I have a lot of text blocks repeated in a technical manual, most of them in tables that explain command line options .
What is the best way to handle this? if a block changes I want to change automatically all the repeated blocks.
Is there another resource in Frame maker than variables to do this?
thanks a lot
Yes there is something that will do exactly what you need. If you create a separate FrameMaker document for each reusable text block you can import them into your main FrameMaker document as text insets.
This is a powerful feature, but you do need to manage it carefully from the outset. Use a meaningful naming convention for all of your inset files. That will help to avoid inset duplication and divergence that can happen after several years when more than one author is working on the document set.
FrameMaker gives you control over the formatting of the text inset - whether it uses the source or target formatting catalogs. You can also choose if the text inset update is automatic or on request.
That's is exactly what I was looking for!!
Thaks a lot Ian!
In addition to variables and insets, another way is Cross References.
Where the common text is an entire paragraph at the defining instance, all the other uses are xrefs of format $paratext. The defining instance could be on a reference page, or even in another document.
A couple of disadvantages to the Xref technique are:
1. the generated text will try to be hypertext, even if the link has no where to go, and
2. if the defining instance is a just string, or sentence, and not a whole para, you need to use run-in at the defining instance to make it a para (as FM still doesn't have Xref by $markertext).
Yes it is possible to define a text frame on a reference page and assign a particular paragraph format to the text in it. Thus you find it more easy in the paragraph list of the Variables dialogue. Of course you can reference multiple paragraphs only by inserting multiple cross references at the target location.
It is also possible to use a variable for frequently used text. This may contain character formats and line breaks (\n), but no paragraph ends (\x0a).
When defining variables in MIF, the length of the contents is practically unlimited (Arnis Gubins has tested up to 2510).
However, as soon as you use the GUI with dialogue Special/Insert > Variable… for that variable (even just looking at it), the content will be truncated to 255 (up to FM-7.2) or 1022/1023 (starting with FM-8) characters.
To save characters use </> as replacement for <Default ¶ Font> .