Top Ten FrameMaker Tips – Part 1

8. Selectively Apply Change Bars

Gain exact control on what you want to mark with change bars–especially when you are proofing the source. Instead of turning the change bars on:
  • Select the text you want to mark, and then press Ctrl+Shift+H to apply change bars.
  • To remove the change bar applied, select the character, word, sentence, or paragraph and then press Ctrl+Shift+H again.
9. Capture Screenshots On The Fly
Launch RoboScreenCapture to quickly capture screenshots, add callouts, or manipulate images directly in the content.
  • Select File > Launch RoboScreenCapture.
(This feature is available only in the FrameMaker edition bundled with the Adobe Technical Communication Suite)

10. Get The Workspace That Suits Your Work

Select a suitable workspace from the top right corner of the title bar to load all the relevant pods and panels automatically.

For example, use the Manage Content workspace when you are editing
the document and fixing cross-references and variables.
For more information, see http://bit.ly/7riMW0.

Searching for ‘missing’ text in FrameMaker documents

Consider this: You are searching for a term in your FrameMaker document and FM says it can’t find the term! You are sure that the term is there — it is the name of the product that you are documenting. You are worried.

Stop for a moment and think:

  • Is it plain text or a variable? If you inserted the product name as a variable, FrameMaker won’t look for text inside the variables.
  • Is it inside a text inset? To look for text inside a text inset, either flatten the text inset to inline text or create a PDF from the FrameMaker document and search in it.To flatten a text inset, navigate to it from the Insets pod. Now, double click the inset and click Convert to Text.
  • Has the text that you are searching for been applied with a conditional text tag? Set all conditions to show and then search again.
  • Does the text contain any special formatting? For example, you’d put a non-breaking space between two words in the product name to prevent the product name from appearing truncated at line breaks. Turn on the Text Indicators to see if this indeed is the case. The following screenshot demonstrates how a non-breaking space would appear in the text.
  • Untitled-1.jpg

See this article in FrameMaker Help to see how you can input special characters in the Find dialog box.

Even if you search for the text with all the above considerations taken into account, it is a good practice to create a PDF with the required Show/Hide settings, and then search in it for the text that you want to find.

Happy searching! :-)

LiveCycle ES2 is out!

If you haven’t caught the news already, LiveCycle ES2 is out! This is a major release of the software suite that enables enterprises to improve productivity through intuitive applications and efficient processes. I spent the better part of my time over the past eight months documenting it.

Catch the Adobe press release here.

LiveCycle ES2 now integrates more tightly with the Flash Platform and PDF technologies. This enables enterprise developers to create user-centric applications that contrast with the more traditional, unwieldy system-centric applications users have had to tolerate. New Adobe application modeling technology brings higher productivity to Adobe® Flex® and LiveCycle developers and allows them to more efficiently write applications by reducing the amount of code and simplifying data and service integration. Also, a new LiveCycle ES2 plug-in for Adobe® Flash® Builder™ 4 beta lets developers more seamlessly embed LiveCycle ES2 technologies into any Flex based application. Furthermore, the new Adobe® LiveCycle® Collaboration Service (formerly Adobe Flash Collaboration Service), a hosted service, provides developers and enterprises with a scalable solution to easily build real-time, multi-user collaboration into existing or new RIAs. The powerful and flexible framework accelerates the development and deployment of user-centric applications by enterprise developers.
If you’re looking for documentation resources that could help you get started, visit these links:

A valuable addition to the LiveCycle documentation set this time is the troubleshooting guide. Read it here.

Making change bars ‘invisible’ in interim PDFs

Some more info on managing change bars efficiently!

If you want to preserve change bars in interim PDFs, you can set their color to white in the Change Bar Properties dialog box (Format > Document > Change Bars in FrameMaker 9), so that they are not visible in the PDFs. See this article for more information about this dialog box.

change-bar-white.jpgLater, if required, you can set the change bar color again to a visible color.

Of course, you may want to clear the change bars once and for all before you generate the final PDF build. See the earlier blog post.

If you choose to make the change bars white, ensure that you don’t have a black background for the page numbers in the header/footer. Otherwise, white change bars will be visible alongside changed page numbers in the PDF.

Don’t forget to clear those change bars!

You must remove the change bars in a book before generating the final PDF for publication. Note that change bars appear again if you flatten the text insets in the book after clearing all change bars. For more information about using change bars in FrameMaker efficiently, see http://bit.ly/ju6xw.

To clear the change bars in a book, follow these steps:

  • Select Format > Document > Change Bars.
  • Select Clear All Change Bars | (No Undo) and then click Set.

change bars.jpgTo flatten the text insets in the book before setting out to clear change bars, follow these steps:

  1. Open the book file and open all files in it.
  2. Select all files in the book. Now, in the book view, click Edit > Find | Any Text Inset.
  3. Double-click the first text inset that you find and click Convert to Text.
  4. Repeat step 3 for all text insets in the book.

text inset search.jpgFor information about searching text insets and other items in FrameMaker 9, see http://bit.ly/NpiOn. For information on how to manage your text insets best with FrameMaker 9, see http://bit.ly/XUTll.

Important:
Flattening text insets involves book-level changes that are difficult to reverse. It is recommended that you flatten text insets only in a local copy of your content and not in the central copy administered through a version-control system.

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