FrameMaker 9 to 2015 Version Comparison Charts

FrameMakerProductsTechnical Communication Suite

One of the reasons why technical documentation departments around the world built their business on Adobe FrameMaker is that it is a secure and sustainable investment. FrameMaker is known to be a rock-solid product and has a track-record of being just the best authoring tool for small-, mid- and large-scale technical documentations. And since the release of version 8 (the big switch to Unicode) in 2007, we have released five new major versions and many updates in between. And with the speed and agile development of FrameMaker for many versions now, it’s easy to miss all the new features, changes and enhancements that newer versions bring.

Did you know for example, that we introduced out-of-the-box support for S1000D already way back in FrameMaker 10? And added a complete ExtendScript solution for full automation of FrameMaker?

And did you know that we introduced a native a native XML source code editor way back in FrameMaker 11? With full support for XPATH 2.0, XSLT 2.0, syntax highlighting, pretty printing, context-sensitive code completion and automatic XML Background Validation? And dropbox integration?

And did you know that we added support for MathML in FrameMaker 12 and introduced complete support for multichannel publishing to responsive HTML5, ePUB, WebHelp, amazon Kindle and Microsoft HTML Help (CHM) right out of the box? And that we added the possibility to leverage the potential of PDF-based review cycles (with import of PDF review comments back into FrameMaker as track changes – you can even continue to work on your FrameMaker document while the PDF is reviewed!)? And the more advanced tech writers loved our new RegEx support for Find & Replace.

Or that FrameMaker (2015 Release) already supported DITA 1.3 months before it was officially confirmed as a standard by the OASIS committee? Or that we introduced a complete new engine in FrameMaker (2015 Release) that fully supports Right-to-Left and bi-directional editing and publishing for Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew? And even Thai? And that we have constantly improved the user interface of FrameMaker with each version in every corner of the product? Many dialogs and “Pods” like Variables, Cross-References, Paragraph, Character and Table Styles are re-sizable now, dockable and powered up with many small new feature enhancements? And that FrameMaker comes with an out-of-the box CMS Connection Manager that ships with pre-configured connectors to Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), EMC Documentum, Microsoft SharePoint and DitaExchange?

As I said, it’s easy to miss all the new features.

To make it more easy for you, to check what new features and enhancements have been made since version 8/9, we have created this overview for you. Some of the entries in the left column are actually hyperlinks, that open a new web page with a small video explaining this new feature or enhancement.

Enjoy the overview and let us know in the comments below what you think. And if you’re not on FrameMaker 2015 yet, make sure to give it a try.

Table of Contents



New in this version

Enhanced in this version

XML Authoring

Adobe FrameMaker






DITA 1.3 support





Simplified XML authoring environment





Simplified XML design





DITAVAL filtering using DITA OT





Structure view

Out-of-the-box support for MathML equations




Expandable DITA map topics for quick viewing of content




Quick Element Toolbar for easy insertion of content




DITA 1.2 support


Out-of-the-box S1000D support


Faster and seamless EDD customization




White space handling as per XML standards




Smart catalogs



Out-of-the-box support for publishing content with DITA OT




Uncluttered XML without processing instructions




XML code view



XML author view




XSL support (Saxon and Xalan)



XPath support



DITA key-based referencing


DITA APIs for common DITA constructs



DITA specialization support

Smart paste



Wizard to create structured applications


Content filtering using attributes

Comparing structured documents


Attribute editor

XML tags: view tags

Expandable and collapsible tags


XML tags view: drag-and-drop elements and text

EDD enhancements: import of CSS

EDD enhancements: auto insertions

Automated tracking of errors in XML code (auto validation)



Intelliprompt of attributes, elements and attribute names



Scope settings for XSL transformations



Quick code search via XPath



EDD enhancements: descriptive tags


General Authoring

Adobe FrameMaker






Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi Support (Right-To-Left support, bidirectional)





