In this article I briefly discuss the possibilities of annotating your designs, with the option of quickly removing annotations when you don’t want to show them in your deliverable.
Let’s face it: Axure doesn’t have an quick and clean way to annotate your wireframes. This can be a pain when you are using your designs for different purposes:
1) you want an annotated version of your designs for functional documentation,
2) but you also want a clean non-annotated version.
Annotation is typically done with call-outs or “numbers in bubbles”.
In Axure the standard way to annotate your wireframes is using footnotes. Unfortunately these footnotes are very small and can’t easily be customised.
Option A – temporary delete/move
Unfortunately there is no quick and easy way to publish an Axure without your call-outs.
The best I can suggest is to temporarily delete or move the call-outs off the screen before publishing. Repeat this for every page you want to publish without call-outs.
Option B – dynamic panels
There isn’t the ease like layers in Photoshop. Axure does have dynamic panels. These work a bit like layers as you can quickly show/hide/move them, even in your clickable demo. But to edit a layer’s content you have to click around a lot (see demo http://screencast.com/t/mItXg1bqsg) switching back and forth between the annotation layer and the wireframe layer until the annotation is at the correct position.
If you go for the delete option, then you may also want to use the group feature of Axure. This way you can quickly select all call-outs at once (and then undo the change. Before you start, make sure to save your file as a different version, so that you don’t lose your original call-outs locations.
Option A or B?
I would go for either of these options, depending on the project. I usually just use custom annotations (option A) but then keep the call-outs in my click-demos. That’s because deleting them all just takes too much time. It might not be acceptable for all client presentation though.
Option C – footnotes
Other options like the built-in yellow Axure footnotes/annotations like this: are advanced but unfortunately not easy to maintain. They are also hard to read.
Hope they improve this in the next Axure release!