2.9. How to enter and edit annotations

All annotations are entered either into the Inline Edit box or into the Edit Annotation box, which are accessed via the Timeline, Interlinear, Grid, Text and Subtitle Viewers. ELAN supports the following options:

2.9.1. Entering annotations (into the Inline Edit box) An Inline Edit box from a selection

  1. Select the time span in which you want to place the annotation.

  2. Access the Inline Edit box by doing one of the following:

    1. Either double-click in the Timeline Viewer on the selection at about the height of the tier where you want to enter the annotation.

    2. Or click on Edit menu, then click on New annotation here (active tier only).

    3. Or use the key equivalent ALT+N (active tier only).

    In all cases, the Inline Edit box appears, e.g.:

    Inline Edit box

    Figure 2.74. Inline Edit box

  3. Do one of the following:

    1. Press the keys CTRL+ENTER (without entering an annotation) to create an empty annotation.

    2. Enter an annotation and then press the keys CTRL+ENTER to save the selection.

      It is possible to enter text that contains line breaks. The text entry box automatically displays a scrollbar if necessary.

      The Inline Edit box is automatically preconfigured for the default character set of the tier. If you want to use a different character set, do the following:

      1. Right-click in the Inline Edit box. A pull-down menu appears that displays the available character sets.

        Select character set

        Figure 2.75. Select character set

      2. Click on the appropriate character set. From now on, the characters are entered in the selected set.


        If you are using a third-party keyboarding solution like Keyman, make sure to select the default system language as input language for the tier to be edited (e.g. Dutch if your system language is set to Dutch).

      3. To switch back to the default character set, repeat the steps above and select the default set from the pull-down menu.


        Only selections on time-alignable tiers can be saved in this way. To save a selection on a referring tier, see Section 2.8.5.

  4. Save the annotation by doing one of the following:

    1. Use the shortcut keys CTRL+ENTER, you can change this shortcut to ENTER in Preferences, see Section 1.3

    2. Or right-click in the Inline Edit box and click on Commit Changes in the pull-down menu.

To exit the Inline Edit box without saving, do one of the following:

  1. Use the shortcut key ESC.

  2. Or right-click in the Inline Edit box and click on Cancel Changes in the pull-down menu.


When annotations are created, they can be aligned with the video frames by setting it as a preference (see Section 1.3) An Inline Edit box from begin and end time

An alternative method to get an Inline Edit box is:

  1. Click a time that should become the begintime of the annotation.

  2. Press SHIFT+ENTER.

  3. Click a time that should become the endtime of the annotation.

  4. Again press SHIFT+ENTER.

An Inline Edit box appears on the selected tier. You can now enter an annotation and save it in the way explained above.  An Inline Edit box for a active annotation

To open the inline edit box for a active annotation, either double-click in the Timeline Viewer on the active annotation or use the shortcut key Shift+E.