FrameMaker 9.0 Tutorial:

Developed for advanced documentation students by
David A. McMurrey
Austin Community College, Brooklyn College
Scott Beebe
Fall 2010
For additional study materials, refer to the FrameMaker resource page.

This tutorial is provided for advanced documentation students on a free, as-is basis, without guarantee of accuracy. If you find any errors or think we should include other tasks, let us know!

This tutorial discusses the following topics:

If you require information about advanced FrameMaker topics, refer to the Adobe FrameMaker User Guide or Adobe FrameMaker Classroom in a Book for the current version of FrameMaker.

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

What are Insets?

An Inset is any text, graphic, or other multi-media file that is imported into a FrameMaker document. As the files are imported, the Insets pod is populated with the reference information. The Insets pod is located at the bottom of the FrameMaker 9 screen (double-click the Insets tab to open). For example, the following document contains three imported files and you can see them listed in the Insets pod:

Figure 1. Insets pod (labels added)

To begin working with Insets, let's start by importing an image by reference.

Importing a Referenced Image

In FrameMaker, an image imported by reference is not embedded into the document. Rather, a marker is placed into the document and when the document is opened, FrameMaker goes to the file location referenced by the marker, grabs the image, and places it into the document for the user to view. See the Graphics tutorial for a detailed explanation of why you would import images by reference.

To import a referenced image (using an image from your computer):

  1. Open a blank FrameMaker document.
  2. Choose File.

    Figure 2. File menu (red squares added)

  3. Choose Import.
  4. Choose File.
  5. The Import box appears. Navigate to a small graphics file on your computer.

    Figure 3. Import box (red squares added)

  6. Choose Import by Reference.
  7. Choose Import.
  8. The Imported Graphic Scaling box appears. Selecting the dpi will change the size of the graphic imported into FrameMaker. Choose 150 dpi.

    Figure 4. Imported Graphic Scaling box (red squares added)

  9. Choose Set.
  10. The graphic is now visible in the FrameMaker document and is listed in the Insets pod. Double-click the Insets pod tab to verify the image is listed.


    Since this graphic is imported by reference, any changes made to the original image will update in the FrameMaker document. However, if you send this document without the corresponding image file, the image will be lost. See the Graphics tutorial.

Importing a Copied Image

In FrameMaker, an image imported by copy is embedded into the document. See the Graphics tutorial for a detailed explanation of importing by copying.

To import a copied image:

  1. Choose File.
  2. Choose Import.
  3. Choose File.
  4. Navigate to a different graphic on your computer.
  5. Choose Copy into Document.
  6. Choose Import.
  7. Choose 150 dpi.
  8. Choose Set. The second image is now positioned below the first image and is listed in the Insets pod. The Referenced File column for this image reads No File because this image is not linked to any file.


Since this graphic is copied into the document, it will not automatically update if changes are made to the original graphic. However, it is permanently placed in the document. See the Graphics tutorial.

Importing Referenced Text

To import referenced text, you need a source document containing the text you wish to import. For this tutorial, create a new source document:

  1. Open a blank FrameMaker document.
  2. Copy and paste the following text:

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
  3. Save and name the file: InsetTextSource. Remember where you saved this document.

Now, import the text:

  1. Choose File.
  2. Choose Import.
  3. Choose File.
  4. Navigate to the InsetTextSource file you just created.
  5. Choose Import by Reference.
  6. Choose Import.


    Only text imported by reference will appear in the Inset pod. Text copied into the document is considered by FrameMaker to be regular text and not an Inset.
  7. The Import Text Flow by Reference box appears. Choose Import.

    Figure 5. Import Text box (red square added)

The text is now positioned below the second image in your document and is listed first in the Insets pod.

Using the Insets Pod

The Insets pod lists the imported items and allows you to manipulate those items. The Insets pod for your document should look similar to this:


If your Insets pod does not list three imported graphics, change the drop-down lists next to Select to read Current, List All, and All Insets like the above graphic.

Text insets are listed first and in the order they are imported. All text insets will have a file location listed under Referenced File. Images are then listed in the order they are imported. All images will be listed in the Insets Pod.

The Insets menu selections and how they work:

Inset Menu Button How It Works
Choose which open document to populate the Insets list.
Choose whether to list all of the insets, only text insets, or only graphic insets.
Choose whether to list all insets, only resolved insets, or only unresolved insets (more on this later).

Import New
Replaces the existing inset with another.

Go To Location

Moves the cursor to the location in the document of the selected inset.


Opens the Object Properties box for the selected inset.

Convert To Text
Changes a referenced text inset to regular text. The inset listing disappears after the conversion because the text is no longer referenced.

Opening Insets at the Source

Once an inset is created in your document, you may need to edit it. For images imported by reference, double-click on the image in the document to open the original image. Make any changes, save it, and the image will update in FrameMaker as well.

To change text imported by reference, the easiest way to get there is just to go to the original source file in whatever program the file was created, make the necessary changes, save the file, and then update references in FrameMaker.


Do not bother to use the Open Source option in the Text Inset Properties box. This command will be unavailable or will create a new FrameMaker document with the appropriate text; however, any changes you make in the newly created FrameMaker document will not update to your Inset. Changes must be made in the original document in its original program.

To update the references:

  1. Choose Edit.
  2. Choose Update References.
  3. Check Text Inset marked for Automatic Update.
  4. Choose Update. The text is now updated.

Working with Resolved/Unresolved Insets

Resolved and unresolved insets sound complicated but aren't. A resolved inset is a referenced inset linked to the original file. An unresolved inset is a referenced inset no longer linked to the original file. An inset can become unresolved if the original file is deleted or if the FrameMaker document is sent to another computer without the linked file.

To work with resolved/unresolved insets:

  1. Open the Insets pod.
  2. Click the arrow on the button labeled All Insets.
  3. Choose Resolved Insets. Nothing changes in the Insets pod because the referenced insets in your document remain linked to the original file.
  4. Choose Unresolved Insets. The Insets pod is now blank because all insets are linked.
  5. In Windows, Delete the file InsetTextSource.
  6. In FrameMaker, choose Edit.
  7. Choose Update References.
  8. Check Text Inset marked for Automatic Update.
  9. Choose Update. The text inset is now listed as unresolved because the linked file is unavailable.
  10. Click on the text inset in the Insets pod list.
  11. Choose the Convert to Text button. The text inset is deleted from the Insets pod and is now regular text in the document.

The Insets pod lists all imported images and text imported by reference. Use this pod to verify that all images are either referenced or copied into your document. Remember, if you export your FrameMaker file that contains referenced images or text, you must also export the linked files.