FrameMaker Tutorial:
Tables of Contents

Developed for advanced documentation students by
David A. McMurrey Thomas A. Moore
Jacqueline J. Pulido ---

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 generate a table of contents, customize the formatting of the contents page, and update the table of contents after changes. This tutorial is provided for advanced documentation students on a free, as-is basis, without guarantee of accuracy. If you see any errors or think we should have included other tasks, let us know!

Other tutorials focus on the basics, styles, graphics, tables, book building, variable text, and conversion techniques. 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.

The tutorial's instructions are based on FrameMaker version 6.0 for Windows. You may encounter some minor differences if you are using another 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".

Downloading and Saving the Source Document

A table of contents can be generated from either a single document or a book. The document or book that the table of contents is generated from is called the source document. For this tutorial, the source document (in this case, a single document) has already been created for you.

When you click on the FrameMaker document below, the Netscape browser may attempt to display it directly—in which case you'll see just a few gobbledygook characters or receive an error message. To force Netscape to download this file:
  1. Click on Edit, then on Preferences.

  2. Under Navigator, select Applications and scroll down to the application you want to use. In this case, select Adobe FrameMaker Interchange Format.

  3. Click on Edit and then click on the Save to Disk radio button.

  4. Click OK twice and click on the link below again.

Download and save the source document:

  1. First, download the file to your local directory:

    1. Click on this link: contents.mif.
    2. Save the file -- for Netscape, click Save File.
    3. In the Save As dialog box, the File name box should show the selected file name.
    4. Select the directory to save the file and click Save.

    Note: If you are working in the TCM computer lab, use the A: drive to save your file on a diskette.

  2. Open FrameMaker.

  3. Open and save the file with a .fm extension:

    1. Choose File > Open and select the file's directory.
    2. Click on contents.mif and click Open. (If you get a message about unavailable fonts, click OK.)
    3. Choose File > Save As.
    4. Select the directory to save the file.
    5. In the File name box, change the .mif to a .fm extension and click Save.

  4. From the View menu, turn on Borders, Text Symbols, and Rulers.

Applying Paragraph Tags

Tables of contents are based on the logical hierarchy of headings in a document. However, the text in your document is still all body text. Therefore, you will need to apply some paragraph tags to create headings.

Apply the paragraph tags included in the 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, "Online Technical Writing: Headings", by clicking anywhere in the paragraph and selecting Title from the Paragraph Catalog.

  3. On the first page, find the paragraph, "General Guidelines for Headings" and select Heading1 from the Paragraph Catalog.

  4. Scroll down a paragraph and find the paragraph "Guideline 1". Select Heading2 for this paragraph. Also select this format for "Guideline 2".

  5. Scroll down further, find the paragraph, "Headings: Specific Format and Style", and select Heading1 for this paragraph.

  6. Find the paragraphs, "First-Level Headings", "Second-Level Headings", and "Third-Level Headings" and select Heading2 for their format.

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

  8. Click on the Close to close the Paragraph Catalog window.

  9. Click on the Save button ( Save File ) to save the changes.

Generating the Table of Contents

In this section, you will learn how to generate a table of contents (TOC) for a single document. To generate your document's TOC:

  1. Choose Special > Table of Contents.

  2. Click Yes when asked "Do you want to create a standalone Table of Contents for this document?"

  3. The Set Up Table of Contents dialog box displays a list of the paragraph tags that can 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.

  4. Make sure Heading1, Heading 2, and Title are in the Include Paragraphs Tagged list. (If the tags are not included, find the tags in the Don't Include list and double-click on them. The tags should move to the Include Paragraphs Tagged list.)

  5. Click Set. The table of contents automatically appears in your document window. FrameMaker generates your table of contents in a new file called contentsTOC.fm. (The name of the source document plus the suffix "TOC".)

  6. The table of contents still needs plenty of formatting, but you'll get to that in the next section. For now, save the TOC file. (Always save the TOC file in the same directory as the source document.)

  7. If you use by-chapter numbering, you must change:

    <$paratext> <$pagenum>

    to

    <$paratext> <$chapnum>-<$pagenum>

    at the very bottom of the reference page in the generated TOC file and then update the book. In the generated index file, change:

    <$pagenum>

    to

    <$chapnum>-<$pagenum>

    at the very bottom of the reference page in the generated index file and then update the book.

As stated earlier, you can also generate a table of contents for a book; however, the instructions are different. You can learn about generating a table of contents for a book in the Book Building Tutorial.

Formatting the Table of Contents

Your new table of contents contains all the information you want it to, but it's not very readable in its current format. You need to format the table of contents to make it more readable. Specifically, formatting of the TOC includes:

Changing 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 helps you when you change the formatting.

To change the paragraph formats in the TOC:

  1. Open the Paragraph Designer. (Choose Format > Paragraphs > Designer or Ctrl + M)

  2. Place the insertion point in the first paragraph. This paragraph is called TitleTOC and contains the text "Online Technical Writing: Headings 1".

  3. In the Paragraph Designer, click on the Default Fault tab. Change the Size to 16 pt, and then click Update All.

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

  5. In Default Font properties, change the Size to 14 pt, and then click Update All. All paragraphs tagged Heading1TOC change to 14 pt.

  6. Click on the Basic tab. Change the Space Above Pgf to 1 Line (17.0 pt) and change the First and Left Indents to 0.5 inches. Then, click Update All.

  7. Now, place the insertion point in the third paragraph. This paragraph is called Heading2TOC and contains the text "Guideline 1 2".

  8. In Basic properties, change the First and Left Indents to 1.0 inches, and then click Update All.

  9. Save the TOC.

Adding Tabs and Tab Leaders

Now that the text and indents are correct, you need to 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 (TitleTOC).

  2. To insert a right tab and leader:

    1. In Basic properties below the Tab Stops area, click Edit.
    2. Type 6.5 inches for New Position.
    3. Click on Right for Alignment.
    4. Select a tab leader style (whichever one you like).
    5. Click Continue, and then Update All.

  3. Repeat the preceding two steps to add a right tab to the Heading1TOC and Heading2TOC paragraphs.

  4. Click on the Close to close the Paragraph Designer window.

  5. Make sure the tab symbols are visible. (Choose View > Text Symbols; a checkmark should be beside Text Symbols.)

  6. 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.

  7. Insert a tab between the text and page number for each remaining paragraph. Your table of contents should look like this:

    TOC

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

Modifying the TOC Reference Page

While you can make changes to the paragraph tags on the body pages, you must go to the reference pages to make changes to the automatically generated text in the table of contents.

To modify the TOC reference page:

  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:

    TOC Reference Page

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

  5. Delete the space between the building blocks and press the Tab key.

  6. Repeat the preceding two steps for Heading1TOC and Heading2TOC paragraphs. Now, when you update the TOC, it will be formatted correctly.

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

  8. Save the TOC.

Inserting a Title

Finally, insert a title for the table of contents:
  1. Place the insertion point at the very beginning of the first paragraph. Press the Home key to ensure you are at the beginning.

  2. Type the word CONTENTS and press Enter.

  3. Return to the line you just typed and place the insertion point anywhere in this paragraph.

  4. Apply the paragraph tag Title to this paragraph.

  5. Save the TOC again.

Updating the Table of Contents

These instructions show you how to update a table of contents for a single document. First, change the source document slightly:
  1. Choose Window > contents.fm to return to the source document.

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

  3. To update the table of contents, follow the same procedure as before to generate the TOC. Choose Special > Table of Contents, and click Yes when asked "Do you want to create a standalone Table of Contents in this document?"

  4. In the Set Up Table of Contents dialog box, make sure Heading1, Heading2, and Title are still shown the Include Paragraphs Tagged column, and click Set. FrameMaker updates your table of contents to reflect the change, as shown below:

    Modified TOC

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.


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