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Functional Equivalent of Word's "Master Document?"

New Here ,
Jun 24, 2017

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Is there a way to create a "Master Document" (along the lines of a Master Document in Word) such that the master document will automatically import dozens of smaller FM files at specific places in the master document to form a new composite document.

The specific use-case is where you have a technical manual for a product and want to include several (sometimes dozens) of sections that provide generic descriptions of some features, intermingled with product-specific sections. So you'd want to be able to create a skeletal "master document" and then "render" it and have it import all the pre-fabricated sections from separate files.

Unfortunately Word's master documents have been unreliable for years -- even to the point where they damage the sub-documents during the process of assembling the master document. There be dragons...

So what I'm looking for is something like C/C++'s #include function, except that in this case, the included material is shown.

It might exist in FM, but I've not been able to find it -- I do know about conditional text and variables but at first blush they are not an elegant solution to the problem as each prefabricated section needs to exist as a separate file.

Assembling the "master document" by hand is, of course, feasible, but is likely to induce insanity after several iterations!

Anyone solved this problem, perchance?

Cheers

Andy

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Bob_Niland | Adobe Community Professional

The equivalent concept in FM might be Text Insets. This may be found to have some limitations (e.g. Xrefs into or out of the insets).

Where the #included content doesn't mind starting a new page, having separate .book files that pull in the various shared files also works.

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Functional Equivalent of Word's "Master Document?"

New Here ,
Jun 24, 2017

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Is there a way to create a "Master Document" (along the lines of a Master Document in Word) such that the master document will automatically import dozens of smaller FM files at specific places in the master document to form a new composite document.

The specific use-case is where you have a technical manual for a product and want to include several (sometimes dozens) of sections that provide generic descriptions of some features, intermingled with product-specific sections. So you'd want to be able to create a skeletal "master document" and then "render" it and have it import all the pre-fabricated sections from separate files.

Unfortunately Word's master documents have been unreliable for years -- even to the point where they damage the sub-documents during the process of assembling the master document. There be dragons...

So what I'm looking for is something like C/C++'s #include function, except that in this case, the included material is shown.

It might exist in FM, but I've not been able to find it -- I do know about conditional text and variables but at first blush they are not an elegant solution to the problem as each prefabricated section needs to exist as a separate file.

Assembling the "master document" by hand is, of course, feasible, but is likely to induce insanity after several iterations!

Anyone solved this problem, perchance?

Cheers

Andy

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by Bob_Niland | Adobe Community Professional

The equivalent concept in FM might be Text Insets. This may be found to have some limitations (e.g. Xrefs into or out of the insets).

Where the #included content doesn't mind starting a new page, having separate .book files that pull in the various shared files also works.

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Jun 24, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 25, 2017

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The equivalent concept in FM might be Text Insets. This may be found to have some limitations (e.g. Xrefs into or out of the insets).

Where the #included content doesn't mind starting a new page, having separate .book files that pull in the various shared files also works.

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Jun 25, 2017 0
New Here ,
Jun 25, 2017

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Thanks, Bob. Those sound like viable things with with to experiment -- I'll research them further and post again if they solve the problem without ghastly side-effects and/or restrictions.

Cheers

Andy

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Jun 25, 2017 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 26, 2017

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You could also look over in the Structured FM world - what you describe sounds a lot like how structured output is created.

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Jun 26, 2017 0