Adobe FrameMaker seems like a very difficult program to learn. Should I buy?

New Here ,
Sep 14, 2015

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Every time I've tried to explore Adobe products I get discouraged because the written material and video clips are confusing. I tried using Photoshop on a trial basis once and could not even get into creating something simple - it is not intuitive at all.

Now, I am exploring the possibility of adopting a program to import all our training manuals and PowerPoint presentations in order to make updated versions and create new material. The ease of use and confidence is not flowing toward me with FrameMaker even though the website and YouTube videos trash Microsoft Word.

Who's going to convince me that I should pursue FrameMaker?

Joe

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Advisor , Sep 14, 2015
FieryPantone Advisor , Sep 14, 2015
Who's going to convince me that I should pursue FrameMaker? From what you say, only you :-}OK, so the support material for this large, powerful product may not be up to scratch … but if you see a possible match after considering Error 7103's more specific questions then at least give FM a try. I'll not be the only person in this forum who persisted after the initial shock and now finds FM as comfortable as a third hand – a tool that lets me concentrate on the job I'm doing, rather than battle w...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 14, 2015

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What do you need to do?

How many books/documents are involved? What is their support life and what future edits are anticipated?

What is the workflow (print, web, Help, PDF, and do you need color management)?

Multi-lingual? Might be translated?

What DTP/WP apps are you already competent with?

Since FM9 or so, FM has not had a printed manual, which used to be pretty comprehensive and well indexed; and neither of those are true for the later PDFs I've seen, The best user manual for the product is now a third-party product not even sold by Adobe. I've remarked in the past that this might be consistent with an objective of selling the product only to people who already know how to use it.

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Advisor ,
Sep 14, 2015

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Who's going to convince me that I should pursue FrameMaker?

From what you say, only you :-}

OK, so the support material for this large, powerful product may not be up to scratch … but if you see a possible match after considering Error 7103's more specific questions then at least give FM a try. I'll not be the only person in this forum who persisted after the initial shock and now finds FM as comfortable as a third hand – a tool that lets me concentrate on the job I'm doing, rather than battle with the software I'm using.

My first exposure to FrameMaker was arriving at my desk one Monday morning and finding the box (CDs, yet, and the pretty good hard-copy manual) for 5.5 – with a post-it from my manager "Niels: install … use … learn", and I didn't manage to get any training until FM 7. Later, I was lucky to pick up the task of guiding a colleague who had never used FM before and was suddenly given the task of producing a 600+ page regulatory manual that required many cross-references, referenced graphics, thoughtful use of conditional text … question by question, we managed it, and it wasn't long before the questions changed from "Can FM …" to "How do I …" as my colleague realised he had the tool for the job and could trust it.

This forum is an excellent place for "how do I …" questions, once you decide you want to learn. But tell us a bit more about what you need/hope to achieve first, and the conclusion might be that another environment would suit you better.

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New Here ,
Sep 15, 2015

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Thanks Bob and Fiery for responding. I have 5 volumes of training material that has been created on PowerPoint. The printed material that I assemble the manuals with are found on the "Notes View" of each slide presentation. Each page has a small window of the slide that is on the screen when presenting and the content of what is being presented appears on the same page. I went this direction because Word was too frustrating to work with for what I wanted to do. I need to update and revise all the material now and I thought that perhaps this would be a good time to bring it all over into a better platform which FrameMaker appears to be. However, like other Adobe products that I've tried to use or have seen other people use I feel that the learning curve is huge and the support to learn it is lacking.

I signed up for an Adobe Creative Cloud account where I became totally frustrated and cancelled it because I had no guidance or support from Adobe to learn it. Thus, my hesitation to take on FrameMaker.

Joe

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 15, 2015

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FM is designed for long document management – it came out of the book industry. From what you’re describing, you have little snippets of content attached to your slide decks. How are you wanting to present this? What have you done in the past?

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New Here ,
Sep 15, 2015

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Hi Jeff, I have 5 different training manuals and the "pages-in-the-binder" content has been created using the Notes View of PowerPoint. I project the slides on the screen which basically highlights what is on each page of the manual. I have multiple sentences, paragraphs, activities, pictures... anything that would go into a manual. I'm not convinced that my solution is the best way to create, store and revise manuals. I'm looking for something that FrameMaker seems to offer but I have no idea if I'm going to be happy with it. The sell job has left me with more questions than answers. I will go back to the Adobe website and ask for a representative to take me through it but if they regurgitate from their YouTube tutorials and reading material I will not be a happy camper.

