FrameMaker Tutorial:
Tables of Contents

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

See the FrameMaker resource page for additional study materials. Got comments or questions about FrameMaker? Send them to the class in the FrameMaker workshop area of the Print Documentation Chatroom

The following FrameMaker tutorial shows you how to generate a table of contents, customize the formatting of the contents page, and update the table of contents after changes. If you see any errors or think we should have included other tasks, let us know! Subsequent lessons will focus on templates, tables, tags, graphics, cross-references, book building, variable text, and the like. 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 will 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

First, open the sample file and save it to your local directory:
  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.

Applying Paragraph Tags

Tables of contents are based on the logical hierarchy of headings in a document. However, the text in our document is still all body text. Therefore, we will need to apply some paragraph tags to create headings. We will use the paragraph tags included in this document.
  1. Open the Paragraph Catalog by clicking on the Paragraph Catalog button in the top right corner of the document window.
  2. Apply the paragraph tag Title to the first paragraph. (Click anywhere in the paragraph and select Title from the paragraph catalog.)

  3. On the first page, find the paragraph, "General Guidelines for Headings" and make it Heading1.

  4. Skip down a paragraph and find the paragraph "Guideline 1". Make this paragraph Heading2. Do the same for "Guideline 2".

  5. Skip to the next page, find the paragraph, "Headings: Specific Format and Style", and make it Heading1.

  6. Find the paragraphs, "First-Level Headings", "Second-Level Headings", and "Third-Level Headings" and make them all Heading2.

  7. Finally, find the paragraph, "Designing Your Own Headings" and make it Heading1.

Generating a Table of Contents

Now generate a table of contents:
  1. Choose File > Generate/Book.

  2. In the Generate/Book dialog box, select Table of Contents from the List option and click Generate. The Set Up Table of Contents dialog box displays a list of the paragraphs tags which will be included in the table of contents. You can include any tags you like, but you'll typically use just the first two or three heading levels.

  3. Make sure Heading1 and Heading 2 are in the Include list and click Generate. FrameMaker generates your table of contents in a new file called (The name of the original file plus the suffix "TOC".)

    The table of contents still needs plenty of formatting, but we'll get to that in the next section.

  4. Save the source document and the TOC.

Formatting the Table of Contents

Our new table of contents contains all the information we want it to, but it's not very usable in the current format. Now we will give it some formatting to make it more readable. The formatting of a TOC includes the:

Paragraph Formats and Fonts

Place the insertion point in one of the paragraphs in the TOC. Notice that the paragraph tags have names based on their names in the source document. This will help us when we change the formatting.

To change the paragraph formats in the TOC:

  1. Open the Paragraph Designer. (Ctrl+M)

  2. Place the insertion point in the first paragraph. This paragraph is called Heading1TOC and contains the text "General Guidelines for Headings 1".

  3. In the Paragraph Designer, on the Default Font page, change the Size: to 14 pt and click Update All. All paragraphs tagged Heading1TOC change to 14 pt.

  4. On the Basic page, change the Space Above ¶: to 17.0 pt and click Update All.

  5. Now, place the insertion point in the second paragraph. This paragraph is called Heading2TOC and contains the text "Guideline 1 1".

  6. On the Basic page, change the First and Left Indents to 0.5" and click Update All.

  7. Save the document.

Tabs and Tab Leaders

Now that the text and indents are correct, let's right-align the page numbers and include dot leaders. Creating tabs is a two-part process. First, add a tab stop to the paragraph. Then, press the Tab key to move the page number to the desired tab stop.

To add tabs and tab leaders:

  1. Place the insertion point in the first paragraph.

  2. To insert a right tab and leader:

    1. On the Basic page, click Edit.

    2. Enter 6.5" for New Position.

    3. Select Right for Alignment.

    4. Select a tab leader (Whichever one you like).

    5. Click Continue and then Update All.

  3. Repeat this procedure to add a right tab to the tag Heading2TOC.

  4. Make sure the tab symbols are visible. (View > Text Symbols should have a check mark beside it.)

  5. Place the insertion point in the first paragraph between the word "Headings" and the page number "1" and press the Tab key. The page number should now be right-aligned with a dot leader going from the text to the page number.

  6. Insert a tab between the text and page number for each remaining paragraph.

These changes we made affect the paragraph tags and are now part of this document file. Now, whenever we update the table of contents, it will keep its appearance. The tab symbols that we typed between the text and the page number, however, are not part of the paragraph tag. If we want FrameMaker to automatically insert our tab symbols after a TOC update, we need to modify the reference pages.

Reference Pages

While we can make changes to the paragraph tags on the body pages, we must go to the reference pages to make changes to the automatically generated text in the TOC. To modify the reference pages:
  1. Choose View > Reference Pages. There are pages for "Reference", "HTML", "Headings" and "TOC".

  2. Page down until you get to the TOC Reference Page. It is typically the last page. (Look for "TOC (7 of 7)" in the status bar at the bottom center of the document window.)

    status bar

  3. There should be two or three lines of text and codes that look something like this:

  4. Place the insertion point in the second paragraph between the <$paratext> and the <$pagenum> building blocks. This paragraph should be Heading2TOC.

  5. Delete the space and press the Tab key.

  6. Repeat the preceding two steps for Heading1TOC. Now, when we update the TOC, it will be formatted correctly.

  7. Choose View > Body Pages to return to the body pages.

  8. Save your document.


Finally, insert a title for the table of contents:
  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the first paragraph.

  2. Press the Home key, or place the insertion point at the very beginning of the first line.

  3. Type the word "Contents" and press Enter.

  4. Go back to the first paragraph.

  5. Apply the paragraph tag Title to this paragraph.

  6. Save your document.

Updating Your Table of Contents

Now, change the source document slightly and update the table of contents:
  1. Go to the source document (

  2. In the first paragraph, place the insertion point immediately before the word "Headings", and type The Importance of.

  3. Choose File > generate/Book.

  4. Use the same procedure as before: Make sure Heading1 and Heading2 are still in the Include Paragraphs Tagged: column, and click Generate. FrameMaker updates your table of contents to reflect the change.

In this tutorial, you learned how to generate a table of contents, customize the formatting of the contents page, and update the table of contents after changes. This will pave the way for future lessons, such as Indexing and Book-Building.

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.

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