Adobe FrameMaker to Adobe InDesign conversion

So you want to convert your Adobe FrameMaker documents to Adobe InDesign documents?...

Finding good Adobe FrameMaker users can be difficult, but good InDesign users are ubiquitous. Adobe InDesign is taught in a lot of graphic design schools and has become a much used and very versatile tool for all sorts of publications ranging from brochures to big manuals and fiction/non fiction books. Users of FrameMaker are often to be found in the technical communication community

which is much smaller than that of graphic designers.

Convert FrameMaker documents to InDesign

FrameMaker and InDesign are very different creatures. FrameMaker is essentially born as a text editor. A very advanced text editor, but the manner in which documents are structured are very different from the manner in which most InDesign documents are structured.

Save FrameMaker as Indesign

FrameMaker documents have a unique feature called references pages, which are used for storing graphics and codes for generated files. The reference pages feature is unique for FrameMaker and you won't find it any other layout program. Making it difficult to convert into a parallel feature in, for instance, InDesign

FrameMaker documents (in the unstructured FrameMaker version) are usually constructed as one text flow with images and tables anchored into the textflow at the appropriate places. Document information like product names, company names, version numbering etc is made using variables.

InDesign documents often take a more layout centric approach with multiple text frames and images/table residing as "loose" elements which needs to be moved around when the text reflows.

How can you convert your FrameMaker documents to InDesign documents?

As explained above - FrameMaker documents and InDesign documents are very different so a 1:1 document conversion is not possible. Currently there are three main options:

  1. Use DTP Tools Mif Filter.
  2. Convert your FrameMaker documents to RTF and redesign using InDesign
  3. Publish your FrameMaker documents as PDF. Export the PDF to Word and redesign using InDesign

1: DTP Tools Mif Filter works...

The DTP Tools Mif filter will allow you to open FrameMaker documents saved as mif files in InDesign. The filter comes with some neat preferences for the conversion of variables, cross references etc.

The downside of the MIF filter approach is that the resulting documents are messy. MIF Filter has trouble converting running headers and footer to proper master page desigs and images/tables tend to turn into a layout mess as well. Object styles are not converted and you may easily end up spending a vast amount of time cleaning up the documents.

2: Save your FrameMaker documents to RTF and redesign using InDesign

This option is in most instances to be preferred. FrameMaker can save your documents as RTF 1.9. RTF files can placed/imported into InDesign. This will leave you with the work of recreating the layout in InDesign, but you will have some options for mapping the templates heading to new styles in InDesign

3: Publish your FrameMaker documents as PDF. Export the PDF to Word and redesign using InDesign

Acrobat makes an excellent job of exporting to Microsoft Word. Essentially this approach willl give you the options af the RTF route above can help you convert your framemaker documents to Indesign documents

At we have worked professionally with FrameMaker since 1995 and with InDesign since it creation i 1999.

We can help you convert your FrameMaker documents to InDesign in a professional manner where we adhere to the logics of the chosen templates. Outsourcing the conversion of multiple documents to us, will save you vast amounts of frustration and time. Reach out to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let us take a look at the files and come up with a qoute-