douwriteright 4) FrameMaker and Word: Using Cross References

Friday, March 1 2013 @ 4:15 AM, By Maxwell Hoffmann

Cross References provide one of the most dramatic contrasts between Word and FrameMaker 11. It is possible to create an xref to a page number, Figure, Table or paragraph in Word. But it requires a string of cross references to achieve what appears to be a complex sentence with reference to a Table, the title, the page number and also the previous section title or chapter title.

As a result of this limitation in Word, I found that the vast majority of customer Word document projects I worked on during my recent years in translation contained no cross references, what-so-ever! The capability was not transparent enough, and many customers complained of problems maintaining the integrity of cross references when docs were merged into master documents.

One click vs. multiple clicks

In contrast, FrameMaker 11 has a unique feature known as “cross reference formats.” This feature is easily customized by the user and can be imported from a template or from one document into many documents. Basically, a string of desired text and building blocks (e.g. <$paranum> for paragraph number) enable one cross reference to display text, numbers and page numbers from multiple targets in one cross reference. For example:

“For more information, please refer to Table 14.1 ‘How to build a blender’ located in Section 14.3 ‘Building instructions’, in Chapter 14 Compendium of Building Techiniques

The red text in the example above indicates where you would have to insert at least 3 separate cross references in MS Word. The problem with this is (a) you have an opportunity to point to the wrong target paragraph 3 times and (b) multiple cross references are more difficult to manage and maintain than a single “one-part” cross reference, like FrameMakers.

Seeing is believing: watch a brief video

The following brief video was created for our #writeright campaign to help educate Word users who have a workflow that has outgrown their product. Click on the video below and see just how powerful xrefs (cross references) can be in FrameMaker 11.

Have your own hands-on with FrameMaker 11 and decide how you can use it

Adobe Technical Communication Suite 4 includes FrameMaker 11, which is an excellent authoring solution and also a versatile structured editor for DITA/XML. The possibilities with these new tools are as limitless as the profiles of our existing and potential customers. To discover how you can use FrameMaker, download a trial copy of FrameMaker 11 today. After having your own hands-on, you may decide in favor of the best bargain of all, obtaining a cloud subscription to the entire Tech Comm Suite 4, which includes RoboHelp 10, Captivate 6 and other products in addition to FrameMaker 11.

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