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Adobe FrameMaker Tutorial – Basics

Opening the Program

Click on the “Start” button in the lower-left hand corner of the screen. Move the cursor to the “Programs” folder, and then to the “Word Processing” sub-folder within it. You will find a folder entitled “FrameMaker 5.5” inside of it. Click this folder, and then click the “Adobe FrameMaker 5.5” program icon within it. FrameMaker should begin launching.

There may also be a shortcut to FrameMaker on your desktop. You can double-click this, if available, to also start the program.

Creating a New File

Once FrameMaker is open, bring your cursor up to the “File” menu, and click the “New” button in the drop-down menu (if necessary, also select “Document” if another selection appears).

The “New” dialogue box should appear. Since you will be creating an entirely new document from scratch, click the “Portrait” button at the top of the box, directly to the right of “Use Blank Paper.” “Portrait” format is like a normal sheet of printing paper, that being taller than it is wide.

Saving Your File

Now that you have created your own FrameMaker file, you’ll want to save it for later purposes. Since this is your first time saving, go up to “File” and select “Save As.” Select where you would like to save your file. If you plan on working with a floppy disk and have it inside the drive, you can select the “A” drive to save on. If not, you may select a folder such as “My Documents” to save into for later moving or uploading.

You have now saved your file. At any point during your work, you can save the file’s progress by simply selecting “Save” from the “File” menu. If you are comfortable with such, you may also use the keyboard shortcut of “Ctrl+S” (press and hold the “Control” button on the keyboard, press the “S” letter key,” and let go of both; this is the same as selecting “Save” from the “File” menu).

Be sure to save your progress often, as unexpected errors and crashes can occur at any point in time.

Basic Text Entering

You should see a flashing cursor near the upper-left corner of the new project window in FrameMaker. This should now look very similar to word processing programs you may have used in the past, such as Microsoft Word. Type a few words or sentences, just as you would in Word. They should appear on the screen, just as normal.

Master Pages vs Body Pages

Something you should early on understand is the difference between “Master Pages” and “Body Pages.” Without an understanding of these, it will be extremely difficult to format multiple pages later on in your document.

A “Master Page” is very much what it sounds like: it controls what other pages will look like. At first, we will only have one master page, which is fine. To see what your master page looks like, select the “View” menu, and click “Master Pages.” Any formatting you make on this master page will appear on any “Body Page” associated with this master page. The master page is where you create things such as headers and footers (you will generally place page numbers in the header). Scroll up and down the master page; you will see the areas for headers and footers.

In the header area (which looks like a very long, thin rectangle at the top of the master page), click inside.

We will insert the page number into this master page. To do this, choose the “Format” menu, then “Headers & Footers” (which is where we are working in), and click “Insert Page #.” You will see a “#” symbol appear; the reason you see this and not an actual number is because the master page is not an actual page that will be printed, per say. Since our body pages refer to a master page, every new body page will have its own page number on it.

Let’s switch back to the body page(s), since this is where we will do the majority of our work. To do this, go back up to the “View” menu, and select “Body Pages.” Scroll up to the top of one of your pages; you will see the page number (“1” or “2,” etc) appear at the top, which is where we inserted the page number on the master page.

Later on, we will discuss how to format master pages, create totally new ones, and associate body pages with our new master pages.

Page Display

While working in FrameMaker, you may want to magnify things to see specific areas you are working on in a larger manner. Towards the bottom of the FrameMaker window near the lower right side, you will see a percentage (generally 100%), and two “Z” buttons. You can click the number percentage to bring up a menu that allows you to change the magnification to any specific size you would like, ranging from 25% to 400%. Clicking the small “z” will reduce the screen magnification; clicking the large “Z” will increase the screen magnification.

Basic Text Formatting

Just as in Word, you can use different styles (bold, italic, underline) on words and phrases. Highlight a word by clicking just before the first letter in it, holding the mouse button, and dragging to the end of the word, letting go of the mouse button as you hit the last letter. Go up to the “Format” menu, select “Style,” and pick “Bold.” The word you highlighted should now be in bold (darker, heavier letters). You can also explore the “Style” sub-menu, and make such changes as size and font.

At some point, you’ll want to make several formatting changes to many words, all at the same time. You’re probably thinking that doing so with this method would take an extremely long time; you’re absolutely right. There is a much easier way to do this, which takes advantage of FrameMaker’s purpose of manipulating large files.

Character & Paragraph Tags

A paragraph tag allows you to use a certain style of formatting, give it a name, and be able to apply it at will to any particular paragraph in your document. Any paragraph that has the same paragraph tag applied to it will be formated exactly the same as that other paragraph. Every paragraph you type will have some sort of “tag” associated with it (even ones you won’t be specially formatting).

A character tag allows you to change the style of any particular character (or characters) within a paragraph, without affecting the entire paragraph it is contained within. For example, if you wanted to italicize every occurrence of a Latin word in a medical document, you could apply a special character tag to each occurrence, and they would all format in the same way.

The power of these tags is what they allow you to do after they have been applied. Once you have applied a tag, you can change the format of that tag, apply the changes, and every instance of that tag application within your document will automatically change for you: no extra work necessary!

There are several pre-formatted character and paragraph tags we can experiment with. Open the “Paragraph Catalog” by clicking the paragraph icon button, which is located directly below the close button (the “X”) to the document you are working in; it will also be directly above what appears to be a squiggly letter “f.”

Click inside one of the paragraphs you have typed in your document (you do not need to highlight the entire paragraph; simply clicking inside of it is sufficient). Now, select “Heading1” from the Paragraph Catalog. You’ll notice that the text changes to a larger, bolder format. With these different selections in the catalog, you can format entire sections of your document in different ways to keep a logical and consistent design.

If you want to see exactly what changes have been made by using the paragraph tag, you can view these in the “Paragraph Designer.” Using the “Format” menu, select “Paragraphs” and then “Designer.” You’ll see different tabs (Basic, Default Font, etc). Each of these tabs (and what they include) represent different aspects of the formatting that has been made by using the paragraph tag. After looking around, you can close the Paragraph Designer.

Try similar things with the “Character Catalog,” which is the squiggly “f” directly below the Paragraph Catalog. Open up the Character Catalog, and highlight a word you would like to format.

Now, in the Character Catalog, select “Emphasis.” The word you selected will become italicized. There is a “Character Designer” very similar to the Paragraph Designer, also in the “Format” menu, then under “Characters.” Look around in this designer, as well, before closing it.

Numbered Lists

At some point, you will probably want to create a list of things that are numbered in order. As an example, type six lines of text that could be numbered (such as six different colors). Now, select the first two lines (paragraphs), and click on the “Numbered” tag in the Paragraph Catalog. Skip two lines, select the last two, and also apply the “Numbered” tag to them by clicking it in the Paragraph Catalog. You’ll notice that it continues with numbers three and four with the last two, despite you skipping two lines. If you wanted the numbers to start over at one, you could apply the “Numbered1” paragraph tag, which resets the counting to one.

Controlling Pagination

While creating your document, you may come to a section which begins at the very end of a page, but you would prefer began with its own page. At this point, simply type up enough material on one page so that it fills at least half of a page. Click in a paragraph which you would like to begin with its own page. In the Paragraph Designer (“Format” / “Paragraphs” / “Designer”), click on the “Pagination” tab. Slightly off-center towards the top, you will see the word “Start” with a pull-down menu. Select “Top of Page” from this menu, and click the “Apply” button (in the middle of the Designer, on the left). You will see that paragraph move down to begin its own new page. You can close the Paragraph Designer after doing so.