Good plugins/Utilities for Adobe FrameMaker

The FrameMaker eco system

Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and a other mainstream layout and dtp applications have a vast eco system. There are literally millions of premade InDesign templates, Illustrator stock drawings etc to be found in the vast stock databases. Not so when it comes to the users of Adobe FrameMaker, RoboHelp and Captivate. The user of the Adobe TechComm products have a rather small selection of service providers to choose from and an ever smaller selection of add ons like scripts, stock etc. Especially the lack of creative content is probably a big hindrance for attracting new users.

The Adobe TechComm Partner portal.

Here you can find companies working with Adobe TechComm. The search function on the site is not superduper, but it is there.
https://partners.adobetechcomm.com/

The Adobe FrameMaker support community

https://community.adobe.com/t5/framemaker/ct-p/ct-framemaker?page=1&sort=latest_replies&filter=all&lang=all&tabid=discussions

Adobes latest Adobe Technical Communicatin webinars

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJL3v-Ayk9rS6quc9S9I2vLn_c4tsh3_i

Frameexpert.com

Rick Quatro of Frameexpert.com writes scripts which can help you do all sorts of useful stuff in FrameMaker, like cleaning up all tables or write out the entire list of pargraph styles. His "Archive" script which can archive an entire publication is wonderful!
https://frameexpert.com/store/index.html

Klaus Daube

There may be people who know more about FrameMaker than Klaus Daube, but I rather doubt it. His Compendium on all things FrameMaker is excellent and will answer lots of intricate questions. He is also the developer of scripts and plugins, like the improved toolbar

https://www.daube.ch/docu/fmaker00.html

Here you can find the Compendium and lots of other nice scripts! https://www.daube.ch/docu/fmaker00.html#genlists

TechComm Tools

Matt Sullivan is the author of a great number of books on FrameMaker. They are indispensable reference works and he also
https://techcommtools.com/

Silicon Prairie Software

Siliconprairiesoftware develops small useful plugins for FrameMaker. Lots of goodies!
https://www.siliconprairiesoftware.com/index.html

Leximation

Leximation develops plugins and are - as far as I know - the only ones to do plugins for structured FrameMaker
https://leximation.com/

Westreet Consulting

Weststreet Consulting develops plugins. Some are superspecific and very useful like the Xref wizard which will help you fix broken cross references.
http://www.weststreetconsulting.com/default.html

FrameMaker.dk

is Bjørn Smalbro and the worlds only shop for FrameMaker templates. I do all sorts of technical documentation/design consulting.
https://framemaker.dk/en/shop

Rocky Mountain Training

Rocky Mountain Training and Barb Binder. She does training in FrameMaker, InDesign and lots of other programs. Here you may also find a truly big blog with lots and lots of useful FrameMaker tips and solutions!
https://www.rockymountaintraining.com/

4xScripts

4xScripts creates add-ons for the efficient handling of Adobe FrameMaker. They work with modularization and publication concepts as well as media-oriented implementation. Programming of individual FrameMaker scripts, development and licensing of FrameMaker+XML applications. Consulting, training and support for both the competent and the individual.

https://4xscripts.com/en/

Adobe FrameMaker Template Definition & Workflow

What is an Adobe FrameMaker template?

A FrameMaker template is a file which stores all the formatting information which is used in the file, and which can be utilized for building and formatting an entire book.

Do you need a premade FrameMaker template?

 

The two elements of a FrameMaker template

1: Document Level. FrameMaker stores the formatting on the document level in built-in "property groups".
  • Paragraph formats
  • Character formats
  • Page Layouts (Master Pages)
  • Table Formats
  • Color Definitions
  • Document Properties
  • Reference Pages
  • Variable Definitions
  • Cross Reference Formats
  • Conditional Text Settings
  • Math Definitions
  • Combined Fonts
  • Object Styles

These "groups" (Like for instance the "Paragraph Formats" or the "Object Styles") can be imported from one document to another, And together they form what constitutes as the properties of a FrameMaker template on the document level. All FrameMaker files have their formatting properties organized like this.

You can import the formatting properties from one document to another by using the command File>Import File Options. Point to the file from which you want to import formatting properties.

2. Book Level. Standard elements of a book

Typically you will work with FrameMaker documents as part of a book. You may work with single chapters in a book file or other documents which form parts of a larger book. A book has some standard elements like this:

  • Front page
  • Title + Copyrights
  • Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • Chapters
  • Index
  • List of Tables
  • List of Figures
  • Lists of References. For instance lists of graphics, fonts, paragraphs etc.
  • Lists of Markers. For instance lists of Authors, Subjects etc.

 Some of these files (the files marked with blue in the above lists) are generated files. Meaning that these are files which FrameMaker can generate and populate on the basis of book file settings and settings in the respective files them selves.

The layout and the settings in the generated files, are also to be considered part of the template. So one can have, for instance a table of contents and an index whiche can work as templates for generating other toc's and indexes.

FrameMaker Template Workflow

Adobe FrameMaker Template Workflow

 

Templates for Publishing

FrameMaker can publish to different file formats like PDF, HTML5 etc. While PDF is a file format which draws upon "analog" technology like page size, cmyk colors etc, all the other file formats do not. This implies, that there is a "mapping" of information from analog formatting to HTML formatting. The "recipe" for this conversion is what is stored in the Publish Settings file. Which makes the settings file a component in what we might consider a template.

Where do I store a FrameMaker template?

Framemaker templates are stored in the Adobe folder on your local computer. Here you can find an explanation about how you install your template.

How do I apply a FrameMaker template?

You can either

  • create a new document by using the dialogue from the Welcome Screen "Create New Document from Template"

or

  • import properties from one document to another. Open the document you want to import properties INTO and open the document from which you want to import properties. Click File->Import Properties and select the groups of properties you want to import.

Customer Support for Adobe Technical Communication Suite

Finding Adobe Customer support for Adobe Technical Communiation Suite is a hassle if you are anywhere else than the US. If you are a company holding many licenses you may need access to quick support.

Here are some links to help you:

https://www.adobe.com/dk/products/technicalcommunicationsuite/buying-guide.html#!&sa_src=web-messaging

https://helpx.adobe.com/dk/tech-comm-suite/customer-support.html

If you need to get earlier versions of the subscription version of FrameMaker you can find them here:

https://helpx.adobe.com/framemaker/kb/framemaker-downloads.html

 

Download older versions of Adobe FrameMaker

https://helpx.adobe.com/download-install/kb/downloaded-older-app.html

If you need support in using or troubleshooting Adobe FrameMaker, you can find it here!

How to install an Adobe FrameMaker template

  1. Download the zip file from FrameMaker.dk
  2. Unpack the zip file.
  3. Create an empty folder here, and give it the name of the template: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe FrameMaker 2020\Templates. If it is the template "Anejo" you have downloaded, the URL is going to look like this: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe FrameMaker 2020\Templates\Anejo
  4. Copy the files from the zip file into the new folder.
  5. Now you can access the templates from FrameMakers Welcome Screen. They are going to open as "Untitled.fm" enabling you to save them under a name you have chosen yourself.

  6. Have fun!
  7. .... if you have questions, do please reach out to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.