FrameMaker 9.0 Tutorial:
Paragraph & Character Tags

 

Developed for advanced documentation students by
David A. McMurrey  
Jill Brockmann
Fall 2009
Jana Owens
Spring 2004
Jacqueline J. Pulido
Fall 2000
Thomas A. Moore
Spring 1998
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."

About Tags

If you are not familiar with using and creating styles or tags in a word-processing or desktop publishing application, read this section first.

A tag is a unique set of formatting characteristics. Some examples of tags are:

For example, a typical heading that uses Arial font, 24 point size, bold, 18 points of space above, and 9 points of space below is a tag. Plain, ordinary body text — the standard paragraph of a document — is a tag. The set of formatting characteristics that make up a bulleted or numbered list is another example of a tag.

In the Introduction and Basics tutorial, you learned about the two types of tags that FrameMaker uses to format text. Paragraph tags allow you to format an entire paragraph of text. Character Tags allow you to format a character or characters within a paragraph without changing the entire paragraph. Take a look at any document, and count the different tags that you see.

Tags are important because:

If you design your document properly, you should not have to manually create textual elements. Of course, when you create a first draft, it's hard to foresee all the tags that you may need. Instead of manually changing a number of paragraphs to be indented and to use a smaller type size, you can name the paragraph format as a tag and apply it to each paragraph.

In simple documents, such as letters and memos, you must press the Enter key twice to create a blank line between paragraphs. However, when you create a professionally-designed document, you never press Enter to create space between textual elements. You also never use the spacebar to create horizontal space, or even use tabs. All the formatting and alignment details are specified in the tags for that document.

Using FrameMaker Tags

FrameMaker offers unlimited custom tags and has many templates that contain tags, as well as page layout specifications.

To explore the tags used in an existing FrameMaker template:

  1. Open FrameMaker.

  2. Select File > New > Document.

    Tip: You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + N to open a new document.

  3. In the New dialog box, click Explore Standard Templates. The screen should look similar to the following:

    Basic properties


  4. The Create a New Document Using Standard Templates dialog dox will open automatically. The list along the left column displays many types of templates. Click the Down option to see more templates. Your screen should look similar to the following:

    Basic properties


  5. Under the Book heading, select Chapter.

  6. Click Show Sample. The template, named Chapter, will open automatically and your document window will appear as follows:

    Basic properties


  7. Within the template document, place your cursor in the line of text that holds the chapter title. The tag names that are associated with the chapter title are displayed in the Paragraph Format pull-down menu, the Paragraph Designer and in the lower left corner of the document window.

    Click on other areas of the page and the tag names connected to those areas of text will appear. Your document window will appear as follows:

    Basic properties


  8. Close the Paragraph Designer by clicking on the ►► in the upper right corner.
    Open the Paragraph Catalog by clicking the option along the right side of your document window.

    In the Paragraph Catalog, you'll see a list of tags that are used within the chapter template. While you have the word San Francisco highlighted, your screen will appear as follows:

    Basic properties

  9. Place your cursor in one of the Body paragraphs, and click Figure from the Paragraph Catalog.

    The entire paragraph changes to the Figure format. Click Apply. Your screen will appear as follows:

    Basic properties


  10. To close the template, click the document tab called Untitled1.fm in the upper-left corner of the document window. You will find the tab as follows:

    Basic properties


    FrameMaker will ask you if you would like to save this document before closing it. The FrameMaker dialog box will appear as follows:

    Basic properties

  11. For this portion of the exercise, click No.

It may be that one of the existing templates is right for the document you are developing. These templates that are supplied by FrameMaker come with their own specially designed set of tags for headings, body and other types of textual elements. However, it's also useful to know how to create your own tags.

Creating Heading Tags

In this lesson, you create a new heading tag (style) by modifying one of FrameMaker's existing tags.

To modify an existing tag:

  1. Open a new document by pressing Ctrl+N on your keyboard or select File > New > Document.

  2. From the New dialog box, click Portrait to create a new blank document.

  3. Select File > Save (Ctrl + S).

  4. In the File name box, type Style1 and click Save. Your screen will appear as follows:

    Basic properties



    Note: This file, Style1, has been saved in a folder called FM Para & Chara tags. You may decide to save your files in a similar manner so that you can easily find them and refer to them in the future.

  5. A new document window automatically appears. Place your cursor in the first line of text and type My Heading (do not press Enter).

  6. Place your cursor within the line you just typed, and select Heading1 from the Paragraph Catalog at the right side of your screen. By selecting the Heading1 tag from the Paragraph Catalog (as shown below), you have chosen a pre-set tag that FrameMaker has designed for headings. Your document window will appear as follows:

    Basic properties


    Note: Paragraph Catalog and Paragraph Designer are two different options in FrameMaker. Be careful to observe the difference between the two and become familiar with the attributes and limitations of each option.

  7. To close the Paragraph Catalog, click on the ►► in the upper right corner.


  8. Select Format > Paragraphs > Designer (or press Ctrl + M) to open the Paragraph Designer. You may also click on the Paragraph Designer option along the right side of your screen.

  9. Click the Basic Basic properties tab. Under the Basic tab, the Paragraph Designer displays options to control indents, spacing, margins, tabs, and a variety of other options. You can create custom tags in Paragraph Designer, instead of choosing one of the pre-set tags in Paragraph Catalog.

    Take a moment to observe all of the options displayed under the Basic tab in Paragraph Designer. Your screen should appear as follows:

    Basic properties

  10. Click the Default Font Basic properties tab. Under the Default Font tab, the Paragraph Designer displays options to change fonts, text point size, add italics, bold, color, underlines, strikethrough and a variety of other options. You can create custom tags in Paragraph Designer, instead of choosing one of the pre-set tags in Paragraph Catalog.


    Take a moment to observe all of the options displayed under the Default Font tab in Paragraph Designer. Your screen should appear as follows:

    Basic properties



  11. From the Family pull-down menu, select Arial.

  12. From the Angle pull-down menu, select Italic. Click Apply. Close the Paragraph Designer by clicking on the ►► in the upper right corner.

    Your document window should appear similar to the following:

    Default Font properties

To save this new heading format as a custom tag:

  1. Open Paragraph Designer and click the Basic Basic properties tab.

  2. Select New Format from the Commands pull-down menu. