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Chapter 4. Headers and Footers > Working with Fixed Headers and Footers That Ra...

Working with Fixed Headers and Footers That Rarely Change

If you plan to use headers or footers in your document that might change, but you don’t need to change them often, user variables are the perfect solution. These variables fall under the category of medium-strength variables. You might have already had an encounter with these odd blocks of text and are not sure what to do with them, or you might just be getting ready to create one. Whatever the case, user variables save you time if you work with multiple-master page documents or if you are using one FrameMaker template for different documents.

The idea behind user variables is to create text that will be used in several locations of your document. Locations can include, but are not limited to, headers and footers. After a user variable is defined and inserted in several places, if you then change the user variable definition, all occurrences of that user variable automatically update to include and display the new information.

This is an excellent solution for document titles that are displayed in headers. When you use the same template for a new document set, just change the user variable to a new document title. That’s it!

To get a better idea of how to work with user variables, you need to take a deeper look into them.

Planning for User Variables

A user variable consists of two major components, which you have to keep in mind when you plan for this type of variable:

  • The name of the variable. This name will show up in the list of variables in the Variable window. Appropriate names for user variables are helpful for others who might use the same template. For example, if you create a user variable to display a document title, “doctitle” is a good name because the name indicates its purpose.

  • The definition of the variable. This is what will actually be displayed in the header (or another location) in the document where user variables are inserted.

After you decide on the name and definition, you need to create a user variable. Unlike other types of variables, you do not have to be on a master page to create a user variable. You can use this variable in other places in your document, as well as in headers and footers; for this example, I focus on headers and footers.

Creating a User Variable

Let’s create a user variable with the name “doctitle” for use in the document header. The definition of doctitle is “Technical Bulletin No. 1086”, the name of the document.

Back to Basics

If the insertion cursor is not in the text, the Variable menu command is gray and inaccessible.


1.
Place your insertion cursor in the header text frame on a master page.

This is where the document title is displayed.

2.
Select Special > Variable.

The Variable window appears.

3.
Click on the Create Variable button.

The Edit User Variable window appears.

4.
Type “doctitle” in the Name field.

The name “doctitle” for this variable displays in the Variables list window after you finish creating the variable.

5.
Type “Technical Bulletin No. 1086” in the Definition field, as shown in Figure 4.4.

Figure 4.4. The Edit User Variable Window.


This is the actual information that is displayed in the header.

Back to Basics

Split user variables into two separate lines by inserting \h in the user variable definition. The code \h means “soft return.”


6.
Click on Done.

You return to the Variable window. Notice that the name of the variable you just created is displayed and highlighted in the Variables list, and the variable definition is displayed directly below the variable list (see Figure 4.5).

Figure 4.5. The Variable Name and Definition is displayed.


7.
Click on Insert.

The document title variable is inserted into the header.

Making Changes in a User Variable

After you have user variables in FrameMaker documents, making changes is relatively easy. You’ll really appreciate this feature when you use the same template for another set of documents with a new document title.

Here’s how it works: Suppose that you take an existing FrameMaker document with a user variable, doctitle, for the document title and use that document as the template for a new document with a new title. You can instantly change the document title name that’s already been inserted as doctitle in one or more header or footer locations in two ways: either from a master page or a body page.

Changing a User Variable from a Master Page

To change a user variable from a master page, follow these steps:

1.
Double-click on the document title.

The Variable window appears with the variable doctitle selected.

2.
Click on Edit Definition.

The Edit User Variable window appears.

3.
Edit the text in the Definition field. After you finish, click on Done.

You return to the Variable window. The new document title appears below the variable list when doctitle is selected in the list.

4.
Click on Done.

All occurrences of this variable automatically update and display the new information. You do not have to click on Replace, because that simply replaces the current user variable with itself.

Changing a User Variable from a Body Page

You can change a user variable from a body page by following these steps:

1.
Select Special > Variable.

The Variable window appears.

2.
Select doctitle from the Variables list. Click on Edit Definition.

The Edit User Variable window appears.

3.
To complete this exercise, continue with Step 3 of the previous list to change a user variable from a master page.

Note

The insertion cursor must be in any text frame or some menu selections will not be accessible.


Tricks with Volume Numbers

Instead of a user variable, you can also use the volume number variable in FrameMaker to implement a fixed header or footer.

Typically, volume numbers in FrameMaker are used to create automatic multi-level numbering. This is especially handy when you work with book files. Then each file in the book can be specified either to have the same volume number as the file that precedes it in the book, or to have the next incremental number.

Note

For information on using a volume number in cross-references, see Chapter 5.


However, you can also use the volume number function to insert a document title or some other textual information that you want to display in the header or footer on each page of your document. (You cannot use this particular method if you plan to use the Volume Number function for an actual volume number in your FrameMaker documents.)

Setting Up Volume Number Text

Using the previous example in this section for a user variable, here’s how to set up a volume number to use as header text:

1.
Select Format > Document > Numbering.

The Numbering Properties window appears.

2.
Click on the Volume tab or select Volume from the drop-down list.

The Volume numbering properties appears.

3.
From the Format drop-down list, select Text.

This allows for text entry into the Volume # field. If you do not select Text from the format menu, you can still enter text in the Volume # field, but you get an error message when you click on the Set button.

4.
Type “Technical Bulletin No. 1086” in the Volume # text field. Click on the Set button after you finish.

You have completed the setup of the text field for the Volume Number (see Figure 4.6). The volume number is not yet displayed in any header or footer.

Figure 4.6. The Volume Numbering properties is switched to Text.


Now that you have set up the volume number to display text, you can now move on to inserting its special variable into the header of the document.

Inserting the Volume Number Variable

The following steps start on the master page, with the insertion cursor in the background text frame for the header:

1.
Select Special > Variable.

The Variable window appears.

2.
Click one time on Volume Number in the variable list to select it.

The variable for Volume Number displays directly below the Variables list, as shown in Figure 4.7.

Figure 4.7. The Volume Number in the Variable list.


3.
Click on the Insert button.

The Volume Number variable is inserted at the insertion cursor location. The text that you previously set up in the Numbering Properties for Volume # is displayed.

To edit the text, follow the steps in the section “Setting Up Volume Number Text” on page 88.

The headers and footers that you learned about so far represent some powerful yet basic types in FrameMaker. Coming up next: some more complex types that are commonly used in real-world documents.

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