:

private highlight header

to customize what each private color will mean for that document:

how to set meanings for Private colors

Only the Document Owner can reset the default meanings of that document's Public colors; that's done by clicking the “customize” link on the white “Public customize” tab.

Heat Map of Public Highlights

The idea of a heat map is to show how frequently group members have marked up each passage (only for Public colors!). The heat map will show a deeply saturated red if 100% of the users highlighted that passage, or show a 60% saturated red/orange if 60% of users highlighted it, and no color if no one highlighted it.

In addition to this frequency of highlighting information, mousing over a passage with Public highlighting will pop-up a tooltip detailing the breakdown: how many were “Important”, how many were &ldquoUnclear&rdquo, etc. (but only if others besides you have done highlighting).

Note that if all 50 people in a group highlighted the same passage, the color would be the same whether all chose the same meaning or if each of the five meanings was chosen by 10 members (but the mouseover would reveal the very different breakdown between those two results).

When the heat map is being shown you can't do additional highlighting, you'll need to turn off the heat map display before doing more highlighting.

Used informally (at group members' discretion), the heap map can show both the document owner (often an Instructor) and the group members (often students) how many group members are finding various passages important or unclear, and which passages group members agree with, or disagree with, or like. Used formally (assigned), you can in effect use it to take polls.

Last updated May 30, 2016

© Copyright 2018-2024, Paul Allison.
"NowComment" is a registered trademark of Paul Allison. All rights reserved.

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Quickstart: Commenting and Sharing

How to Comment
  • Click icons on the left to see existing comments.
  • Desktop/Laptop: double-click any text, highlight a section of an image, or add a comment while a video is playing to start a new conversation.
    Tablet/Phone: single click then click on the "Start One" link (look right or below).
  • Click "Reply" on a comment to join the conversation.
How to Share Documents
  1. "Upload" a new document.
  2. "Invite" others to it.

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