UPDATE: please note that although this blog was written for FrameMaker 11 before the release of FrameMaker 12, all functional areas are still relevant. There are even more compelling reasons to migrate from Word to the latest FrameMaker 12. Stay tuned for more blogs and updated videos.
Some months back we began our “douwriteright” campaign to make FrameMaker more accessible to Microsoft Word users who have workloads that challenge their current product. Since our blogs have been scattered over many months, this simple blog is a “collection” of resources specific to sharing FrameMaker with people who have Word as a frame of reference. Visit this blog periodically, as we will update it as we create new resources.
We have made each of the blog titles below a hyperlink, and also share a shortened URL to each blog. For your convenience, we list blogs in chronological order:
Our first blog covered one of the number one challenges that Word users complain about: unreliable autonumbers. From multi-level numbered headings to complex, nested lists, trouble ensues when section breaks are placed in the middle of multi-level lists to change page layout. This blog contains a simple video to illustrates FrameMaker’s stability in this area. You may also navigate to this blog by going to: http://adobe.ly/YezLDd
FrameMaker has a large number of advantages over Word in the area of page headers and page footers:
- File names displayed in page headers will display automatically whenever files are renamed; no “update field” required
- Header and Footer content can appear anywhere on the page (e.g. page numbers can be rotated 90° and placed in outer margins)
- System Variables enable you to insert logical codes in headers or footers that can pick up (a) paragraph text (b) paragraph number (c) previous chapter name/title (d) hidden text (e.g. for parts numbers) contained in special markers on the body page
- FrameMaker headers and footers are equal to any challenging parts catalog, equipment documentation or other projects in the techcomm sector.
You can also access this blog at: http://adobe.ly/YGrsQW
Master pages make many things possible in FrameMaker that are either impossible or incredibly difficult to achieve in Word. To list the biggest advantages of master pages:
- No more section breaks!
- No more section breaks!
- No more section breaks!
Master pages allow you to insert a landscape page in a portrait document with just a couple of clicks. Sidehead layout can easily be accomplished. Master pages can also be “mapped” to specific paragraph styles. For instance, if you have a special paragraph titled “Example”, a master page could be invoked to change to change layout from multi column to single column, and place a special background border around that page. Watch the video linked in this blog to see just how easy this can be.
You can also access this blog at: http://adobe.ly/YQq0vd
The video embedded in this blog shows the dramatic power of cross reference “formats” in FrameMaker. Basically, xref formats are simple “formulas” that enable you to have a single-click cross reference point to multiple targets. The wording in the “complete sentence” cross reference can be updated by importing formats from another document. The methods employed for defining xref formats are extremely simple. Watch and find out how!
You may also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/YMexPu
Most Word users employ tables and other workaround to achieve sideheads. FrameMaker is unique in that sidehead plaements (in the margins, aligned with following text) is an available paragraph property. Simply retagging a paragraph from one style to another can make text leap from the main column into the sidehead area, and visa versa. You have to watch the linked video to fully grasp the significance, if you haven’t seen FrameMaker before.
You can also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/105MsDs
Word has one catalog for paragraphs and character styles combined. FrameMaker maintains separate catalogs for (a) paragraphs (b) characters (c) tables and (d) graphic object styles. The last two catalogs are new to most people, so please watch the videos in this blog. Also note that you can FIND/RESTORE any format override that does not match para, character, table or graphic object catalogs.
You may also visit this blog by clicking on: http://adobe.ly/1198WEa
View the video embedded in this blog to discover how a simple strategy for using different conditional text control tags can enable you to show or hide different portions of content for various versions of your project that you publish from one set of source files.
You can also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/119OpiI
The video in this blog has to be seen to be believed. In a couple of mouse clicks you can instantly generate a list of parts, all hyperlinked to a 3D Graphic! In the published PDF file, clicking on any of the parts in the table will alter the view of the graphic to highlight the specific part. Talk about a time saver! Obviously there is no equivalent “one-step” functionality in Word.
You can also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/10rIW4o
FrameMaker is unique compared to Word and other authoring tools in that it maintains a separate catalog of table styles. These styles remember space above/below a table, it’s placement, how table titles are handled, and which horizontal/vertical rules display as well as tinted rows or columns. Table styles are named and can easily be applied to an existing tables.
