Sneak peeks: FrameMaker 10 and RoboHelp 9

Sneak peeks into Adobe FrameMaker 10 and Adobe RoboHelp 9 are now out, courtesy RJ Jacquez, Adobe’s senior product evangelist.

  • First Adobe RoboHelp 9 Sneak Peek: SharePoint & Cloud-based Reviews – visit this URL
  • First Adobe FrameMaker 10 Sneak Peek: Rich Media – visit this URL
  • [Edit: December 2, 2010] Second Adobe RoboHelp 9 Sneak Peek: How RoboHelp lets you publish directly to a Microsoft SharePoint workspace – visit this URL and scroll to the bottom (same URL as the first RoboHelp 9 sneak peek)

Hope you enjoy watching these videos. I’ll share more information about these exciting releases in the weeks to come. Stay tuned!

RoboHelp tips article in Indus

RH-icon.jpgNandini Gupta and I recently contributed an article on our favorite RoboHelp tips to Indus, the newsletter of the India chapter of STC. Check out the article here!

The May issue of Indus carried an article on my favorite FrameMaker tips. Check that one out here!

FrameMaker, CMS, XML, and DITA eSeminars

Exciting news! Adobe is teaming up with partners to organize eSeminars on FrameMaker, CMS, XML, and DITA.

There are two eSeminars coming up in June:
  • Integrating Adobe FrameMaker 9 with Documentum to maximize content reuse with Linked2 on June 22
  • Sense out of Confusion: Streamline your Authoring by transitioning from unstructured to DITA XML on June 24
Stay tuned with RJ Jacquez’s blog for information about the contents of the eSeminars and to register.

FrameMaker tips article in Indus

FrameMaker iconI recently contributed an article on my favorite FrameMaker tips to Indus, the newsletter of the India chapter of STC. Check out the article here!

Embed a TOC in a FrameMaker document

FrameMaker iconLet’s discuss an easy way to embed a file-level TOC in a FrameMaker document. We’ll generate a standalone TOC for the document and then import it by reference into the same document.

Here’s how:

  1. Open the FrameMaker document.
  2. Click Special > Table of Contents. When FrameMaker prompts if you want to create a standalone TOC, say Yes.
  3. In the Set Up Table of Contents dialog, select the paragraph tags that you want to include in the TOC. Click Set. FrameMaker creates a separate TOC file and stores it in the directory where your FrameMaker document is stored.
  4. Open the new TOC and format it as necessary. You may want to change the font styles/sizes for the TOC paragraphs and set tab stops/leaders.
  5. 1.jpg

  6. Now, open the parent FrameMaker document, place the cursor at the intended insertion point (usually the beginning of the file), and then click File > Import > File. Select the external TOC file and click Import.
  7. Retain the default settings in the Import Text Flow by Reference dialog box and click Import. FramaMaker imports the TOC by reference into the parent document.
  8. 2.jpg

Now, whenever you update the external TOC, simply select the embedded text inset in the parent document and click Update in the Text Inset Properties pod.

3.jpg

Here’s some further suggested reading:

Top ten FrameMaker conversion tips

Simon Bate has posted his top ten FrameMaker conversion tips over at the Scriptorium blog. Pretty interesting stuff! Do take a look.

As for our FrameMaker tips that he refers to in his post, you can download the PDF from this link.

Enjoy!

Find: Much beyond text…

FrameMaker iconYou can use the Find/Change feature in FrameMaker to look for many different kinds of objects across a book or in a document.

Find.jpg

In particular, Find Unresolved Cross Reference saves me grueling hours of troubleshooting when I’m generating PDFs.

Read more about the search functionality in FrameMaker in this Help article. For tips and best practices on creating PDFs from FrameMaker documents, see this handbook.

Enable PDF text edits for text embedded in a screenshot

Acrobat icon.jpgConsider you have to complete a UI content review for the product you work on. Wouldn’t things be easier if you could use Acrobat text-edit-markup features to highlight the relevant content embedded in images? Of course, you can always add a sticky note in an approximate location, but that isn’t quite as effective!

So how do you enable PDF text edits for embedded text? Here’s how:
  1. Paste the screenshot in your favorite word-processing or layout tool. For example, FrameMaker.
  2. Generate a PDF of the page containing the screenshot.
  3. Open the PDF in Acrobat and select Document > OCR Text Recognition > Recognize Text Using OCR.
  4. Once the text recognition process is over, you’ll be able to select the embedded text and use the Acrobat text edit tools on it.
Screenshot for blog post.jpg
This Help article discusses Acrobat text edit features in greater detail. For more information about the OCR features in Acrobat 9, refer to this Help article.

Download the free PDF production handbook

Creating a final, print-quality PDF from FrameMaker documents can be an involved, multi-step process. We thought it would be useful to capture all relevant considerations and steps in a single handbook that could be immediately put to use in real-world situations.

The following sections are included in this handbook:
  • Relevant scenario
  • Prerequisites
  • Important considerations
  • Equip yourself with relevant details
  • Stage 0: Prepare the content
  • Stage 1: Clean up the source
  • Stage 2: Prepare the book and create PDF
  • Stage 3: Test the PDF
  • Stage 4: Prepare the PDF for publication
  • Stage 5: Optimize the PDF in Acrobat
  • Appendix: Best practices for using conditional text
  • Appendix: Keeping track of content changes across versions in a collaborative environment
Click this link to download the handbook: pdf_handbook.pdf.

And yes, feel free to share it with your colleagues and friends!

Book-wide variables and attributes

FrameMaker iconYour FrameMaker documents may have many variables that are common across all files in a book. If you’re using unstructured FrameMaker, you can set these variables in one of the files in the book and then use the File > Import > Formats command to import these variables into the other files.

If you also plan to import paragraph format properties from this file, ensure that it uses all the common styles used across the book. For example, if some of the files in the book have <Heading 4> topics and the file you’re importing formats from has none, you may notice formatting (and numbering) anomalies in the final PDF. In such a case, it is recommended that you set and import variables and paragraph formats from a file that has <Heading 4> topics.

Import Formats.jpg

See “Import formatting properties” and “Import formats from a template or document” topics in FrameMaker Help for more insight.

If you’re using structured FrameMaker, you can have book-level attributes and use them (for instance) in running header/footer variables using the <$attribute[AttributeName]> or <$attribute[AttributeName:ElementName]> building block.