I'm relatively new to FrameMaker (done the Lynda course, been doing a few practice documents, transitioning our existing IPCs from Word to FrameMaker 11), and I'm running across a fairly niche situation I haven't found a good solution to yet.
Here's an example of our existing IPC table format in Word:
In the table pictured above, there are "Thin" column rules between all of the columns except Fig/Item and the two straddled Effectivity columns. Fairly bog-standard as far as parts catalog tables go, but I'm having a tough time duplicating it in FrameMaker for the following reason:
I am only allowed one exception to the table column format rules, not two or more. Now to be clear, I know about the Custom Ruling and Shading control, but given the number of rows a table like this can have (it can range up to the hundreds) and how often we have to delete/add items to various places in the list, I'd like to avoid them if possible. Is there a way to have two exceptions to the rule instead of one?
No, Charles, you need to work within the pattern you set up in table designer (all column rules are thin but the 3rd column rule is none) or use custom ruling and shading. That's just how it works. (Here is where I remind my students that this is a good time to redesign a table to work within FrameMaker's constraints in Table Designer and don't try to fight it because you won't win.)
That said, you might have a bazillion-row table but we are talking about column rules. You can set up the column rule overrides (quickly via custom ruling and shading) and they will hold up when you add and delete rows. Just select the ITEM Column remove the left rule and repeat for the TO column.
I've resigned myself to working within FrameMaker's toolset and made it work per your instructions but its awkwardness does irk me.
Yes it's familiar and in its own way very powerful, yes it gets the job done but from the perspective of a new arrival, it feels like FrameMaker's interface is suffering a benign neglect that's starting to verge on the malign. There are multiple instances when I've looked up in wonder from my work to say "It can't seriously be utterly unable to do that. Word can do that!"
Growing up, I watched my father use early versions of Aldus PageMaker on his SE/30 during the desktop publishing boom. The programs of that day were understandably awkward and balky in places because they were doing something that had never been done before, and there was really no model for what they were trying to accomplish. But that was nearly thirty years ago. It feels like it's time to modernize.
P.S. Thanks for all of your FrameMaker tutorials on RockyMountainTraining. They've been invaluable in getting me up to speed with the program.
P.P.S. Sorry if you keep getting notifications on this. I'm reflexively hitting CTRL-S, which in a stunning failure of user interface design, this forum interprets as "Post the comment now!")
Yes it's familiar and in its own way very powerful, yes it gets the job done but from the perspective of a new arrival,it feels like FrameMaker's interface is suffering a benign neglect that's starting to verge on the malign. There are multiple instances when I've looked up in wonder from my work to say "It can't seriously be utterly unable to do that. Word can do that!"
Hi Charles: I totally agree with you. I was a PageMaker user/trainer in the 80s, and transitioned to InDesign when PageMaker was retired and InDesign was released. (And to FrameMaker from Ventura Publisher.) FrameMaker actually dates back to the PageMaker era and retains a lot of the 80s quirkiness. (Like the Frame Technology folks having an aversion to an OK button, and using every synonym under the sun: Set, Apply, Update...!).
But, quirkiness and limitations aside, as far as I'm concerned, there is no other application that can handle long document layout like FrameMaker, so that's what I meant about redesigning a document to take advantage of a program's strengths. In the long run, it's well worth it.
P.S. Thank you so much! You are the second person today to tell me the they are benefitting from the Rocky Mountain Training blog. Totally makes my day!
P.P.S. I only got one.