Once table styles have been applied throughout a document, you may easily make global updates to the appearance and values of “named” tables based on their table styles. Watch the video below to find out how!
You can also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/10rIW4o
Word has no real equivalent to Reference Pages. This “extra layer” in FrameMaker has many uses; as the blog video shows you, you can add or modify custom artwork that is associated with a paragraph. Change the graphic once on a Reference Page, and all instances change throughout the document!
You can also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/12W395C
This blog tackles four exciting things you can do with FrameMaker:
- Index entry with page range
- Changing fonts w/in Index entries
- Automatic prefixed paragraphs for CAUTIONS and NOTEs
- Right Aligned Numbers in Lists and Prefixes
You can also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/14D61D9
In this blog includes 3 links to videos created by guest Barb Binder:
- Workspaces: this is an excellent orientation to the “new” user interface introduced in FrameMaker back in version 9. Discover the advantages
- Catalogs and Designers: this straight forward approach makes clear the relation between these two critical tools
- Character Tags: in this video Barb Binder shows the best way to create a “one size fits all” character tag that can easily be updated globally
You can also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/18qaZVF
Yet another blog contains links to videos by guest Barb Binder. This time Barb covers how to customize characters and formats for bullets (or any paragraph prefix). She also shares two sessions covering master pages, and how to craft a custom master pages to meet your own project needs. Seeing is believing.
You can also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/16ErRXY
- Converting Word files to FrameMaker
- The most commonly used keyboard shortcuts
- Mixing landscape pages in portrait documents
You may also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/16kzfK0
Once again, one blog covers 3 different subjects. In this case, each video example is quite potent and compelling, with no real equivalent in Word:
- Caution Labels via Paragraph Prefixes and Reference Pages
- Redefine multiple para formats in one step!
- Redefine User Variables with Templates
You may also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/17xUTeB
Like Word, FrameMaker has a good Footnote facility. But, FrameMaker goes one step beyond, providing you with Footnotes in tables, which will appear in order beneath the table. Watch the video to find out just how simple this is to accomplish.
You may also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/18qdirZ
In this video blog, webinar guest Matt Sullivan covers how to customized and modify DITA templates in FrameMaker. He also takes you through the simple steps for modifying a navtitle in DITA. Watch the videos; you’ll be surprised at just how simple this can be.
You may also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/17p028y
The video in this blog is a lot of fun! In this session, we show you how to modify values in the FrameMaker savings calculator found on www.douwriteright.com. To find out just how dramatic FrameMaker savings are, set all of the “Project” values to zero, and use just 3 “advantages” of FrameMaker to discover the bare minimum of money you could save by migrating to this powerful product. You will shocked at the hidden cost leaks you may have if you are using Word for the wrong type of projects.
You may also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/1pUJMHN
Our www.douwriteright.com calculator enables you to see savings calculated for FrameMaker advantages over Word. In this video, we “zero out” all categories in the calculator and just enter reasonable values for sideheads on several large projects. We explore how sideheads are commonly created via Tables in Word, and the problems that method leads to. Then we do work with the exact same document content and formatting in FrameMaker to demonstrate how “fool proof” sideheads are, even with numbered headings. As you can see, the savings with sideheads in FrameMaker over Word are considerable. Try it for yourself!
You may also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/17y61YF
In Microsoft Word, there are often problems associated with inserting single column layout or landscape pages within multicolumn layout, if a section break is required in the middle of a multi-level list, or next to a numbered heading. This is not the case with FrameMaker. Word requires section breaks to change page layout; FrameMaker uses straight forward master pages for page layout. Watch this brief video to see how “unbreakable multi-level numbering” in FrameMaker stays intact as individual page layout is changed, or even when a landscape page is inserted next to multi-level numbered headings.
You may also access this blog via: http://adobe.ly/17xZoFU
Is FrameMaker right for you? Take the Quiz!
You can use a calculator to determine how much time and money FrameMaker can save your over Word. Or, you can take a Quiz to determine if your workload is a good fit for FrameMaker. Simply go to http://www.douwriteright.com/
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.