Quicker review cycles with FM9

As a technical communicator, you’ve probably sent more PDFs out for review than any other type of file. Reviewers add their comments, which you incorporate by comparing the PDF file with the source .fm document. So far, but not anymore! FrameMaker 9 lets you import PDF comments directly into your documents.

It’s a simple three-step workflow that you can now follow for reviews:

1. Generate a tagged PDF out of the FM file and send it for shared review. To do this, check Generate PDF For Review Only in the PDF Setup dialog box.

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See Tagged PDF in the online FM documentation for details on tagged PDFs.

2. Let reviewers add their suggestions using the commenting features in Adobe Acrobat — sticky notes, text edits, text highlights, and so on.

3. Import the comments back into the source .fm file and choose which ones to keep. Before importing comments, FrameMaker lets you select if you want to import all comments or only comments of a specific kind.

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An important prerequisite here is to not modify the source FrameMaker file after sending the tagged PDF for review until comments have been imported back into it. This ensures that the comments are inserted into their exact location in the FrameMaker document. The FM import summary dialog reports the number of comments that were inserted into an approximate location, but not their exact intended place.Untitled-3.jpg

After import, PDF comments are inserted into the FrameMaker document as tracked text edits, text formatting, or markers. In particular, sticky notes from the PDF are imported as markers. Use the Markers pod to read and manage these markers.

Untitled-5.jpgYour source document will look something like the screenshot below after PDF comments have been imported into it.

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It’s a few weeks now since I began using this feature, and I’ve found it quite a time saver. Read the Adobe Help article on this feature to get hooked onto it straightaway. For a list of other cool features in FrameMaker 9, click here.