Tips and Tricks: FrameMaker 12 Features Every Author Can Use

Users of Adobe FrameMaker may not know about the newest FrameMaker 12 features Adobe has added to help you make your technical content more useful and accessible to your audiences. To help you get started with a few easy-to-implement things, we’re happy to provide a few quick tips and tricks that even experienced users may not know about. Of course, we’ve got tips for a variety of skill levels/experience.

Tips and Tricks FrameMaker 12-QR CodeQR Codes

User experience: Minimal. Useful for all users.

Those little mottled black and white graphics that let people link to different locations (like the one here that links to my website) are great on printed materials. Add QR codes to marketing materials, business cards, device labels, packaging and instructions for medicine, the front/back cover of manuals, and any other place where you want to make it easy for users to follow links without making them type.

  1. Select the location to add a QR code (this can be just about anywhere in a document, just like importing a graphic).
  2. Select Special > Generate QR Code.
  3. Populate the dialog as needed.

Bonus tip: The QR code is stored as an image, so you can reuse it all over the place.

Tips and Tricks - FM12 backgroundBackground Shading

User experience: Should be familiar with creating a Paragraph Tag. Good for template developers.

Remember the days of inserting a single cell table and then giving that table a background shade? No? You are SO lucky. For those who do… Add shading to an entire paragraph as a background box. In this sample, the blue, yellow, and green backgrounds are set as properties of the paragraph.

  1. Insert an empty paragraph and add text.
  2. Open the Paragraph Designer (Ctrl+m).
  3. Create a new paragraph tag.
  4. Select the Advanced tab (see dialog).
  5. Under Pgf Box select a colour (see dialog).
  6. Click Update All.

Build Better PDF

When you create a PDF document there are all kinds of information that you can add to the output. Some of it is related to bookmarks, and other settings for print, but you can also add metadata. I’ll discuss both FrameMaker 12 features.

Bookmarks

User experienceMinimal. Useful for anyone creating a PDF.

The bookmarks in a PDF are the mini table of contents that appears on the side of the PDF when you open it in Adobe Acrobat. You can configure the content that appears there. Headings are a great start, but review all your content and decide what helps readers find info. Maybe things like a lead-in statement for a task, or things like the table of contents and index pages can also help out.PDF Setup

  1. Open a single file, or a book (if a book, select all the components of the book).
  2. Select Format > Document > PDF Setup.
  3. Select the Bookmarks tab.
  4. Move content between the Include and Don’t Include sections of the dialog.
  5. Click Set.
  6. Save your content as a PDF and review the results.

Adding Metadata to PDF

User experience: Minimal. Useful for anyone creating PDF that needs to be indexed, searched, archived, or managed.

Metadata is additional information about a FrameMaker source file or book that is transferred to the PDF document when converted using the Adobe Distiller.Document Properties

  1. Open a single file, or a book.
  2. Select File > File Info.
  3. Populate the fields as required.
  4. Save the file as an Adobe PDF.
  5. Review the metadata in the file, or as part of the file properties.

To review the metadata open the PDF and select File > Properties, then click the Details tab.

Bernard Aschwanden

Since 1992, Bernard Aschwanden has excelled in technical communications as a trainer, courseware developer, team leader, manager, and as a consultant for Publishing Smarter. Bernard is a professor at Seneca and Humber colleges, sitting on their advisory boards, and helping drive curriculum development. He has written many articles about publishing, and is an active partner with key developers of technical communications tools. Bernard also serves on the Board of Directors for the Society for Technical Communication.

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