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Introduction to Adobe FrameMaker

This chapter provides a starting point for those who are familiar with XML but not as familiar with FrameMaker. It also covers FrameMaker's structured document publishing capabilities. (From the book XML and Framemaker, by Kay Ethier, published by Apress, ISBN: 159059276X.)

Author Info:
By: Kay Ethier
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July 26, 2004
  1. · Introduction to Adobe FrameMaker
  2. · Text Format and Table Placement
  3. · Figure Placement and Settings
  4. · Page Layout, Master Pages and PDF Creation
  5. · Content Sharing Across the Enterprise
  6. · Understanding FrameMaker Templates
  7. · Understanding Structured FrameMaker Basics
  8. · Looking at Round Trip XML Benefits

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Introduction to Adobe FrameMaker - Figure Placement and Settings
(Page 3 of 8 )

Along with its ability to handle lots of text and long tables, FrameMaker also handles graphics—even many graphics of varied types. FrameMaker gives you options for linking with graphics or embedding them in your documents.

You can also choose on a graphic-by-graphic basis whether you want a graphic to be anchored to a specific point on a page or attached to a specific piece of text within the document’s flow.

NOTE When working with XML, you can only attach graphics to text because graphics attached to the page will not transfer out to XML.

As each graphic is attached to text, its position can be set to produce a desired look. For example, the graphic can be set up to Run into paragraph so that the text wraps around its edges. The graphic can also be set as Below current line to get it to drop beneath the text to which it is attached. There are many other settings that provide a wide variety and the potential for using different settings for each occurrence of a graphic.


In this era of interactive documents, having pieces of cross-linked data and the ability to move between them is imperative. FrameMaker provides an easy-to-use interface for linking one piece of content to another—or one element to another within an XML-based structured document.

Once transferred out of FrameMaker, these links can be hot links and provide users with navigation without requiring you to go through any extra hoops in FrameMaker. The hot links are created automatically when a cross reference is created. When the document is turned into PDF, HTML, or some other online format, the links become live (they may also be activated using shortcuts in FrameMaker, thereby allowing you to test links or even navigate while editing).

When working with XML, FrameMaker includes the link identification numbers as attributes within your XML, along with references to those identification numbers saved as attributes. You can then use XSLT to make the links perform within a browser or other XML-based delivery system, such as a cell phone using Wireless Markup Language (WML).


Markers may require some explanation if you are not used to working in a document publishing tool. Markers are FrameMaker objects that contain text but keep that text from appearing in the documents. If desired, the markers’ content can be extracted and used to produce other documents, such as indexes or glossaries.

Markers can be an effective way of holding onto XML elements that you need within your XML but don’t want to appear where they are placed in your published documents. Marker content can include process instructions or even code.


FrameMaker variables come in two flavors: system and user. System variables are maintained by FrameMaker, although they can be adjusted from one document (template) to another. Some examples of system variables are Current Date and Current Page Number(#).

User variables are created by template designers and are used for text that is typed often, or must be adjusted on the fly. Some examples of user variables are ProductName, ProjectNumber, and Company. When designing a template, you can create many of these, name them whatever you want, and then define the text that you want FrameMaker to drop in when they are used.

When sending data out to XML, text from variables may be sent out as straight text (PCDATA) within your XML. You can also set variables up as entities so that they go out to XML as entities and can come back in as variables. If not set up this way, variables become text when sent to XML and remain just text when the XML returns to FrameMaker—they are no longer variables. 

This chapter is from XML and FrameMaker, by Kay Ethier (Apress, 2004, ISBN: 159059276X). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today. Buy this book now.

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