Question regarding generating a list of paragraphs (alphabetical)

Community Beginner ,
May 07, 2019

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I have a table with different tags for each column. I would like to keep the information in each row together, and output an alphabetical list that sorts based on one of those columns only, while still retaining the associated order in that row. Is this possible in Frammaker?

The closes solution I have is a list of paragraphs, where I have the four columns generate with run-in paragraph tags. Then I have to convert this into a table, then sort the table, which is quite a bit of extra work.

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1 Correct Answer

Adobe Community Professional , May 07, 2019
LinSims Adobe Community Professional , May 07, 2019
Are you saying that each column in the first table has its own unique paragraph tag applied to the text in each row in that column, and that what you want as an output is a generated list that pulls the text tagged with paragraph tags used only in certain columns but keeps all the items in the same row together?If so, bog-standard FrameMaker can't do what you are describing. If it were one or two tables, I'd say just copy and paste the rows into a new table, delete the unwanted columns, and sort...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 07, 2019

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I'm not entirely certain I understand what you're asking, but if you have a multi-column, multi-row table and sort on a single column, the entire row is sorted by the contents of that column. You can sort using up to 3 columns or rows as the criteria.

sorting example.png

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Community Beginner ,
May 07, 2019

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Sorry the question wasn't that clear. What I have is a table with information. I need to generate a list based off of specific data in that table, then alphabetically sort it.

Ideally, I'd generate the list in a table format, but I'm not sure that's possible? For now, I'm just generating a list of paragraphs, then manually converting that information into a table, then sorting that table.

Example data:

NamePhone Number
AgeGenderMakeModel
Susan555-555-555525FFordMustang
Bob555-555-555642MChevyCamaro
Stan555-555-555736MChevyCorvette
Wilson555-555-555853MDodgeChallenger
Sheri555-555-555971FFordF-150

Output:

NameMakeModel
BobChevyCamero
SheriFordF-150
StanChevyCorvette
SusanFordMustang
WilsonDodgeChallenger

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 07, 2019

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Generating a list of paragraphs? Again, not certain I understand. If your data is already in a table, and you want your output in a table, all you have to do to get sorted data is sort the table using Table > Sort.

If you don't want some columns in the output, copy and paste the original table to a new location, delete the unwanted columns, and then use Table > Sort. In your case, on the Sort Table dialog, you'd select Sort Rows, Scope = All Body Rows, Sort by: Column 1 (Name).

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Community Beginner ,
May 07, 2019

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This is in a FrameMaker book file, with multiple documents. I'm inserting a "List of Elements & Paragraphs". One of the options, is an (alphabetical) list. However the output simply takes all of the tags and sorts them alphabetically. This results in a one dimensional list. I have a feeling that the alphabetical list isn't robust enough to do what I'm after, which is to alphabetically sort based on only of of the paragraph tags used in the list, and keep the rest in context as in my example above.

The current work around, is a standard list of paragraphs. The output of this is then converted into a table, and sorted manually.  Later, I may look into doing a custom script to output exactly what is needed.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 07, 2019

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Are you saying that each column in the first table has its own unique paragraph tag applied to the text in each row in that column, and that what you want as an output is a generated list that pulls the text tagged with paragraph tags used only in certain columns but keeps all the items in the same row together?

If so, bog-standard FrameMaker can't do what you are describing. If it were one or two tables, I'd say just copy and paste the rows into a new table, delete the unwanted columns, and sort, but if I understand you correctly, you've got far too many documents and tables for that to be anything but tedious and very, very time consuming.

I suspect that a script is what you will need, and unfortunately for you (and me), I have yet to learn how to script. There are some script writers on this forum, but you'll need to post your question in the FrameMaker Scripting forum to get real help. I'm not a mod, or I'd move it for you.

Russ Ward​ may be able to help you write the script, and there are also a number of people who write scripts for a fee. Personally, I've worked with Rick Quatro of Carmen Publishing and have been very happy with both the custom script he created for me and his standard products.

(Mind you, if you're only planning to do this once, BFME can work and actually be faster than the elegant solution of a script, but if this is going to be a regular task, invest in a script.)

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 07, 2019

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Shane,

   You are correct that FM's generated list would have to be post-processed to create a table. Given that you started an earlier discussion about EDDs, I assume your book is structured. If so, two techniques you can consider to generate the table are:

1. Using a conversion table to structure the generated file, save the result as XML and open the result, using an application that uses an XSLT post- or pre-process to sort the data and map it to a table.

2. Instead of creating a generated file, round-trip the entire book through XML using XSLT to extract the needed data and construct the table. If you have other XML requirements, you might need to use different XML applications for different processing.

    Without knowing more about your requirements, I don't know if either of these approaches are preferable to others, but you may want to consider them.

         --Lynne

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shane_lawrence AUTHOR LATEST
Community Beginner ,
May 07, 2019

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Thanks for the input linsims and Lynne. I've worked with Rick Quatro before, and we (as a company) have been using Framescript for several years. I'm not that familiar with it myself. Heck, I just learned that extendscript existed.

I'm thinking bypassing the generated file is probably the best route in our case. I've done a few internal projects where we parse the XML to output specific information. The end result here would be a document the client would be maintaining, and they don't have a license of framescript. The client is also not familiar with framemaker, so anything I can do to automate the process is going to be helpful for them. I'm going to need  to look into extendscript, and see how similar it is functionally to Framescript.  Thanks again.

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