Configuring SDL AuthorAssistant for FrameMaker

SDL AuthorAssistant workflow

After you install SDL AuthorAssistant and you see it appearing in the system tray and FrameMaker menu, the first step is to set up SDL AuthorAssistant for your customizations (as shown in the following workflow).

General workflow

General workflow

SDL AuthorAssistant Configuration dialog box

Use the SDL AuthorAssistant Configuration dialog box to set up your style and linguistic check rules.

SDL AuthorAssistant Configuration dialog box

General settings

  1. After installing SDL AuthorAssistant, open FrameMaker in Document view.
  2. Select SDL AuthorAssistant > Configure.
  3. Use the SDL AuthorAssistant Configuration dialog box (that appears) to configure.

Your configuration starts with setting up a profile.

SDL AuthorAssistant profile

Profile is a set of configurations that you use to check your documents. To start with, SDL provides a default profile that has an off-the-shelf set of rules. You can modify this profile by revising the configurations.

Setting up a profile means configuring all the checks in SDL AuthorAssistant. This includes setting up the term bank, configuring the rule checks – these can be company-wide as well as product-specific ones. After you have configured all the checks, you can extract the settings into a profile and distribute this profile for a consistent setup.

In the introductory blog, you saw that Esther has to deliver a variety of content that includes marketing literature and Online Help. Profiles give an opportunity to tailor different set of rules depending on the requirement. That is, Esther can create separate profiles; say one with a liberal set of rules governing wordiness and length of sentences for her brochures, and another one with a stringent set of rules for her technical documentation.  Since Poornima has writers distributed across various locations, she can create a profile and share it with all her writers.

Import and export profile settings

  • Click Export (SDL AuthorAssistant Configuration dialog box > General tab) to export all the settings in a .pfl file.
  • Click Import (SDL AuthorAssistant Configuration dialog box > General tab) and then specify the .pfl file that contains the settings. This configures a new desktop with your rule check settings.

Configuring SDL AuthorAssistant

Configuring SDL AuthorAssistant means setting up the plug-in for the following:

Terminology checks

  • Check the document for the presence of forbidden terms
  • Compare document text to terminology data held in a local or a server-based termbase

Style and linguistic checks

  • Incorporate a default set of grammar and linguistic checks
  • Create style guides and rules of your own and add these to the checks

Translation memory checks

  • Check documents for the presence of sentences that closely match sentences from previously translated documents (require access to translation memories)
  • Reuse the previously translated sentences

Terminology checks and translation memory checks do not apply unless you have a Translation Memory available. For details, contact SDL.

Configuring style checks

The Style Checks section in the Style and Linguistic Checks tab (SDL AuthorAssistant Configuration dialog box) lets you configure the style rules.

SDL AuthorAssistant Configuration: Style Checks

SDL AuthorAssistant Configuration: Style Checks

The style checks involve the following:

Spelling variations

Choose from British English and American English.


Specify the list of abbreviations SDL AuthorAssistant should check for and their corresponding full-form. You can set up SDL AuthorAssistant to replace either the full-form with the abbreviated version or the abbreviated version with the full-form.

For example, replace all occurrences of Fm, FM, or fm with FrameMaker. You can set up as many abbreviation-full-form pairs as required. To speed up this, create a simple text file with tab delimited values and import it to populate this tab.

Abbreviations text file

Abbreviation text file


SDL AuthorAssistant already provides the following list of common punctuation rule checks. Select the ones that apply.

Punctuation options

Punctuation options

Length of sentence

You can specify the minimum word count and the maximum permitted word count for a sentence. For example, if you specify 30 as the maximum word count, then SDL AuthorAssistant highlights all sentences above 30 words for the author to correct.

Specify sentence leangth

Specify sentence length

Misused words

Specify a list of misused words or deprecated terms and the approved alternatives for the same. Here, you can have a simple list of words and a description of why these are discouraged.

For example, palette could be a deprecated term to be replaced with panel throughout documentation.
Specifying the preferred term in double square brackets [[ ]] lets the writer quickly replace the word without typing it out during the check.

Again you can import a text file containing pairs of misused words and their preferred alternatives.

Misused word samples

Misused word samples

Do not allow contractions

Select the checkbox if contractions, such as don’t, can’t, haven’t, and you’ve, are discouraged according to your style guide.

Compound words

Specify a list of incorrect compound words and the prescribed alternatives.


Specify wordy phrases that should be avoided and the recommended alternatives to them. For example, replace in order to with to. Again you can set these pairs up in a text file and import the same into SDL AuthorAssistant.

User-defined rules

This list can include anything that you would like SDL AuthorAssistant to correct. For example, use and instead of &.

Configuring linguistic checks

The Linguistic Checks section in the Style and Linguistic Checks tab (SDL AuthorAssistant Configuration dialog box) lets you specify settings for linguistic checks, such as passive voice, future tense, dangling modifiers, or noun and verb forms.

SDL AuthorAssistant Configuration: Linguistic Checks

SDL AuthorAssistant Configuration: Linguistic Checks

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