FrameMaker Tricks

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FrameMaker (FM), like all software authoring tools, performs some operations in unexpected ways. Sometimes, the most frustrating part of writing, when working with a particular tool, is getting the tool to do what you want.

This topic is the result of the frustrations I have experienced whilst trying to use FM. Here I have collected a disparate group of unrelated tricks which I found necessary to work with FM.

Should this list become too large, I'll sort and order them, but for now, the following tricks are listed in order of discovery:


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Temp files and memory usage

It appears that FM stores its temporary files in the users profile under '%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Temp'. Even when opened with no document loaded, FM creates four tmp files as listed in the following image:


And at the end of the day, it appears to have left a lot of rubbish behind. After closing FM, we still have this:


These had to be manually selected and deleted to free the disk space they occupied. After several days use, this occupied quite some room, and eventually slowed down my system. I received a "not enough memory" message from another application, and during the subsequent search and cleanup, discovered this anomaly.
Interesting, yes?!?

The workaround was to create a batch file which deleted all such tmp files from that folder. I only had to remember to manually launch the batch file every now and then between FM sessions. To make it easier to do, I created a shortcut to the batch file, and placed it on my Windows Quickstart bar.

In case you need to do the same, here is a copy of the batch file:

Set FMTemp="C:\Documents and Settings\Colin Ramsden\Local Settings\Temp\"
Del %FMTemp%FRM*.tmp /F /Q

Of course, you will need to alter the path to suit your Windows environment user profile.


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Smart Quotes

Adobe provides some "helpful" default settings in FrameMaker just like Microsoft provides some "helpful" default settings in Word, designed to assist the "typical" user of their respective products. There are some default settings in FrameMaker which cause the characters you enter to display differently than you may wish them to. Quotation marks are one such example. For further details, see Quotation marks usage and abusage.

FrameMaker ships with "Smart Quotes" turned on by default. When you type a double quote character, it automatically converts that to either a left or right double quote, and replaces your text. If this is not what you wanted, you'll need to turn off its smarts. See How to turn off "Smart Quotes".

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To turn off "Smart Quotes":

  1. From the menu, select Format | Document | Text options.

    The 'Text Options' window will display:


  2. Uncheck 'Smart Quotes'.
  3. Click Apply.

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Controlling table headers

FM does not provide the ability to insert table headers (table rows which will automatically be duplicated as the top rows whenever a table is slit over row or page breaks) into tables which don't already have one.

Table headers are visible as the top one or more rows separated from the table body by an additional line.

The workaround is to create a new table (with a header row) immediately above or below the existing table (without headers) which will be used to replace the existing table, then to cut and paste the contents of the existing headless table into the new headed table. The heading rows must be transferred separately to the body rows.

Note that when pasting tablerows into a FM table, if you elect to replace the existing contents with the pasted contents, the number of rows must be the same as each other, or the paste operation will produce unexpected results. It is better to elect to insert the additional rows either above or below the current row, then select and delete the current row to leave only the pasted results in the replacement table.

Therefore, it is easiest when creating the new table to only have it consist of one heading row, and one body row, as the table will be resized when the data is transferred over later.

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To create a new table containing a heading row

  1. Place the insertion point at the end of the previous paragraph (the paragraph positioned above where you want the new table to be inserted). This is most likely where the existing table marker already is.
    If not, place the insertion point adjacent to the existing table marker, (which will be somewhere on that or the previous page). If you place it before the existing marker, the new table will be inserted before the exiting table. If you place it after the existing marker, the new table will be inserted after the existing table.
  2. From the menu, select Table | Insert Table.

    The 'Insert Table' window will display:


    It may(?) remember the settings from the previous time this dialog was used.

  3. Make sure that the 'Body Rows' and 'Heading Rows' values are set to one. Adjust the 'Columns' value to suit the number of columns for the table you're duplicating, and set the 'Footing Rows' value to suit your table requirements. If the table has no footer, leave or set its value to zero.
  4. Click Insert.

    The table will display:


    Edit it to suit your purposes using the Table Designer (Ctrl+T).


See Also

Jump across to separate topic FrameMaker Tips | Jump to site home page Lotech Solutions' Tips, Tricks, and Procedures

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