MAT supports the notion of spanless
annotations, which aren't directly anchored to a text span.
The UI provides special facilities for editing such annotations.
If your task contains spanless annotations, your window will look
like this when you open a document (in this case, a completed
Note the blank region immediately to the left of the document
text. This is the spanless sidebar. In this region, you'll
create and operate on spanless annotations in a manner quite
similar to the text area.
To create a spanless annotation, click in any blank region of the
You'll see a popup menu very similar to the menu you'd get if you
were to swipe text in the document. When you swipe text, your
popup menu contains only the spanned annotations you can create;
analogously, when you click in the spanless sidebar, your popup
menu contains only the spanless annotations. Notice, too, that the
spanless labels are styled, just like the spanned annotations are.
When you create a spanless annotation, an icon is created, styled
appropriately, and placed in the spanless sidebar. The location of
this icon determined by its "implied span":
Essentially, spanless annotations are anchored if they can be;
and if they can't, they follow their single parent, if their
parent is anchored, and they don't contribute anything to the
What this means is that in most cases, a just-created spanless
annotation will be placed at the top of the document. In order to
facilitate editing this annotation, and so you don't have to go
looking for its icon, spanless annotations will automatically open
an annotation editor.
At this point, you can select or create the annotation attribute
values, or otherwise edit the annotation.
Once you have created a spanless annotation, you can click on its
icon in the spanless sidebar to obtain a popup menu analogous to
the popup menu for spanned annotations. From this menu, you can
delete the annotation, or edit or view the annotation. When you
hover over the spanless icon, it will highlight its annotation
attribute values, just as a spanned annotation would. You can also
view it in the annotation tables, and scroll to it just as you
would for a spanned annotation.
Spanless annotations also interact seamlessly with annotation-valued
attributes and choose mode. You can select attribute values
for such an annotation just as you would for spanned annotations,
either via choose mode or by selecting the appropriate
slot-filling menu gesture from the annotation popup menu when you
click on a possible attribute filler. Similarly, if you're viewing
an annotation which can be a value of an spanless annotation
attribute, you can select or create a spanless annotation which
it's a value of by interacting with the spanless sidebar to create
or select a spanless annotation.