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FM 2017: Possible to create new variable from existing?

Community Beginner ,
Nov 22, 2017

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Prior to FM 2017, we could open the Edit Variable dialog box, and it had two options: could either edit the existing variable, or use the edit to create a new variable (~ make from).

That feature seems to have been removed. The only method I see for creating new ones is the Add button , Creating variables that have similar definitions is now quite TEDIOUS.

Did I miss something? Is it hiding somewhere? (Already poked around FM and Google searched, and did a brief search through the answer database here.)

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FM 2017: Possible to create new variable from existing?

Community Beginner ,
Nov 22, 2017

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Prior to FM 2017, we could open the Edit Variable dialog box, and it had two options: could either edit the existing variable, or use the edit to create a new variable (~ make from).

That feature seems to have been removed. The only method I see for creating new ones is the Add button , Creating variables that have similar definitions is now quite TEDIOUS.

Did I miss something? Is it hiding somewhere? (Already poked around FM and Google searched, and did a brief search through the answer database here.)

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Nov 22, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 22, 2017

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I haven't had that specific task, so I never noticed the change...

I'd consider copy/paste within a MIF file for your tedious variable creation. You'd have the added advantage of seeing the definitions all in one screen, rather than hunting and pecking through the catalog.

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Nov 22, 2017 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 22, 2017

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Not sure how that's doable…I'd still be using FM 2017 to edit the MIF.

I may install one of my older copies of FM, though, create all my makefrom variables, and then open the file in FM 2017 as a workaround.

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Nov 22, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 22, 2017

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IIRC MIF can be edited in your text editor (outside of FM entirely)

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Nov 22, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 22, 2017

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Save your file as MIF, open in a text editor (you can use Fm, but it's more difficult) and strip out everything but the variable definition.

Copy and Paste the definition you want, make changes as needed, then save the MIF file.

Opening the MIF file into Fm will give you a file from which you can import just the variables.

(Further detail in Appendix F of FrameMaker - Working with Content)

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Nov 22, 2017 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 22, 2017

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Okay, so I tried that. The variable definition includes a "unique" code, which differs by variable. I'm assuming that's set mathematically somehow by FM, and I don't feel comfortable reusing another variable's unique code.

tbh, I'm wondering whether Adobe realizes they removed the capability (or removed it because too many people complained of accidentally overwriting their var defs with new content).

For now, I will use my tedious workaround (copy/paste the two fields from Notepad into FM's add dialog box). I've added it to my list of FM2017 anomailies that didn't exist in prior versions.

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Nov 22, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 22, 2017

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I don't understand what you mean by a unique code.
Can you post the MIF lines for the variable definition here?

When I save to MIF I get the following lines:

<VariableFormat

  <VariableName `UserVariableTest'>

  <VariableDef `Test of User Variable'>

> # end of VariableFormat

I can copy/paste these four lines and edit VariableName and VariableDef as needed to rapidly create variables as needed.

<VariableFormat

  <VariableName `UserVariableTest'>

  <VariableDef `Test of User Variable'>

> # end of VariableFormat

<VariableFormat

  <VariableName `UserVariableTest New'>

  <VariableDef `Test of User Variable with modified content'>

> # end of VariableFormat


But you're saying that Fm is adding the unique code when you create the variable?

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Nov 22, 2017 0
Community Beginner ,
Nov 22, 2017

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Hi Matt,

Well, of course when I overwrote my MIF file (because I'd trashed the prior contents playing around to see how much to strip it down), the MIF coding is just like you've shown. What I was seeing, however, as part of the <Variable Format> block had a line that indicated "Unique" and ~ an 8-digit number.

Every time I tried it, before you asked. Good grief. Gremlins.

Okay, now that it's behaving, and I'm seeing what (normal ) people are seeing, I'll give it a spin.

Result: I edited the MIF and then opened it in FM, and the file has my new vars. A little tedious still, but slightly faster than my workaround. YAY. Thanks.

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Nov 22, 2017 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 23, 2017

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Hi Matt,

You wrote:

Save your file as MIF, open in a text editor (you can use Fm, but it's more difficult) and strip out everything but the variable definition.

Copy and Paste the definition you want, make changes as needed, then save the MIF file.

Opening the MIF file into Fm will give you a file from which you can import just the variables.

However, that’s dangerous! When you open a MIF snippet with just a few variables, FrameMaker will create a new Framemaker file and create all the other default variables with their default values.

When you import all variables of your open MIF snippet file, you will overwrite your values.

It’s safe to import a MIF snippet as File (File | Import | File, Copy into document) into one of your files in a book.

Then only the variables will be overwritten which are in the MIF snippet.

Then you can import the variables of this file into all the other files of your book.

Best regards

Winfried

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Nov 23, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 23, 2017

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Hi Winfried,

In my experience, the default variables don't get added to the file until you save the MIF file after opening, thus default variables will not be overriden.

Are you seeing that this is not correct?

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Nov 23, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 24, 2017

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Hi Matt,

Yes. I just tested it.

Create a MIF snippet with some variables, but without the Table Continuation variable.

Then create a new file (e.g. file.fm) with the Table Contination variable set to something different from regular language (e.g. xxxx).

Then double-click the MIF snippet to open it. Do not save it (as you suggested).

Then import its variables into the other file file.fm.

You will notice that your xxxx change to the default value of your FrameMaker language (e.g. Continued), although you had not set this value in your MIF snippet.

Best regards

Winfried

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Nov 24, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 28, 2017

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Prior to FM 2017, we could open the Edit Variable dialog box, and it had two options: could either edit the existing variable, or use the edit to create a new variable (~ make from).

Hi Trish:

f you feel like requesting a return to the old behavior would be helpful, you can do so with the link below, and then if you let us know, I'll happily vote for it. I train new users and the work-around isn't something most Fm newbies would want to take on.

Tracker

~Barb

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Nov 28, 2017 0