FrameMaker Shortcuts to Success


Keyboard shortcuts and other forms of shortcuts have long been a favorite feature of veteran FrameMaker users. Since FrameMaker’s earliest versions were developed for creating documentation on UNIX workstations, swift shortcuts were a must for processing thousands of pages of documentation.

This blog summarizes key take-aways from a brief webinar on this subject given by Adobe Product Evangelist, Maxwell Hoffmann. In the recorded webinar Hoffmann shares both popular and lesser known shortcuts.

You may view the webinar recording by clicking here: FrameMaker Shortcuts to Success

You may wish to skip the first 12 minutes of the recording to skip over announcements of events which have expired.

Locating Help on Keyboard Shortcuts

The live demo starts out with simple steps to locate keyboard shortcuts in online Help.

Navigating through documents

Although many of these shortcuts are obvious, FrameMaker has a unique shortcut that will take you to a page, not on the screen, where your insertion point is located. FrameMaker allows you to page up or down away from your current insertion point in order to do “Quick Copy” at the insertion point.

Special shortcuts are used that will take you to the beginning or the end of the current paragraph. One of my favorites is ESC pp will jump you to the TOP of the next page.

Escape sequences (16 minutes)

FrameMaker’s most powerful shortcuts include “ESC” sequences. With these shortcuts, you must (a) make sure that CAP LOCK is turned off and (b) press each key one at a time. A good practice is to use your index finger. For instance, documentation indicates that the shortcut for going to the beginning of the NEXT paragraph is ESC b p.

You should press the following keys with your index finger:

  • b (lowercase)
  • p (uppercase)

As shown in the demonstration, if CAP LOCK is left on during an ESC command, you will often find one stray upper case letter w/in your text.

Special characters entered w/in dialogue boxes (20 minutes)

This section covers the documentation for special key sequences to enter w/in a dialogue, for instance, to obtain bullets or other characters w/in paragraph prefixes.

Techniques are shown for restoring a paragraph back to its previous condition

Shortcuts for Tables (23 minutes)

There are many, many useful shortcuts for tables because FM tables have so many more features than other products. The demonstration includes:

  • to create a tab within a table cells, press ESC TAB
    pressing TAB by itself with jump to the next table cell
  • how to select specific portions of tables (e.g. a column w/o the header cells)
  • resize column width to the widest contents in specific area
  • how to copy a column’s width, which can be pasted to multiple columns, even in another table
  • Jumping to first or last cell in row or column (helpful with large tables with tiny cells)
  • How to jump to beginning or end of a cell (useful for cells with high content)
  • Setting vertical alignment of table cells without using the Paragraph Designer

Finding and Changing (45 minutes)

Your search window can include special character sequences to confine the search to:

  • beginning of paragraph
  • end of paragraph
  • tab symbols
  • force returns (hard line breaks)
  • non-breaking spaces
  • … and more

Shortcuts with graphics (50 minutes)

  • vertically align objects
  • horizontally align objects

Shrink wrap graphics for “in line” key caps (53 minutes)

A common feature in technical documentation is a tiny screen capture of a key cap or menu button that needs to sit between words in a sentence and paginate with the text. This can easily be accomplished with FrameMaker:

  • paste or import the small graphic where you wish it to appear
  • Select the graphic (after paste or import, the anchored frame will be selected)
  • press ESC m p
  • Voila! The anchored frame will automatically resise to the graphic element and also become an “at insertion point” frame, which accomplishes the goals set in the introductory paragraph.



Posted on 05-12-2014

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