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Framemaker 5.5.6 for Dummies Paperback – October, 1999

3.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1
FrameMaker: The Long Document's Best Friend In This Chapter Deciding whether FrameMaker is for you Working with its word-processing capabilities Introducing features that make FrameMaker special Understanding templates

If you want to create a great oil painting, you probably would not use a piano. Okay, in today's modern art you just might, but bear with me here. The point is that you need to choose the right tool for the right job.   FrameMaker Is for You If...

FrameMaker is a powerful, complex piece of document processing software that is for you if your documents

Are long

Need structure

Need consistency

Use cross-references

Have tables of contents

Have indexes

Have running headers and footers

Are delivered in multiple formats (print and online)

Have lots of graphics

Are revised often

Basically, FrameMaker is for you if you create long documents, such as books, technical manuals, and dissertations. FrameMaker includes many features that help you create documents that are consistent from chapter to chapter. For example, you can set up FrameMaker to grab the title of the current chapter and put that in the header automatically. You only have to touch the header once  to tell FrameMaker what to include there. After that, the chapter title in the header is updated every time you start a new chapter.

FrameMaker is probably not for you if your documents

Are highly designed with little consistency from page to page

Do not need structure or consistency

For these cases, you should probably choose a visual page layout tool, such as PageMaker or QuarkXPress (or perhaps Adobe's new InDesign).

FrameMaker has a reputation for being difficult to learn. This is partly because it's packed with powerful features. This book gets you started with the easier, more familiar stuff, such as word-processing features, and then gently launches you into more advanced information. The old 80/20 rule applies: 80 percent is easy to learn and includes the basics, like general word processing. The other 20 percent is where you find the real power, and you can learn that as you go.   Word Processing in FrameMaker

FrameMaker offers the basic word-processing features that you expect (see Chapters 2 and 3 for details). You may find, though, that FrameMaker is a bit more Spartan than some word processors. It does not, for example, support drag-and-drop editing. To me, it's a small price to pay for the power that FrameMaker offers in other areas.   FrameMaker on Multiple Platforms

As you flip through this book, you'll see that I've included screen shots from Windows, Macintosh, and UNIX environments. FrameMaker works almost identically across platforms, so all the knowledge you acquire on the Windows version can be transferred immediately to the UNIX or Macintosh version (or the other way around).

Furthermore, the data files in FrameMaker transfer seamlessly from one platform to another. You may have an occasional font problem or a graphic that works on one platform but not another, but the FrameMaker content is not a problem.   Special Features in FrameMaker

FrameMaker includes lots of powerful features that help automate book production: cross-references, indexes, book paginations, tables of contents, variables, cross-reference, and more. Each of these items has its own chapter (except for books, which has a whole part!). Just jump in with the features that you need most!   Template Tantrum

FrameMaker can help you create a set of documents that is completely consistent  the documents use the same numbering style, same type of headers and footers, same formatting for the text, same lines and spacing in the tables, and more.

You accomplish all of this using FrameMaker's formatting catalogs. Each major item in FrameMaker, such as paragraphs, characters, tables, and cross-references, has a list of formats. You can easily transfer formats from one document to another. This is a simple statement, but it means that you can set up the appearance of your pages in one document and then transfer that appearance to a completely different document.

These formatting catalogs are the basic feature that separates FrameMaker from other publishing tools. Most word processors nowadays have formats defined for paragraphs (often called style sheets), but FrameMaker uses formatting catalogs for lots of things, including the following items:




Master pages

Content of headers and footers

Formatting for tables of contents and indexes


These extensive formatting catalogs, which "live" in each document, can be copied from one document to another. More importantly, you can overwrite the definitions in one file with definitions from another file (provided that the style names are the same). This makes it possible to maintain your formatting catalogs in a template file and periodically import the template into your documents to keep them consistent.


Unlike some other desktop publishing packages and word processors, FrameMaker files don't have an external template file attached to the FrameMaker file. Instead, a complete copy of the formatting information is maintained in each file. You don't have to worry about keeping track of a separate template file to maintain the formatting in your files.

Any file can be used as a template, but to simplify maintenance (and prevent rogue formats from sneaking in), it's probably a good idea to create an official template file and make some rules about who's allowed to update it. Better yet, lock it up in a safe place where only the designated template owner has access to the file.


