I'm using FrameMaker (2015) in Unstructured Mode and I need some help to understand what I'm doing, as the system seems to want to prevent me from doing the things I want to do. (creation or modification ot tables, to name one thing)
I have inherited this system and 'legacy' documents from my predecessor in 2013 - I had very little training on it at the time (there is no budget allocated for a proper course*) and I have to update these old documents on a regular basis.
The documents in question, are Installation Guides (Assembly Instructions) for Commercial Playground Equipment.
*All of our current documents are created with InDesign, as it seems to be more flexible, but I still have to maintain the Legacy stuff, so I need to understand FrameMaker from that point of view.
It would me nice, if someone could look at one of my documents and talk me through whats what - is there any remote desktop facility with any of the support options in our subscription package, to allow a technical support person to talk me through how to do stuff?
I really struggle with it at times and often end up finding a workaround, which is not ideal, but it gets the job done without a lot of messing around.
By the way, I can't think of all the questions I have right now - they come to me from time to time.
My workflow for creating content in the documents, is;
Artwork created in AutoCAD, Printed to PDF, Imported into FrameMaker.
All text, tables etc., are created within Frame Maker.
First I would pick up a copy of Publishing Fundamentals: Unstructured Framemaker by Matt R. Sullivan - it's your go-to reference bible for FM. Next I would PM people like Barb Binder or Matt himself (Tech Comm Tools) to consult with - their business is training.
Another thought - if your legacy content isn't very long, why not put it all over in InDesign (which you seem to be more comfortable in using)?
I'm an Adobe Certified Instructor on both InDesign and FrameMaker, and offer online training classes as well as online consulting on an hourly basis. I'd be happy to help.
You can hover over my name above this reply to message me or contact me through my website: Adobe Training Classes by Adobe Certified Instructors | Denver & Online.
And thanks, Jeff!
Thanks for your prompt replies - its much appreciated!
I will check out that book in the first instance Jeff.
By the way, I'm not sure of how to convert Framemaker documents to InDesign - I have only used InDesign on 1x Install Guide so far, but my colleague has been using it for years and he swears by it - We are in the process of standardizing on it across the wider company, but I will continue to be the only seat of Framemaker, due to the hundreds of legacy documents. (I think its not worth the hassle to convert them all).
Hi Barb, I glanced at your site and I see that you are running an advanced unstructured course at different times of this year - I will look into that as a possibility (I must have some allocation of training budget this year) ... though, as it is happening on 'eastern tim'e and I am in the UK - if I were to do the course, it would be in the evening for me.
Alternatively, can you advise of any similar counterparts, in this neck of the woods?
Thanks & regards,
There's no magic way to convert FM to ID - usual routes involve an intermediate step of going through things like Word (RTF) or PDF or just simple copy/paste plain text and fix it up later in ID. FM's strength is long-form docs; ID was aimed at shorter more graphic stuff (but is getting better at supporting long-form material). Since you don't mention how long (or how graphically oriented) your current legacy docs are, I can't really offer an opinion on if would be simpler to convert them or just recreate them in ID (since that's your standard) one-by-one as they are needed to be tinkered with.
Hi bneeson75 :
Yes, our class hours are geared towards students in the North American time zones. That said, we have plenty of students attending from Europe. We even get FrameMaker students from Australia—for those folks the training runs from 12:30 am–7:30 am! I've actually had a few Australian students fall asleep at the last break and not make it back for the final 90 minutes.
Here is a list of Adobe training partners in the UK who offer FrameMaker training: Adobe Partner Finder | Adobe Training & Certification. The training centers are required to use an Adobe Certified Instructor, and the only one listed is Philip Odell Associates Limited, so you might try reaching out to Philip directly first.
As for the transition from FrameMaker to InDesign—the best avenue to follow is to save the Fm files as .rft, clean up the files in Word, and then place those files into an InDesign template.
Again, happy to help with training or the transfer of documents from Fm to In if you don't find anything locally. I wish you the best.
Hi Brian, as Jeff mentioned, I have a few FrameMaker reference books for various versions. The FrameMaker reference for Fm 2015 is FrameMaker - Creating and Editing Content. (all are available at http://techcommtools.com/books/ )
I also teach classes and courses. Given your UK time zone, I'd recommend my online course, which would give you access to the content at your convenience, but only has a few (optional) live sessions to attend or to review the recorded sessions.
The optimal course for you (Basic FrameMaker - Working with Content) is slated to start next week and runs for 6 weeks.
However, if you just want access to all the material at once, and don't plan on utilizing the live sessions, there is always a less expensive option available to access the recordings without the live sessions. All the courses come with the most appropriate version of my reference book.
Finally, if you just want to have an online meeting, you can use my contact page to schedule time in as little as 30-minute blocks.
***By the way, you might want to check out placing U3D into your docs instead of the PDF. It makes for some really great options in the published material. I'll be discussing that in an Adobe-sponsored webinar on May 3. The webinar should open for registration in the next week.
I will check out the links tomorrow
Next week might be a bit soort notice for me to start a class - I will look into the options you have listed though and will come back to you with any further questions.
Hi Jeff & Barb,
If you want to see an example of one of our install guides, please go to the following webpage;
... select 'Downloads' from the right-hand side and then click on 'Installation Guide' - which will open the pdf Install guide in your browser. (I save all my output from Framemaker as PDF Files.
A lot of our legacy guides are quite 'wordy', but from 2013/2014 onwards, we have tried to make them as wordless as possible, so that we don't have to deal with translations, for worldwide markets.
Using this one as an example, I can discuss the components / features, I've had ongoing problems with.
By The way, is it necesary to 'mention' you on my replies, so that you will see them? - also, I only seem to be able to reply to my original posts - is that normally how it works on here?
Just found the 'Comment' link - so that answers my last question!
I see you're going the IKEA instruction route ;>) That certainly is a lot of graphics all right. Mentions? Not necessary, we get feeds of forum posts coming into our e-mail.
Yes, we are linked to a Swedish company called HAGS (we have recently rebranded in the UK) and their install Guides are modelled on those of IKEA!
Well, I'm off home now - back at 8am tomorrow.