Is there an optimal size for FrameMaker chapters?

Feb 15, 2012

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I create user guides with screen shots of software, which are generally imbedded. Is there a recommended size for a chapter? They seem to get unweildy when they get larger---unfortunately, much like Word files. Is there a point at which it's recommended that I split a chapter into two parts?

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Is there an optimal size for FrameMaker chapters?

Feb 15, 2012

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I create user guides with screen shots of software, which are generally imbedded. Is there a recommended size for a chapter? They seem to get unweildy when they get larger---unfortunately, much like Word files. Is there a point at which it's recommended that I split a chapter into two parts?

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Feb 15, 2012 0
Feb 15, 2012

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It is the embedding of the screen shots that is making your files larger and larger. Import the shots and all other illustrations by reference. That will keep the files manageable sizes and minimize chances of their getting corrupted.

In my opinion, it is the content that dictates the sizes of files, not some universal optimal number.

Van

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Feb 15, 2012 1
Feb 15, 2012

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Thanks. I thought as much. I'll talk to my supervisor about importing by reference.

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Feb 15, 2012 0
Feb 15, 2012

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They seem to get unwieldy when they get larger ...

What gets unwieldy? Authoring? End user reading?

I'm guessing authoring, and if so, what graphics file format are you using?

In addition to importing by reference, you can also improve performance by re-saving the screenshots as EPS (with thumbnail and/or preview images). Frame only displays the thumbnail or preview during edit, which is coarse but fast. The final PDF is full resolution.

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Feb 15, 2012 1
Feb 16, 2012

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Yes, authoring, and .bmp for the quality. I need it to display more than the gray box I get so that I can create callouts.

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Feb 16, 2012 0
Feb 16, 2012

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The gray box only displays if you forget to set the EPS options to

display the 8-bit TIFF preview, when you save from Photoshop. When this

option is set, the image displays in FrameMaker, but it is a

low-resolution preview image. The full-resolution version will appear in

the PDF, however. This method lets you see the image in FM without using

so much memory.

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Feb 16, 2012 0
Feb 16, 2012

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....I don't see where to choose that option from the Save As dialog. Am I looking in the wrong place?

eps_options.gif

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Feb 16, 2012 0
Feb 16, 2012

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The EPS Options dialog will pop up after you click Save. The top option

will let you set the preview setting.

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Feb 16, 2012 0
Feb 17, 2012

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If you are working with vector art, Adobe Illustrator has similar save-time options for thumbnail and preview (independently). You need at least one, or you get a gray box. Saving to PDF from Adobe apps also has such options. Don't import PDF in Frame 7.2 or lower (unstable).

Both Mike and I have advised about the low res of the preview. When the EPS (or PDF) preview isn't precise enough for callout or other overlay placement, here's one trick to use:

  • Save the image in multiple forms, such as 600 dpi TIFF and EPS.
  • Import the TIFF for overlay work.
  • Re-import [Replace] the TIFF with the EPS when the overlay is done.

Here's another:

You can also, up to the limit on preview size, force the preview to be higher res, by scaling.

  • Scale the image 400% before saving to EPS.
  • Rescale at import to 25%.

The preview is now 400% sharper.

Redact.

Preview/thumbnail images are supported by many graphics file formats, and they can take up a lot of space (up to 50% of the final PDF size in degenerate cases, up to 33% typically in my work). Post-process your PDFs in Acrobat Pro. Use the Examine Document feature to remove "metadata".

Good news: this redaction also removes potentially sensitive metadata like your camera EXIF. Bad news: it also removes the PDFinfo (Document Properties). Save. Close. Re-open. Edit Doc. Prop and resave. We keep a pdfinfo.txt handy for pasting the Doc. Prop. data back in.

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Feb 17, 2012 0