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Understanding and Creating FrameMaker Templates

Brush up on FrameMaker template components, including the Paragraph and Character Designer, and then dive into details on how to create your own custom template (from the book XML and FrameMaker by Kay Ethier, ISBN: 159059276X, Apress).

Author Info:
By: Kay Ethier
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 18
July 20, 2004
  1. · Understanding and Creating FrameMaker Templates
  2. · Paragraph Formats
  3. · Pagination Properties and Numbering Properties
  4. · Advanced Properties of the Paragraph Designer
  5. · Designing Character Formats with the Character Designer
  6. · Master Page Layouts
  7. · Reference Pages
  8. · Table Formats
  9. · Cross-Reference Formats, Conditional Text and Creating a Simple Template
  10. · Creating Character Formats and Cross-Reference Formats
  11. · Modifying and Adding Master Pages
  12. · Creating a Double-sided Document
  13. · Adjusting Document Properties
  14. · Reviewing the Import Formats Feature

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Understanding and Creating FrameMaker Templates - Table Formats
(Page 8 of 14 )

Table Formats

FrameMaker allows you to have many tables in your documents. Tables can be small—just a single cell—or they can be very large and spread across many pages. Formatting for tables is controlled by table formats. Table formats are created using the third of our FrameMaker designers—the Table Designer. The Table Designer’s Basic properties sheet is shown in Figure 3–14.

Figure 3–14.
The Table Designer Basic properties sheet is displayed.

To create a table format,

  1. Put your insertion point in your text frame, click Table > Insert Table, select one of the available formats, type values for the columns and rows, and then click Insert to insert a table.

  2. Adjust the table to the size you would like.

  3. Open the Table Designer ( Table>Table Designer).

  4. Select New Format from the Commands menu.

    The Ruling properties sheet is shown in Figure 3–15.
    The Shading properties sheet is shown in Figure 3–16.

    Figure 3–15.
    The Table Designer Ruling properties sheet is displayed.

    Figure 3–16.
    The Table Designer Shading properties sheet controls shading within tables.

  5. Give your table a tag and check Apply to Selection (best practice).

  6. Adjust the three properties sheets as needed.

  7. Set up your sample table to look the way that you want and use the desired formatting. Setting up the example is important because FrameMaker picks up settings from the table in addition to the settings it has from the three properties sheets. These extra settings include the following:

  • Different paragraph formats applied in each cell (including use of different formats between columns)
  • Heading/Footing row paragraph formats (can be different between the heading and footing rows)
  • Column widths of the individual columns

     8.  While still in the table, click Update All to lock in both the
          properties in the Table Designer and the properties of your
          sample table.

Variable Definitions

Variables are used to automate text displays and updates. There are two types of variables—system and user.

  • System variables are managed by FrameMaker. Their definitions are a combination of FrameMaker building blocks and character formats.

  • User variables are managed by template designers. Their definitions are strictly text plus character formats.

The best way to explain what each is, and what variables do, is with examples. All variables are defined and managed through the Special>Variables dialog box. This has buttons for Edit Variable to modify existing variables, and Create Variable to create user variables (system variables cannot be created).

Example 1: CompanyName User Variable

Your company’s name needs to appear throughout your documents. You define a user variable and give it a name, such as CompanyName. You define it by typing in your company’s name. Then, each time the company name is needed in the text, you insert the variable and the company’s name appears.

Example 2: ProductName User Variable

You want to include a product name in a text file that is going to be used as a text inset (one FrameMaker file imported by reference into another) for several product manuals. You want to have the product name change depending on into which manual you insert the text inset file. You set up a ProductName user variable in the template for use in creating each manual. Then, whenever the text inset file is used, the displayed name changes to whatever ProductName is defined to be in each manual. This allows you to write something once but use it multiple times. You don’t have to change the text, because it changes on its own in each context.

Example 3: Current Date System Variable

You need the current date displayed on a letter transmitting a proposal. To be more precise, you want the date to update automatically each day. You insert the CurrentDate system variable and FrameMaker inserts the date. Each day FrameMaker updates it without you doing anything else.

Example 4: Running H/F System Variables

In your page layout, you want the heading (or footing) text to reflect the content on each page. So, you set up a system variable for a running (ever-updating) header. FrameMaker pulls content from each page—including text and attribute values—to produce each heading, and updates automatically if you change the document. FrameMaker also adjusts the header or footer as you move from one chapter to the next, or from section to section.

FrameMaker version 6.0 and later provides twelve Running H/F 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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