FrameMaker 6 : Beyond the Basics

FrameMaker 6 : Beyond the Basics

by Lisa Jahred

Framemaker 6: Beyond the Basics discusses holistic approaches that save time, solve problems globally, and make creative uses of FrameMaker's features. Since FrameMaker is intended for large document creation, this approach is advantageous, even critical. Through real-world scenarios, the book explores typical tasks technical document creators

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Framemaker 6: Beyond the Basics discusses holistic approaches that save time, solve problems globally, and make creative uses of FrameMaker's features. Since FrameMaker is intended for large document creation, this approach is advantageous, even critical. Through real-world scenarios, the book explores typical tasks technical document creators perform daily. Each chapter provides principles and techniques needed to perform each task, along with tips on best practices and how to achieve repeatable outcomes. Rather than covering everything about the software, the book focuses on the challenges FrameMaker users face, helping them apply efficient, innovative solutions.

Editorial Reviews

A handbook on the use of the document-publishing features of the FrameMaker software, written for intermediate to advanced users. The focus is on allowing users who already use FrameMaker on a daily basis to optimize the advantages of the software. Topics include the automation of texts, tabs, graphics, and numbering; the use of headers and footers; the integration of cross references; the use of tables; building book files; table of contents architecture; conditional text; document conversion; and common problems. The text is written from a Windows perspective. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

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Chapter 4
Headers and Footers

You see them in books, magazines, manuals, and guides. Just about everything you read contains those useful bits of information that appear at the top and bottom of each page. Headers and footers, the great navagation tools of any document, provide information about where you are in a document and about the document itself.

You might be creating FrameMaker document headers and footers or simply modifying existing '~ ones. You might just be the end user of a FrameMaker template with headers and footers already built in. Whatever your role, this chapter is for you.

This chapter covers the practical uses of headers and footers, what they're made of, and how they work together with FrameMaker's interrelated parts. This chapter also examines the specifics of building, modifying, and using headers and footers to achieve complex tasks. It finally describes some of the pitfalls and tricks in dealing with them.

You might have discovered that some header and footer types in FrameMaker can be complicated or confusing. By reading this chapter, you gain important inside information that enables you to implement these concepts into your everyday tasks with ease. You might even have some fun.

Practical Uses

Typically, headers and footers are displayed on every page throughout a document to facilitate navigation or provide other information about a document. Although you can display just about any type of text or graphics in headers and footers, you should keep every reader's task in focus as you decide what to include. The following helpful items are commonly placed in headers and footers:
  • Page number
  • Chapter number and title
  • Section number and title
  • Document title
  • Revision date or number
  • Company or author information

The Home of Headers and Footers

Although you can construct headers and footers in many different ways, there is only one location in which they reside.

Headers and footers only live on FrameMaker's master pages. Simply put, the job of a master page is to provide the page layout and any background information that you want to appear on each page. That background information includes headers and footers. As you create and work with headers and footers in FrameMaker documents, you will probably spend most of your time with the master pages.

What Headers and Footers Are Made Of

The more you understand about what headers and footers are made of, and how they work within FrameMaker, the easier it is for you to accomplish tasks that utilize these features. It's important to take a quick tour of what's inside FrameMaker's headers and footers before moving on to more in-depth explanations and real-world examples.

Headers and footers can comprise any combination of hard-typed text, graphics, and FrameMaker variables. These elements are discussed in more detail in the following subsections.

Hard-Typed Text

A simple way to display information in headers or footers is just to type text directly into the header or footer of your document. However, this method neglects FrameMaker's powerful global-updating features. For example, if you type the document title in the header of several master pages in your document, and you need to make a change later, you have to edit all the occurrences of that document title on each master page.

Although this method does not work well for long, complicated documents, you should consider using it for short, one-page memos that use one master page. You can also use this method in parts of the header and footer that do not change, such as the word "Chapter" in "Chapter 3".


You can import or create graphics (such as a company logo) in headers and footers by using the same methods as in other parts of your document. If you place graphics into headers and footers, these graphics will be displayed on all body pages in your document that correspond to the particular master pages that contain the graphics. Again, keep in mind that, if you want to make a change, you must change each occurrence of the graphic on master pages.

Simple System Variables

FrameMaker provides system variables for use in headers and footers. System variables perform a variety of functions, and they update themselves based on information generated by the system. These type of system variables include the following:

  • Page number and page count
  • Current date, creation date, and revision date
  • Filename (short) and filename (long) (the full path)
These system variables are easy to include in a document.

Let's look at how a simple system variable, such as a page number, works. You can implement this clever feature in your document by viewing the master page and selecting the page number variable from a menu to insert it into the header or footer. When viewed on the master page, the page number has no fixed quantitative value and is represented by a pound sign (#). When viewed on body pages, the page number reveals its quantitative value, automatically incrementing by 1 from page to page.

That's all there is to it. Simple system variables are easy to use because you don't have to think about them that much. You can read more on this topic in the section "Starting with the Easy Stuff" on page 82.

Medium-Strength System Variables

FrameMaker user variables fall under the medium-strength variety They require a bit more effort than simple variables. User variables enable you to define fixed headers and footers that don't change often. For example, you can create a user variable to contain a document title. Then insert that variable in the header area on several master pages used in your document. The document title will be displayed in the header, both on the body pages and the corresponding master pages.

Now suppose that you decide to change the document title. In contrast to hard-typed text, when you change information stored in a user variable, you can simply change the variable definition in one place, and all occurrences of that variable update automatically-what a great time-saver.

For further exploration and some real-world examples of medium-strength variables, see the section "Working with Fixed Headers and Footers That Rarely Change" on page 84.

Industrial-Strength System Variables

FrameMaker provides more robust and powerful variables for use in headers and footers that vary from page to page in your document. Some of these include the following:

  • Chapter number and title
  • Subheading number and title
  • Dictionary-style headers
These industrial-strength variables are more complicated than the other varieties. To work correctly when viewed on document pages, they assume a value that relies on underlying detail elsewhere in the document. But what does that really mean?

These powerful variables are made up of "containers" that store references to particular paragraph tags. Information in paragraphs in your document that have the particular paragraph tags specified by the containers is automatically displayed in the header. Based on each occurrence of content with those paragraph tags, the header automatically changes from page to page.

If you can't wait to start using these powerful variables, skip to the section "Working with Varying Headers and Footers" on page 90. Otherwise, to learn more about using the simpler system variables, read the next section.....

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Meet the Author

An Adobe Certified FrameMaker expert, Lisa Jahred has been a FrameMaker power user since 1991. She has developed and conducted customized FrameMaker training to corporate clientele, carried out multi-language publishing projects nationally and internationally, developed hundreds of FrameMaker templates for various companies, and created interior book designs and templates for technical and creative nonfiction titles.

Her background also includes working on a variety of worldwide media communication projects, technical writing and working with Adobe Acrobat. She worked closely with Frame Technology Corporation (original developer of FrameMaker) in the early 1990s to establish the FrameMaker User Network in the Los Angeles area.

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