Video 1 of Part 1: Introduction to the Axure 7 User Interface
In part 1 we will introduce you to the user interface. You may wish to skip this part if you’re familiar with v6.5, but there will be some useful observations for everyone here.
The first screen we have allows us to select a recent file, or create new. Let’s create new. OK, this is what Axure looks like when you fire it up for the first time.
First a quick UI summary: like many other design software you see there is a file menu, and toolbars, a working space called the canvas, and a number of option panels.
To the left you see option panels for adding to & manipulating the canvas, on the right side you will find options pertaining to objects populating the canvas, these are enabled/customized depending on the particular object you have selected at any one time.
File menu & toolbars
Let’s look at the file menu and toolbars first – I’m not going to be too thorough here, because there’s lots of duplication, and many features are best introduced in situ in their respective panels – but I’ll point out some of the important features you’ll only find in the file menu.
The duplication in the PC UI can make the software seem intimidating when you first open it. Much of this duplication is in the toolbars. For example, the ‘main’ toolbar, save, copy, paste etc is repeated in the file and edit menu.
The toolbars are customizable, so you can choose to switch some off, or move them around (unfortunately Axure doesn’t remember this preference after closing though). Personally I like to remove the rectangle and text formatting because these can be found elsewhere in more appropriate locations.
To the file menu, where you’ll find many familiar options. An important item in the file menu is the Backup Settings, and recover file from backup. You can customize the Backup interval, but it defaults to every 15 mins. Can be a life saver this one!
Find and replace
Find and Replace in the Edit menu, has also saved my skin a couple of times. It’s very powerful and you can run operations across the entire project. I worked in an organization where they wanted to manage all the copy in Axure, and it saved me many hours of laborious work a few times.
In the project menu has a border alignment option. To run through some history. Pre v7 Axure added border widths on top of the widgets width/height, which was a little confusing because I think most users expected the width/height specifications reported to be accurate irrespective of the border settings you applied. They have updated this for v7, with the ability to switch back to the old way if you’re more comfortable with this.
Alignment is duplicated within the toolbar too. The grids and guides are found in the Arrange menu, as well as by right clicking on the page. There are some presets for guides that follow popular grids like the 960 grid. There are snap-to options, just like other graphics programs to help you with consistent spacing. More on this later.
Options for generate prototypes & specifications etc. This is duplicated in the Publish toolbar The Preview facility is what you’ll be using the most, I find this most easily accessed by hitting f5. There are keyboard shortcuts for most of the commands we’ve seen here..
Last in the menu, you’ll find there is good help under the help menu. The online training on Axure.com is top class, and the forum is really useful for getting answers to the big and small questions that aren’t covered there.
The editor toolbar contains the selection modes. You choose for your selections to grab every widget that is intersected, or by selecting Contained mode, your selection will only grab widgets that are fully contained by your selection area. The 3rd one – connector mode – is used to connect flow diagram objects, and actually bears little relation to the other two modes.
Next we will look at the individual panes in the Axure 7 UI. These panes can be minimized and moved.