Bidirectional content flipping





Support for Thai (FrameMaker 2015, Update 1)





Conditional text at book level





Conditional text pod



Conditional tag expressions with nested parentheses support



Line numbers



Adding and deleting workspace menus



Hunspell dictionary



Configurable dictionary support



Unicode support

Background color box for paragraphs





Adobe FrameMaker






Publishing Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi content





Custom font in EPUB files





Generate mobile apps





Customize WebHelp skins





Personalized dynamic content





New HTML5 layout





WebHelp skin gallery




Import/Export layouts/CSS/HTML page template




Out-of-the-box multichannel, multidevice publishing




Native responsive HTML5 output support




Native EPUB3 support




Native WebHelp support




Import RoboHelp style mapping




HTML page template support




Publish reference page images




SVG Support in HTML5 output




Native CHM support




Native MOBI support




Native KF8 support (Amazon Kindle)




Native PDF support



Native Adobe Digital Publishing Solution (DPS) support





DITA publishing: composite docs



DITA publishing: flat books



Multimedia and Rich Media Support

Adobe FrameMaker






QR code generation




MP4 video support



Links to play, pause, and jump videos



Hotspots on graphics



Interactive 3D graphics



Poster frames for FLV and SWF videos



Object styles


FLV and SWF support

Embed 3D graphics

Support for audio and video formats (WMV, MPG, AVI, and others)


Poster for rich media



Adobe FrameMaker






Auto-insert table continuation variables





Conditional table columns





Usablity of tables




More out-of-the-box table styles










Visual conditional indicators




Ability to resize pods




Customizable user interface for easier navigation and better viewing








Smart filters in pods




Table cell shading with solid fill





Single click session restore for quick start




Currently Open Files pod for easier file management




Regular expression support




Auto spell check


Repeat last operation


Table catalog


Find and Remove overrides


Manage used and unused styles: paragraph, character, table


Suppressed alerts


Enhanced background color support



Review and Collaboration

Adobe FrameMaker






Out of the box integration with DitaExchange CMS





Word import




Out-of-the-box integration with Adobe Experience Manager




Out-of-the-box Microsoft SharePoint integration


Content review on-the-go using mobile devices




Simultaneous PDF-based reviews and authoring




Out-of-the-box EMC Documentum integration


Out-of-the-box Dropbox integration




Track changes: track user name and time of change


Track changes: track text edit operations at book level


Track changes: configurable colors for added and deleted text


End-user collaboration: community-generated content, comments, feedback


WEBDAV support: Basic

WEBDAV support: in File dialogs

WEBDAV support: for XML files


Developer Support

Adobe FrameMaker






DITA: FDK client in core product



ExtendScript for automation


API for CMS integration



FrameMaker, Products, Technical Communication Suite

Posted on 01-22-2016


  • By Matt Sullivan - 8:37 PM on March 1, 2016   Reply

    Great list, Stefan, has marketing produced a PDF of this?

  • By Ute Mitschke - 1:56 PM on February 29, 2016   Reply

    Thank you, Stefan. It’s great! I distribute the link to my collegues.
    And it’s a direct way to easy recognize, what we can implement in our ExtendScripts in older fm-versions.

  • By Toni Ressaire - 2:37 PM on February 2, 2016   Reply

    Stefan, I’m creating a bookmark to this comparison chart. Very helpful, indeed.

  • By cud - 3:46 PM on January 24, 2016   Reply

    This was really useful. Somehow, the smaller, maybe less “sexy” features never made it to my conscious mind. This has really helped.

  • By Dieter Gust - 7:28 PM on January 23, 2016   Reply

    Thanks I really appreciate these comparison charts showing that FrameMaker is by far the best out-of the box DTP program. Next week I would like to support you with further charts for Version 2016, 2017 etc :-). As you can see, for example FM still lacks basic improvements in the graphics import because this feature isn’t updated since version 5 I think.

Join the discussion