Spanless annotation

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.

The spanless sidebar

If your task contains spanless annotations, your window will look like this when you open a document (in this case, a completed document):

[spanless sidebar]

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.

Creating a spanless annotation

To create a spanless annotation, click in any blank region of the spanless sidebar:

[spanless popup]

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 anchor computation.

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.

[spanless editor]

At this point, you can select or create the annotation attribute values, or otherwise edit the annotation.

Operations on spanless annotations

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 and choose mode

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.