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How to annotate images on Linux with Annotator

If you work a lot with images on Linux but find the built-in image tools lacking, Annotator might be for you. With this app, you can add stamps, text, clip art, drawings, highlights, and even magnification to enhance the image. Here’s how to use Annotator on your Linux system.

Enabling the Elementary OS App Center Repo on Linux

If you want to use Annotator on Linux, you’ll have to install it as a Flatpak package. However, unlike most Flatpak apps, Annotator is not available in the Flathub official repos.

Instead, if you want to get this app working, you must add the App Center Flatpak repo. What is App Center? It is part of Elementary OS and is one of the ways that the operating system distributes its applications to users.

However, App Center is intended for Elementary OS users does not mean that other Linux users are left out. Thankfully, it is possible to get the App Center repo working on any Linux OS that supports Flatpak.

To get the App Center Flatpak repo working on your Linux computer, you must set up the Flatpak runtime. Setting up the Flatpak runtime requires a terminal window.  To open up a terminal window on the Linux desktop,  press Ctrl + Alt + T on the keyboard. Or, search for “Terminal” in the app menu and launch it that way.

With the terminal window open and ready to use, the Flatpak runtime can be installed. Install the “flatpak” package onto your computer using the package manager included in your operating system to set it up on your computer.

If you’re having issues setting up the Flatpak runtime on your computer, that’s ok! We can help! Follow along with our tutorial on how to set up the Flatpak runtime on Linux.

After setting up the Flatpak runtime on your computer, the App Center Flatpak repo can be enabled. Using the flatpak remote-add command, set up the repo.

flatpak remote-add --user appcenter https://flatpak.elementary.io/repo.flatpakrepo

Installing Annotator on Linux

Installing the Annotator application on Linux is easy, thanks to Flatpak. To get the latest build of this app going on your Linux system, use the following flatpak install command below.

flatpak install com.github.phase1geo.annotator

Build Annotator

While setting up the Annotator program on Linux is best done through Flatpak via the App Center repo, it isn’t the only way you can get this tool working. It is also possible to build the program from the source code.

To build Annotator from the source code, head over to the official Github page. Once on the page, there is information on how to build it for Arch Linux and Debian-based operating systems.

How to annotate your images on Linux with Annotator

To annotate images with Annotator, start by opening the app. Annotator can be opened on the Linux desktop via the app menu or by launching it from the terminal using the command below.

flatpak run com.github.phase1geo.annotator

With the Annotator application open and ready to use, follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to annotate your images.

Step 1: Find the open button inside the Annotator app and click on it with the mouse. Alternatively, press Ctrl + O. Upon selecting the open button, a pop-up window will appear on the screen.

Browse for the image you wish to use with Annotator and select it to import it into the app.

Step 2: Once the image is imported to the Annotator app, you’ll see a list of various tools that you can use to annotate your image.

To add shapes to your image, select the square icon. Or, to add clip-art photos, select the sticker icon. For numbers, select the “123” button. To draw on your image, select the pencil icon. To add text, select the font icon. To add a magnifier select the magnifying icon, and to blur a section of the image, select the drop icon.

Step 3: Once you’ve added your effects to the image in Annotator, your image will begin to take shape. If you need to crop your image, select the crop icon. Alternatively, you can resize it by selecting the resize icon right next to it.

Step 4: When you’ve finished editing your image, find the “Export” button and click on it with the mouse. When you select the export button, a sub-menu will appear. Look through the sub-menu for the format you’d like to use and select it.

Step 5: After selecting the format in the “Export” menu, a pop-up window will appear. Use the pop-up window to save your newly annotated image.

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