Add Arrows, Shapes, & Callouts

Learn how to enhance your video and focus viewers' attention with annotations, including callouts, arrows, lines, shapes, blur, and keystrokes.

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Annotations Overview

Annotations are visual elements and text to emphasize, direct viewers’ attention, provide additional information, or cover up areas in your video.

Camtasia includes six types of annotations:

callout example of video title and arrow with text

Add a callout to display onscreen text, titles, and lower-thirds, or to focus viewers’ attention.

pixelate blur annotation example

Blur & Highlight
Add a blur to cover up an area or a highlight to emphasize an area.

arrow annotation example

Arrows & Lines
Add arrows to point out areas or lines to add visual elements.

Sketch motion circle and arrow annotations

Sketch Motion Callouts
Add an animated callout to give the appearance of drawing on the screen to highlight specific areas.

shape annotation example

Add shapes as a visual elements or to cover up areas.

Control + C keystroke annotation

Keystroke Callouts
Add callouts to display keyboard shortcuts mentioned in your video.

1. Add an Annotation

  1. Click the Annotations tab.
  2. Click a subtab to browse the annotations available for each type.
  3. In the Style dropdown, select All to view all annotations.
  4. Drag the annotation onto the timeline or canvas.

Note: Additional callouts are available in the Camtasia Assets. To browse these assets, select Media tab > Camtasia Assets subtab > Callouts > See All. See Enhance Your Video with Camtasia Assets.

2. Position the Annotation

The timeline displays the sequence of all media in a video. The timeline playhead displays the current frame in the video.

To position when the annotation appears in your video:

  1. Drag the annotation to where you want the annotation to start on the timeline.
  2. To edit the duration, drag the end of the annotation in or out. The default duration is five seconds.

The canvas is the video preview area. On the canvas, set the desired position and size for the annotation. Complete any of the following edits on the canvas to position media in your video:

Click and drag the annotation to move to a new location on the canvas.

Resize / Scale
Click to select the annotation on canvas. Drag a corner handle in or out.

Click to select media on canvas. Drag the center handle in the annotation to rotate around the anchor point.

The canvas offers boundary guidelines to help you snap objects to the edge or center of the canvas, or align with other media or annotations. 

  • Canvas Guides: The guides appear as you drag media on the canvas. Drag media until it aligns with the edge or center of the canvas, or other media guidelines.
  • Ruler Guides: See Align Media with Ruler Guides.

Edit Callout Text
Double-click the callout on the canvas and enter the desired text.

3. Customize the Annotation

Callout tab selected in Properties panel

  1. Click to select the annotation on the timeline or canvas.
  2. Click the Properties button to customize the settings available for the annotation such as color, text, and style.
  3. Based on the annotation selected, the properties panel displays the following tabs:
    • Visual properties tab Visual properties tab: Fine tune edits on the canvas with properties such as scale, opacity, position, and rotation.
    • Text properties tab Text properties tab: Edit the font, style, and colors for the annotation text.
    • Annotation properties tab Annotation properties tab: Edit properties specific to the selected annotation type such as style and color. For example, enter the keystrokes to display for Keystroke annotations or set the draw time for Sketch Motion callouts.
  4. To quickly change a set of properties for a consistent look, style, or brand across videos, select a theme from the Theme dropdown. See Build Your Color Palette.
  5. As you edit the properties, the canvas shows a preview of the changes. To learn more, see Discover the Properties Panel.

Tip: Save annotations for reuse.

Add a custom annotation to your list of Favorites or preset annotations. See Customize Camtasia.

4. Enhance the Annotation

Apply animations, transitions, behaviors, or visual effects to enhance or animate annotations.

For example, to animate an annotation similar to the example above, drag a Slide Right transition to the start of the callout and a Slide Left transition to the end.
Drag transition onto start or end of callout on timeline.

To learn more, see the following tutorials:

Get Inspired

Check out these tutorials to continue to build your skills and discover new ways to use annotations in your videos:

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