• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL



Adobe FrameMaker is famous for its powerful document-publishing features and steep learning curve. Through many versions and improved features, FrameMaker has become an indispensable tool to users creating various types of documentation.

You’ve undoubtedly felt overwhelmed with FrameMaker at least once. That’s why I wrote this book—to make FrameMaker more accessible to you without becoming overwhelmed.

More than 10 years ago, before tables were even included in the menu options, I found FrameMaker. It took about a minute for me to realize how FrameMaker could simplify the process of producing documentation. FrameMaker was a real lifesaver for me while I worked on the production side of large-scale multi-language documentation projects. Although FrameMaker’s steep learning curve was painful at times, it was more painful to work in software programs that did not come close to containing the automated features that FrameMaker offered.

Combining my FrameMaker expertise with my computer-teaching skills allowed me to educate others on FrameMaker usage. The real rewards came in teaching users how to get the most out of this powerful software in their everyday documentation tasks. Writing my own user guides and training documents in FrameMaker naturally followed. It’s been a pleasure to experience FrameMaker from many different angles.

FrameMaker remains my favorite publishing software program. I composed this book in FrameMaker 6. Unlike other books about FrameMaker, the book you hold in your hands is not a reference book. Because documentation tasks in FrameMaker require you to understand and combine multiple features, I was inspired me to create this task-oriented book. I present you with the principles, techniques, and tips to achieve tasks, as well as the corresponding pitfalls and challenges.

Who This Book Is For

This book is ideal for intermediate to advanced FrameMaker users. You should already be familiar with the basic fundamental operations and have completed, either through experience or training, the introductory levels of FrameMaker topics and commands. The exercises and examples are focused on the task at hand. For example, if we are working on autonumbers, we only work with the Numbering property of the Paragraph Designer. We don’t need to waste time with how to create that particular paragraph tag or go into the basic or default font properties, because those are basic FrameMaker skills that you are already familiar with and unimportant to our task. It is my goal to present very focused lessons throughout the book.

This book is not geared towards novice FrameMaker users.

This book is of particular interest to experienced FrameMaker users who

  • Work in FrameMaker on a daily basis

  • Create technical documentation (such as software manuals, user guides, and so on)

  • Create documentation for print, PDF, or web sites

  • Convert files from Microsoft Word to FrameMaker consistently throughout the documentation process.

This book shows you how to optimize the advantages of FrameMaker to create documentation.

How This Book Is Organized

Each chapter contains comprehensive coverage of FrameMaker topics that surpass the basic fundamentals of the program. Inside each chapter, you find an overview and background information on topics, followed by examples to follow. You also find helpful sidebars that discuss topics such as basic commands, tips, and other noteworthy information.

The overall organization is as follows:

  • Chapter 1, “Planning and Organizing Strategies,” includes a discussion on what you need to know before you embark on a FrameMaker project.

  • Chapter 2, “Automatic Text, Tabs, Special Characters, and Graphics,” teaches you how to work with features to automate a variety of tasks, including combinations of text, tabs, special characters, and graphics.

  • Chapter 3, “Automatic Numbering,” gets you acquainted with the concepts and techniques behind autonumbering and you learn the how-to’s of constructing a variety of autonumber sequences.

  • Chapter 4, “Headers and Footers,” covers the practical uses of headers and footers, what they’re made of, and how they work together with FrameMaker’s interrelated parts. You explore the concepts behind building, modifying, and using headers and footers to achieve complex tasks and understand some of the pitfalls and tricks in dealing with them.

  • Chapter 5, “Cross-References,” explores the typical uses of cross-references and how they work, how to integrate cross-references in documents, and what to do when they misbehave.

  • Chapter 6, “Table Survival Guide,” covers a few topics that go beyond table basics, such as header rows, titles, custom ruling and shading, figures within tables, and conversion between table and text.

  • Chapter 7, “Combining Documents into Books,” teaches you the benefits of building book files, how to work with a variety of book commands, and how to understand automatic numbering and other automated features after a book file is created.

  • Chapter 8, “Creating Tables of Contents and Other Lists,” explains the architecture behind tables of contents and other lists. You learn how to set up and edit lists, create prefix numbering, and solve everyday problems.

  • Chapter 9, “Indexing,” helps you make FrameMaker’s indexing features work for you. From creating a variety of index entries to controlling the format of the index, this chapter covers a variety of indexing techniques.

  • Chapter 10, “Two Versions Within One Document,” focuses on the concepts behind conditional text, appropriate uses of conditional text, and how to create and implement conditional text in documents. You are also shown the pitfalls in working with conditional text along the way.

  • Chapter 11, “PDF and HTML,” teaches you about the tools available in FrameMaker for converting documents to PDF and HTML and how your document’s criteria fit for either.

  • Chapter 12, “Converting Documents from Other Applications,” shows you the best practices to clean up converted Microsoft Word documents quickly and efficiently.

  • Chapter 13, “Typical FrameMaker Headaches,” teaches you how to approach and solve some common problems that you might encounter while you work on document projects. This includes the dreaded Missing Fonts error, mysterious templates, and undocumented features.

  • The Glossary provides a list of specialized FrameMaker words and their definitions, along with quick tips.

How to Use This Book

I wrote this book from a Microsoft Windows perspective. As you know, FrameMaker is nearly identical on various computing platforms. Although the conventions used are Windows-based, the basic concepts and techniques discussed in this book can be used equally well by users of various platforms.

Each chapter is independent and stands on its own. Go directly to the chapters that contain topics that interest you, or use the comprehensive index to find the subject of which you are looking. Try out the techniques (presented in the examples) as you go along and analyze the results in your own documents.

The following table shows the various conventions used throughout the book.

Conventions Used in This Book

Convention Example Description
Format > Document > Numbering Select the Format menu, then Document in the Format menu list and Numbering from the Document submenu.
Control f Press the Control Key and lowercase letter f at the same time.
Esc pz Press and release the Escape key, then press the letter p and release, press the letter z and release.

What’s on the Web

Learn even more on how to put FrameMaker’s features to good use by visiting www.informIT.com, an online resource center for premium IT content, access to industry experts, training courses, and news. At InformIT, as well as at New Riders’ Web site (www.newriders.com), you’ll find Lisa Jahred’s continuing series of articles on a variety of FrameMaker topics not covered in this book.

Have Fun

Have fun with all the features that FrameMaker has to offer; don’t be afraid to experiment. The learning curve might be steep, but it’s worth the effort. Getting acquainted with FrameMaker can sometimes be an adventure of discovery. It’s an adventure because of the many paths to accomplishing tasks with all their twists and turns. It’s also a discovery of the wonders of this software program.

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint