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FrameMaker

From Higher Intellect Vintage Wiki

Billed by its publisher (originally Frame Technology, now Adobe Systems) as an all-purpose document creation program, FrameMaker can be used as a word processor as well as a page layout program. Its search-and-replace capabilities are strong, and since each document opens with a text box already in place on the page and default style sheets already set up, it’s easy to jump right in and start writing.

But FrameMaker is also used to compose math and science textbooks, mainly because of its built-in equation editor . Math equations can be created and edited right in the main document window, with a full range of symbols and operators available to users. A floating palette shows math operations such as radicals, integrals, and matrices, so users can point and click to set up an equation, but a full set of keyboard shortcuts speeds up the process for the experienced user. Typgraphically, FrameMaker’s equations aren’t perfect — they need a lot of micropositioning — but this disadvantage is outweighed for many users by the convenience of having the equation editor built in.

The program also contains a powerful table editor, which offers custom ruling and shading, straddle cells, and automatic continued lines. Automated page layout features include running heads (text can be picked up from anywhere in a document); automatic index, table of contents, cross- reference, and footnote generation; inline graphic boxes that float to the top or bottom of a page, as specified; and automatic numbering — useful for headings, lists, and equations.

Conditional text allows users to create multiple versions of a document by choosing to show or hide text marked with “condition tags.” This comes in handy for projects like catalogs with European, American, and Asian versions.

Electronic publishers make use of FrameMaker’s hyperlink feature, which allows readers of an on-screen document to click on a word to move to another document or another location in the present document. A FrameReader utility allows users to read FrameMaker documents without having the application. FrameMaker can also create Acrobat and HTML documents.

Master pages, style sheets, and tools work much the same as in other page layout applications, albeit less smoothly. Elements of other documents (master pages, style sheets, equation preferences, and so on) can be imported and applied to the present document, and styles in documents collected into a group called a book can be updated all at once. FrameMaker can also update page numbers in a book group.

Another reason for FrameMaker’s popularity is that it’s available not only for Mac, but also for Windows, Sun, and Unix systems. Documents created on any of these platforms are complete compatible with the other platforms (barring font problems and incompatible graphics formats).

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