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how to import text insets via variables?

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Sep 13, 2019

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Hi,

I would like to extend my user manual template using text insets and variables for single sourcing into different languages. In other words, what I am trying to explain is a book with n chapters where each chapter is available in few different languages. I would like then to create a book whose n chapters (chapter_1 to chapter_n) are blank templates. Then using text insets, I can import the corresponding texts into each individual chapter. However, I would like to have only one book for all the different languages that I have. To achieve this, I intend to refer to the corresponding fm files using a "lang" variable. For instance, into chapter_1, I would like to import: chapter_1_eng.fm and into chapter_2: chapter_2_eng.fm etc. Then for German that would be chapter_1_ger.fm for chapter_1 and chapter_2_ger.fm for chapter_2. This way, I can set the value of the lang variable to the corresponding language after opeining the book and hopefully get the correct chapter contents. So, all I would need to know is how to combine the lang variable, with the inserted filenames.

 

Sorry for the long story.

 

Cheers,

Hadi

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how to import text insets via variables?

Contributor ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Hi,

I would like to extend my user manual template using text insets and variables for single sourcing into different languages. In other words, what I am trying to explain is a book with n chapters where each chapter is available in few different languages. I would like then to create a book whose n chapters (chapter_1 to chapter_n) are blank templates. Then using text insets, I can import the corresponding texts into each individual chapter. However, I would like to have only one book for all the different languages that I have. To achieve this, I intend to refer to the corresponding fm files using a "lang" variable. For instance, into chapter_1, I would like to import: chapter_1_eng.fm and into chapter_2: chapter_2_eng.fm etc. Then for German that would be chapter_1_ger.fm for chapter_1 and chapter_2_ger.fm for chapter_2. This way, I can set the value of the lang variable to the corresponding language after opeining the book and hopefully get the correct chapter contents. So, all I would need to know is how to combine the lang variable, with the inserted filenames.

 

Sorry for the long story.

 

Cheers,

Hadi

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Structured

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Sep 13, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Why one book with all languages? Wouldn't it be easier to manage if you had separate books for each language?

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Sep 13, 2019 0
Contributor ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Hi Jeff, That would be more elegant and easier to manage if this could be done. As we have many products and for each product many languages. We already decided to create a separate book for each product but not for every language.

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Sep 13, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 13, 2019

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If I understand you correctly, what you are saying is that you want to create a book file with multiple chapter files that are empty of content. You want to set the value of a variable to a specific language, and then you want FrameMaker to automatically import files as text insets based on the variable's contents across multiple files in the book.

 

You cannot control which files are imported as insets by use of a variable.

 

What you might be able to do instead is set up conditions that control which text inset is visible. This would result in a file that has all of the languages imported as separate insets, with each inset conditionaled to its own language. Then you can hide all the languages not wanted by hiding the conditions and the only inset visible would be the language you want to see.

 

I seem to recall that there can be some oddities that happen with text insets and conditions, and I haven't worked with text insets so I can't help much on that aspect.

 

If you're determined to use variables to control this, it's possible you could do this using a script, and there are people on the boards who write scripts for a living that you can talk to about this. 

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Sep 13, 2019 2
Contributor ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Yep, you understood me correctly and I like your solution of adding all the languages using text insets and show only one language using a condition. Would this be done using the Conditional Tags pod?

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Sep 13, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Yes, it would. Set up a condition for each language.

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Sep 13, 2019 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Bother this stupid reply interface. Can't do paragraphs in it. So.

(1) Set up a condition for each language.

(2) Import each text inset into the file. I think you can do them on separate lines so it's easy to select the individual anchors, but you might have to have all the anchors on the same line; in which case, make sure you have a couple spaces between anchor symbols so they're easier to select.

(3) Select an inset anchor and apply the condition to the anchor.

(4) Repeat as necessary.

(5) Turn off all but one condition and see if it looks like what you want.

(6) Test it with all conditions, because, as I said, there can be peculiarities with how they work together based on anchor placement.

 

ETA paragraphing, since you can edit the replies with a real editor. 

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Sep 13, 2019 1
Contributor ,
Sep 16, 2019

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So following your instructions, I managed to get the different languages in one book. However, independently of conditional tags, once the text insets are imported, I noticed that the font type and size of some of the variables are altered (I use variables inside my original texts). This is not the case in the original texts that I have.

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Sep 16, 2019 0
Contributor ,
Sep 16, 2019

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Sorry for my stupid comment. I had to toggle on Retain Source's Formatting

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Sep 16, 2019 0
Contributor ,
Sep 16, 2019

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I guess I am facing one of those peculiarities. When I choose the option to Retain Source's Formatting. Later on when I want to apply the conditional tag, a message box appears, saying: Some conditional text would have no tag. Then giving me two unfortunate options: 1. Make the Text Unconditional. 2. Delete the Text. Both are crap...

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Sep 16, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 17, 2019

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I wish I had more/better answers for you, but as I said, I don't work with text insets. Are you using conditions and variables INSIDE the insets as well as using a condition to control whether the inset is visible or not? That's a whole 'nother level of complication. I think you'd need to set the conditions and variables in the inset source file first and then update the main document, but I'm not sure.

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Sep 17, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 13, 2019

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Ok, but as far as I know, there's no magic way to just open a product's book file and see only that language's chapters. You'd still have to either use the Exclude function (language by language) or some conditional show/hide settings to screen out all the languages you don't want to publish.

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Sep 13, 2019 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 13, 2019

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The things you are doing are pointing you in the general direction of structure. In fact, the lang would be an attribute with a value that could be used to display the appropriate text within your system.

 

Are you working with a localization vendor, and are you using a CCMS? If not, evaluate how much your current system is costing you and consider moving to either or both.

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Sep 13, 2019 1
Contributor ,
Sep 16, 2019

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Hi Matt, I am not familiar with neither localization vendor nor CCMS. I am using structured FrameMaker using an EDD.

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Sep 16, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 16, 2019

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Hi Hadi, it's good to hear that you're using structure with an EDD. Can you share a screenshot of your structure window with all attributes displayed?

 

Also, your challenge isn't exactly the same as your subject line for the post. You might consider creating one or more new threads, probably in the Structured FrameMaker forum.

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Sep 16, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 16, 2019

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By the way...do you know the structure model you're using? That would be helpful.

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Sep 16, 2019 0
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Sep 16, 2019

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Hi Matt, I started with the UserGuide.EDD.fm from the FrameMaker installation. Then edited it to achieve the structure, we intend to have. It is still an ongoing and iterative procedure as I am updating it every day. Can I attach my EDD here? The text editor doesn't like it!

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Sep 16, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 16, 2019

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Hmm, that'd be a great starting point if you are creating a Personal Spaceship User Guide, but otherwise might not correctly fit your content. More importantly, I don't believe that model was ever meant to be used beyond the examples created for learning about structure.

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Sep 16, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 16, 2019

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What industry are you in? Does your industry have a content model that is used by other organizations? If not, DITA might be an option for you. The free online DITAWorld conference (an Adobe event) is coming up, and you might consider attending. Here's the registration link: https://2019-adobe-dita-world.meetus.adobeevents.com/

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Sep 16, 2019 0
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Sep 16, 2019

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We manufacture high precision CT scanners, mainly for but not limited to medical field. See http://www.scanco.ch The reason for not using DITA (maybe I am wrong) is that we already have user manuals, which we would like to update and maintain. These are written using unstructured FrameMaker. It implies that the new structure should more or less follow the style of the old one but in a structured manner that makes it easier to maintain. So, similar to the advice of the Hitchhiker's Guide, I have first determined the characteristics of the old manual then started editing the EDD that I mentioned. Is DITA editable? My understanding is that once you decide for DITA you cannot adapt the style.

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Sep 16, 2019 0
Enthusiast ,
Sep 17, 2019

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Hi hadih,

this is a very complex subject. We are exactly specialized in that. You can contact us at www.4xscripts.com or ute-mitschke.de, or you can meet us next week (26.09.2019) at our tekom lecture in Friedrichshafen.

 

https://www.tekom.de/meine-tekom/regionalgruppen/regionalgruppe-bodensee/veranstaltungen-rg-bodensee...

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Sep 17, 2019 0
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Sep 17, 2019

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So, what is first priority for us is the automatic maintenance of different user manuals and different languages. It is important for us that the CMS tool (in this case Structured FrameMaker) enables automatic updates. For instance, if I add a new element to my EDD, I do not wish to open the individual fm files, in which I have once imported the EDD, and manually re-import the EDD. This should be done at once for all files. Or if I remove an element from the EDD, I would like to get rid of the element and its context in all the files, using the EDD. What I see now, first I have to re-import the EDD and look where it is red and remove it. This becomes difficult to manage if you have many similar user manuals.

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Sep 17, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 17, 2019

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Drat, I didn't see this before. I'm sorry, Hadi. My answers, such as they were, were directed towards unstructured FrameMaker.  There are others on this board who can help with that (I see Matt has already weighed in, amongst others), but it's a bit out of my comfort zone. The little experience I have with structured FrameMaker involved DITA, and it was also several years back.

 

BTW, if you can edit your original post to add the topic tag of Structured, that would help those who are experts with structured FrameMaker find your post. These new forums are still very much a work in progress.

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Sep 17, 2019 1
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Sep 18, 2019

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Hi Matt, I guess now I understand better what you meant with localization vendor and CCMS. Indeed, I need them in my project.

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Sep 18, 2019 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 18, 2019

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Glad to help! Adopting an existing content model is MUCH easier than creating your own. I'm happy to chat regarding all this. Usually I'd send you a direct message, but I don't see that option on the new boards. Please reach out to me at matt@techcommtools.com if you'd like to discuss further.

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Sep 18, 2019 1
Contributor ,
Sep 19, 2019

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Many thanks for the support. I will contact you via email soon.

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Sep 19, 2019 0