Thanks, Joe

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 15, 2015

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So are you looking at recreating these slides and text as PDFs or building some sort of e-learning/online help environment? I’m still not seeing a great need for FM in your scenario.

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New Here ,
Sep 17, 2015

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Hi again Jeff, I am hearing from Adobe tech representatives that "Captivate" may be more suitable. I'm still leery of what I am seeing so far from Adobe. I'm meeting online tomorrow to have a demonstration but... I'm ready to be disappointed. Not user friendly, not intuitive, too much unfamiliar jargon, too much emphasis toward current and long time users of Adobe products.... I'm not getting a good vibe at all.

Joe

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 17, 2015

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I still wasn’t getting a good handle on how you were going to use the output – without knowing that, it’s really difficult to recommend one tool vs. another.

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New Here ,
Sep 17, 2015

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As posted above: "I have 5 volumes (binders) of training material that has been created on PowerPoint. The printed material that I assemble the manuals with are found on the "Notes View" of each slide presentation. Each page has a small window of the slide that is on the screen when presenting and the content of what is being presented appears on the same page. I went this direction because Word was too frustrating to work with for what I wanted to do. I need to update and revise all the material now and I thought that perhaps this would be a good time to bring it all over into a better platform which FrameMaker appears to be."

Joe

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 17, 2015

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Yes, I got that part – are you printing these out to be handed out? Are you wanting to host them on the Internet? Are you wanting to create an eLearning course? What’s the rationale for leaving PowerPoint? That sort of thing.

In my case, for one project that I document, we had long legacy documents in Word (hundreds of pages) that we created PDFs from and shipped out on a CD. We wanted to host the content in a WebHelp format packaged with our software. We still needed to create good-looking PDFs for the Sales guys to wave around in their pitches, so we settled on using the Tech Comm Suite to put all the content in FM where we could create PDFs from and then bring the FM content over to RoboHelp to create WebHelp output.

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New Here ,
Sep 17, 2015

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Thanks Jeff, I guess I'm at a crossroads of sorts. I need to have a mix of printed materials, presentations to match and create ways to incorporate e-learning. In a pinch PowerPoint has been an adequate platform - way easier than MS Word or Publisher. My role as a Trainer and Developer of courses and materials to internal staff needs to match the increased demands of what learners need. I want to ensure I am exploring options that are a viable choices. I love to hear how others use these types of programs and their experiences so that I can direct myself to the correct "destination".

Joe

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 15, 2015

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re: ... training material that has been created on PowerPoint. The printed material that I assemble the manuals with are found on the "Notes View" of each"Notes View" of each slide presentation.

Having learned FM in the early 1990s, I've been using it for all sorts of things (first project was CD-ROM label art). It has been my sole tool for slide presentations the entire time, to the extent that I've never been tempted to even play with PPT, or Impress for that matter. I normally do slides on letter size landscape, with the presenter notes as Conditional Text on facing pages, so it's easy to render both presenter and audience PDFs. Cross-references and external links are straightforward. If all I had to do was slides, and needed to be more artsy-fartsy, I might look at InDesign, but I'm sure the learning curve is just as steep (as is likely the case for Adobe's competitors in the DTP and page layout spaces).

re: I signed up for an Adobe Creative Cloud account where I became totally frustrated and cancelled it because I had no guidance or support from Adobe to learn it. Thus, my hesitation to take on FrameMaker.

Matt Sullivan's FM11 book has a look-inside feature on Amazon. I see that Adobe has a Classroom in a Book for FM11. Nothing yet for FM13 (FM2015).

JC: FM is designed for long document management – it came out of the book industry.

FM came out of academia. I suspect that Corfield didn't want to pay for Interleaf, or put up with the frustration and workload of troff.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 15, 2015

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Sorry Bob, my mistake. Matt is working on a new version of his manual right now.

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Adobe Employee ,
Jan 10, 2016

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I'm not sure, if FrameMaker is the right choice here, to be honest. The point is, FrameMaker is more for "structured" information (based, or based not on XML). I'm confident that you will not become happy with FrameMaker when it comes to creating new pieces of training when you come from PowerPoint. PowerPoint and FrameMaker are simply completely different tools with completely different approaches.

But maybe you want to have a look at the new Adobe Captivate Prime.

You can get a first idea of it here:

Cheers,

*Stefan.

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