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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 - Content Sharing Across the Enterprise
(Page 5 of 8 )

Content Sharing across the Enterprise

FrameMaker provides word-processing capability, and enables you to make documents of all types and lengths—from small memos to large books. FrameMaker not only allows you to create content, but it can also use content created by other software tools and then return that content to those tools.

A FrameMaker ( filename.fm) file can be opened using the version of FrameMaker with which it was created, or using a later version. You may also save a document in Maker Interchange Format (MIF, an ASCII-based format that fully describes a FrameMaker file) if you need to open the document in an earlier version of FrameMaker (or a version on another platform). Therefore, version compatibility is not a limiting factor.   

NOTE MIF is a form of markup specific to FrameMaker. Some users work in MIF rather than in the software interface. Programs like Quadralay’s WebWorks Publisher convert FrameMaker documents to MIF so that they can scan through them to extract/use content.


Files in many other formats can be imported into FrameMaker. This may be helpful if you are coming to FrameMaker from other tools. In addition to allowing import of XML, FrameMaker opens other types of files including: Rich Text Format, Word, WordPerfect, Interleaf ASCII, and text.

When you think of “word processing,” you may envision an administrator working in Microsoft® Word® or Corel WordPerfect®. Word processing is computer-based preparation of text for printing. It is a phrase that came about before the phrase, “desktop publishing.”


FrameMaker has its own proprietary format for saving files, which is a pretty standard practice with software tools. FrameMaker, however, allows you to move out of its proprietary format and into a long list of other formats.

You may reuse FrameMaker content in multiple documents to extend your publishing. Some features even allow you to produce content that is personalized for each deliverable, so making manuals geared toward a specific client can be easily done.  

FrameMaker outputs to many formats, including XML and many of the formats that it imports. To ensure that you can share documents, FrameMaker can Save As through filters to produce documents in formats for other software tools. The available filters include (but are not limited to):

  • Microsoft RTF (Rich Text Format) and RTF Japanese

  • Word

  • WordPerfect

  • HTML

  • XML


  • SGML

  • MIF

  • Text

Once a document—even a document collection—is saved as another file type, it can be shared more easily than the proprietary FrameMaker files. Of course, this kind of data sharing is a major goal of XML and SGML, and FrameMaker is particularly well suited for that. 

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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