FrameMaker Tutorial:

Developed for Advanced Documentation Students
David A. McMurrey
Thomas A. Moore

See the FrameMaker resource page for additional study materials. Got a question about this tutorial? Post it in the FrameMaker FAQ

The following FrameMaker tutorial shows you how to create several different types of index entries, generate and update an index, and apply some custom formatting. If you see any errors or think we should have included other tasks, let us know! These tutorials only get you started; if you have more in-depth needs, see the Adobe FrameMaker User Guide or Adobe FrameMaker Classroom in a Book. (This tutorial is provided for advanced documentation students on a free, as-is basis, without guarantee of accuracy.)

This tutorial is based on FrameMaker version 5.5 for Windows. You may see some minor differences if you are using a different version.

Note: For the sake of brevity, we use an abbreviated style for menu commands throughout this lesson. For example, "Choose File > New" means "Choose New from the File menu".

Opening a File in FrameMaker

Before you can generate an index, you'll need a file with some text in it. We have prepared a sample file for you to use. Open and save it as your own:
  1. Download the file:

  2. Start FrameMaker.

  3. Open
    Note: If you get a message about unavailable fonts, click OK.
  4. From the View menu, turn on Borders, Text Symbols, and Rulers.

  5. Save the file to your local directory.

Marking Simple Index Entries

To mark a simple index entry:
  1. Choose Special > Marker.

  2. Go to the second paragraph of the second page, and select the words "short documents". The text you select appears in the Marker Text box.

  3. Make sure you have Index selected as the Marker Type.

  4. Click New Marker. FrameMaker places an index marker text symbol (text symbol) at the insertion point to mark the index entry.

    text symbol

    If you ever want to view a marker's contents, select the marker symbol while the Marker dialog box is open. The contents of the marker are displayed in the Marker dialog box.

  5. Go to the next paragraph and select the word "phrasing".

  6. Click New Marker.

  7. Skip down a paragraph and select the words "lone headings".

  8. Click New Marker.

Generating an Index

Once you've created some Index markers in your document, you're ready to generate an index. To generate an index for an individual:
  1. Choose File > Generate/Book.

  2. In the Generate/Book dialog box, select Index: Standard Index.

  3. Click Generate.

  4. Make sure the only type of marker you include is Index and click Generate. The index is created in a new document file called It only has three entries and is not very pretty, but we'll fix that soon enough.

    Note: You can hide the text symbols if they are in your way.

Of course, at some point you'll want to generate an index for an entire book. After you've set up your book, do the following:
  1. With your book window open and active, click File > Add File. (See the tutorial on book building if you haven't used FrameMaker to build books before.)

  2. Click the radio button for Generated Index and take the default Standard Index option.

  3. Click Add. In the index setup dialog, take all the defaults. (However, if you are developing a book with double-sided pages, you may want to choose Right for Starting Page Side and Restart at 1 for Page Numbering. Click Set and then Done.)

  4. Make sure the index document is the last one in the book window.

  5. With the index file highlighted, click File > Generate/Update and then Update.

  6. When the index has been built, doubleclick the index file to view the results.

Formatting the Index

Now that you have placed the index markers and generated the index, you should improve the formatting to make it more readable:
  1. In, place the insertion point anywhere in the first paragraph. (This paragraph is tagged GroupTitlesIX.)

  2. Open the Paragraph Designer (Ctrl+M) and go to the Basic page.

  3. Select 1 Line (14.0 pt) for Space Above and click Update All.

  4. Click the Default Font tab and select Arial for Family. Select Bold for weight and click Update All.

  5. Now click anywhere in the first paragraph and press the Home key. (Or, if your keyboard does not have a Home key, place the insertion point at the very beginning of the document.)

  6. Type the word Index and press Enter.

  7. Go back to the first paragraph and apply the paragraph tag Title.

Note: The index will maintain this formatting after updates as long as you don't change the name of the source document.

Adding Markers for Nested Index Entries

To add multilevel entries:
  1. Go back to, and choose Special > Marker.

  2. In the second-to-last paragraph of page 2, find and select the text "stacked headings".

  3. In the Marker dialog box, click New Marker.

  4. In the same sentence, select the word "headings" again.

  5. Click in the Marker Text field of the Marker dialog box. Immediately after the word headings, type a colon, a space, then the word stacked so that it looks like this:

    dialog box

  6. Click New Marker.

  7. Go up one paragraph, and place a similar index marker for "lone headings". It should look like this:

    dialog box

  8. Re-generate the index.

  9. Save your work.

Adding an Entry for a Range of Pages

To include an entry for a topic that spans several pages:
  1. Go back to, and place the insertion point anywhere in the first paragraph on page 2.

  2. In the Marker dialog box, type <$startrange>lists so that it looks like this:

    dialog box

  3. Click New Marker.

  4. Place the insertion point anywhere in the last paragraph on page 3.

  5. In the Marker dialog box, type <$endrange>lists so that it looks like this:

    dialog box

  6. Click New Marker.

Adding an Entry without a Page Number

To include an entry with no page number:
  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the first paragraph on page 2.

  2. In the Marker dialog box, type <$nopage>rules. See guidelines. so that it looks like this:

    dialog box

  3. Click New Marker.

  4. Regenerate the index.

  5. Save your work.

The index is still very simple, but it contains the most of the common index elements. Feel free to experiment. Create an index for a different FrameMaker document or try some formatting of your own, such as a two-column layout. There are plenty of sample FrameMaker files under Help > Samples & Clip Art.

If you've completed this tutorial and are taking an online course in print documentation, go to the FrameMaker workshop area of the Print Documentation Chatroom and let the rest of the class know how you did on this tutorial.

Information and programs provided by