I have been fond of keynotes for years (decades). I think they are a time saver, improve the drawings, can be helpful to bidders/contractors, prevent conflicts, and in some ways can act as a checklist of things to include.
The ideal system would have the same note number throughout the drawings for the same note, but would only contain the notes on a given sheet that apply to the work shown there. That note number would also contain the spec ID for the work involved. This automatically shows who is responsible and lets the keynotes become the specifications. An example would be "04810 - A: Modular face brick with Type S, concave tooled, mortar joints."
There are times when a lengthy note describing an assembly of many discrete items of work is useful. This doesn't lend itself to keynoting. I suggest a General Note, and simply write it out.
Another feature of the ideal keynote system is that you can save every note ever written in a kind of database for use on the next project. A checkbox includes it on this project.
The applicable notes need to be on its drawing. It is inexcusable to force all the viewers of the drawings to flip back and forth or find them in a booklet. If they are on each sheet then they have to be limited to only the notes that are used.
Meeting all these criteria gets complicated, particularly maintaining a database while using the database on more than one project at a time. But it is do-able.
If your $4,000 CAD program (plus $800/year subscription) can't do this, you have to wonder, "Why not?".
Following are some of the videos and information to be found on certain products. This is a couple of years old but seems to be fair. VectorWorks is the only program that has a real Keynoting feature. Revit comes close. After 25 years AutoCAD does not. ArchiCad relies on a third party.
http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=69bsbMWcnfE&feature=related (youtube video)
http://www.cadclips.com/REVIT9-KeyNotes.asp (This website has a video called "lesson 1." I would suggest not to watch it all because the first 8 minutes are very repetitive.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMclHaMbY98 (youtube video) Negative that I noticed: cannot edit Keynote "within" revit, must edit from text file.
http://tutorialspdf.com/autocad-architecture-2008-tutorial/ (This is a pdf that can be downloaded. It looks like there is information on keynoting within it.)
There is very limited information on keynoting for AutoCAD
http://www.graphisoft.com/products/archicad/productivity_improvements.html (version 14. By looking through this site it looks like there is no keynoting features, however once clicking on the add-ons page, I came to the next link which I also found similar information else where.)
The following two links are for an add on to this program called cadimage. It looks to have similar capabilities of the other CAD programs.
http://www.cadimageworld.com/products/tools/keynotes (This is a summary page of the add on which may cost $400+.)
http://www.cadimagetools.com/documents/Manual_Key%20Notes%2012.pdf (This is a manual for it on keynoting.)
Let me know in the comments what you think; and also if I have any errors here.
orig post date Oct 2012