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Product Details

  • Series: For Dummies
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc (Computers) (October 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764506374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764506376
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,194,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Well done! FrameMaker 5.5.6 is a solid, must-have book for beginner and intermediate FrameMaker users. I continue to be surprised at the lack of third-party books for this popular tool for writers, and this book is long overdue. Kudos to IDG and Ms. O'Keefe for putting this book together.
Even after reading the book, cover-to-cover, FrameMaker for Dummies still strikes me as an oxymoron? Why? Because, if you compare FrameMaker to word processors, as people are apt to do, FrameMaker has a high learning curve (not so compared to real competing products, such as Interleaf and Ventura), such that folks using FrameMaker are definitely not Dummies.
What doesn't this book do well? Let me offer my negative opinions, to get them out of the way. This book is not a substitute for Adobe's valuable FrameMaker Classroom in a Book. Dummies is definitely a reference tome, if you really want to get up and running, I recommend the tutorial-based Classroom in a Book *as well as* Dummies. Dummies might not be for you if you are an advanced or very experienced FrameMaker user (although, the appendices are worth a look-see and I recommend that it is still a handy reference), but neither is the book targeted at you (nor is there *any* book targeted at the advanced FrameMaker user, aside from Adobe's collage of printed and online information). Despite the fact that this *is* a reference book, I was still looking for, and missing, an overall flow from page setup through styles and chapter and book creation and maybe was looking for a little smoother organization and transition, from subject to subject and chapter to chapter. I'm probably being way too picky here, because this is a reference book.
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Format: Paperback
It's embarrassing to be overjoyed about the publication of a software book, especially one with the word "dummies" on the cover. But until now, FrameMaker users have had no good reference text at all. We've been struggling to decipher Adobe's online help files, and we've been solving each other's problems through online mailing lists and local FrameMaker Users Network meetings. It's ridiculous that a tool as widely used as Frame has had no comprehensive reference. Every Frame user should nab a copy of FrameMaker for Dummies before it sells out.
If you're a beginning Framer, be certain to start with pages 7 - 10, which explain why you want to fiddle with this complicated & powerful tool in the first place. Frame has a long learning curve, but I think mine would have been much shorter if I'd had this book. And if you feel like a real dummy because you don't understand everything that Frame can do, don't worry - no one needs or understands it all. Except, evidently, for O'Keefe, but not all of us aspire to that level of geek wisdom.
As an experienced Framer I've found the answers to four questions so far by using the index, and the book saved me at least 2 hours on one problem alone (which paid for the book right there, with cash left over for therapy). "Tip" icons and question sidebars hold the promise of knowledge I don't even know to look for. The appendices have great information, especially Appendix B: Online Resources.
Truthfully, I'd probably be thrilled to get any book on Frame. I'm especially glad this one is easily referenced, well written, and useful.
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By A Customer on February 28, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased the "Adobe FrameMaker Classroom in a Book", faithfully completed all the lessons, then tried to create my first document. I was completely lost within fifteen minutes. I grumpily logged on to Amazon and ordered "FrameMaker for Dummies" and all I have to say is, "Ohhhhhh, now I get it."
One of my complaints about "Classroom in a Book" was that it worked from existing documents, rather complex ones at that. It did not start at the logical starting point, creating a new document. The "Dummies" book does a better job with this. Chapter 2 starts with the steps needed to create a new document. Through chapter 7, the "Dummies" book focuses on functions available in most word processing programs. If you are a modestly advanced word processor user, this material will be comfortably familiar. In Chapter 8 "Dummies" starts to delve into features unique to FrameMaker, covering functions completely ignored by "Classroom", such as creating document templates.
My other complaint about "Classroom in a Book" is that it seldom explains why. It just says, "Select the zot option." I kept whining, "Why? What are these other options? What happens if I click this?" FrameMaker for Dummies answered all those questions. It takes a reference manual approach. Each dialogue box has a corresponding table listing each option and its function. Here and there the explanations are not absolutely thorough. An option may be described as, "This option turns on the whatsit socket." Perhaps readers with a background in printing and publishing know what the whatsit socket is, but I don't.
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