Designing Print Documentation:
FrameMaker Tutorial--Reference Pages

Developed for Advanced Documentation Students
by
David A. McMurrey
and
Dianne Shelton

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 will guide you through the steps of working with reference pages. 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: In order to fully understand reference pages, you should first be familiar with the basic tasks in FrameMaker and working with templates.

About Reference Pages

What exactly is a reference page? Reference pages are used to store boilerplate material or graphics. For example, instead of cutting and pasting a graphic every time you need it, you could place the graphic in a reference frame (an unanchored graphic frame on a reference page) and then use the graphic as a property of a paragraph format.

Reference pages also contain hypertext commands, mappings for HTML conversion, and formatting information. You can also store custom math element definitions on reference pages and you can control how source documents are displayed in hypertext documents.

Viewing Reference Pages

The following section will guide you through the steps of viewing and getting familar with reference pages.

  1. Open FrameMaker, and click on File > New.
  2. Create a blank document by clicking on Portrait in the New dialog box.
  3. Save the document with a descriptive name (for example, project1.fm) by clicking on File and then on Save As. (If you are working in the TCM lab, save the file into the F drive.)
  4. To open the reference pages, click on View and then on Reference Pages.
  5. Click through the reference pages and notice that each page contains different information.

    The default elements include tables for HTML mapping elements, heading formatting information for generated lists, and basic line styles. When you create specialized reference pages, you can find hypertext commands and definitions of custom math elements. For example, with a little understanding of HTML tagging, you can use the HTML mappings to convert a FrameMaker document to HTML.

Creating Reference Frames

In this section, you will create a reference frame to use as a part of a paragraph format. You can create and store anything you want in a reference frame. For this section, you will create a formatting element to be used with your paragragph style called chapter dots. Instead of the traditional solid black rule underneath the chapter title, you will create dots.

  1. Go to the reference page.
  2. Click on Graphics and then click on Tools.

    The standard tool box will open up.

  3. Click on the Graphics Frame tool button ().
  4. Draw a small picture box anywhere on the page.
  5. Type in Chp Dots in the Frame Name box.

  6. Click Set.
  7. Click the Text Line button ().
  8. Now, place the Text Line in the box.
  9. Type in 3 periods.
  10. Format the dots by highlighting the text and clicking on Format. Apply this style: Bold, Symbol, 52 pt.
  11. Save your changes and go back to the body page.
  12. Type in Chapter Name.
  13. Go to Format and then to Paragraphs.

  14. Click on Advanced.
  15. Select Chp Dots from the Frame Above Pgf menu.
  16. Click Apply.

    You have now created a graphic element as part of a paragraph style for the chapter name. When you set up your paragraph styles, you can now add any type of graphic format to your style.


 

Creating Boilerplate Graphics

In this section, you will create a reference frame to store a boilerplate graphic. You can create and add anything you want in a reference frame. You want to create a consistent visual format for your readers. Using boilerplate graphics achieves this purpose. For example, in this tutorial, you will create a frame to hold a warning graphic. Everytime you use the warning graphic, it will always appear in the same place on the page.

  1. First, you will need to create a new reference page.
  2. Click View and then click Reference Pages .
  3. Click on Special and then click on Add Reference Page .
  4. Type in boiler plate for the name.


  5. Click Add.

    Now, you will create a reference page with the same column format as your body page.

  6. Click on View and then click on Master Page.
  7. On the master page, click on the text box with the Select Object tool button () and press CTRL-C to copy the text box.

    Basically, you just copied the master text box. This will ensure that you are working with the same column format.

  8. Click on View and then click on Reference Page.
  9. Paste the text box on the reference page CTRL-V.

    Now, you have created a reference page with the same exact column format as your body page.

  10. Click on Special and then on Anchored Frame.

  11. Click on New Frame.

    A frame box appear on the page. Go ahead and make the frame box smaller.

  12. Now, click on Special and then on Anchored Frame.
  13. In the Anchored Frame box, select Outside Text Frame andLeft.

    This will position the frame to "float" outside the main body text.

  14. Now, click on the Graphics Frame tool button ().
  15. Draw a small picture box in the anchored frame box.
  16. Type Warning in the Frame Name box.


  17. Click Set.

    Now, you can paste in a graphic. Click here to copy a small warning graphic.

    Note: To copy the graphic, just right-click your mouse and select Save Image As... and then hit Save.

  18. Go to File and then to Import and File.
  19. Now, find the folder where you saved the graphic. Once you locate the graphic, press Import.

    You have now imported the graphic.

  20. Click on the Text Frame button ().
  21. Draw a small text box inside the graphic box below the warning symbol.
  22. Type in Warning.
  23. Format the word Warning by highlighting the text and clicking on Format. Apply this style: Bold, Arial, 12 pt.


 

Using Boilerplate Graphics

In the last section, you created a boilerplate graphic. The next step is learning how to use the graphic. This section will guide you through the steps of using your graphic.

  1. Click on View and then click on Body Pages.
  2. Now, type Improper use will result in injury!
  3. Go to Format and then to Paragraphs.


  4. Click on Advanced.
  5. Select warning from the Frame Above Pgf menu.

    Note: You can change the setting and have the graphic position below the text by selecting Below Pgf in the Paragraph Designer box.

  6. Click Apply.

    Now view your work. Notice that you can't move the graphic around on the page. This is why it is known as a "boilerplate graphic".


 

Storing Custom Math Elements

If you need to create math element not found on the Equations Palette, you will need to create a reference page to store the new element. This section will guide you through the steps of creating the reference page to store custom math elements.

  1. Click on View and then on Reference Pages.

    You will now create a special reference page to store your custom math element.

  2. Click on Select and then on Add Reference Page
  3. Type FrameMath in the Add Reference Page box.
  4. Click Add.
  5. Now, click on the Graphics Frame tool button ().
  6. Draw a small graphics box on the reference page.
  7. Type in a name for the math element you are creating in the Frame Name Box.
  8. Now, you can create a new math element for your document. For more information about Equations, see the Adobe FrameMaker User Guide or Adobe FrameMaker Classroom in a Book.


In this tutorial, you have learned how to work with reference pages. You have learned how to create a reference frame, a reference page, and boilerplate graphics. You have also learned how to use your reference frame and graphics as an element in your paragraph styles. Experiment with reference pages and build your own unique elements.

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.



This information is provide and maintained by David A. McMurrey. For information on use, customization, or copies, e-mail hcexres@prismnet.com.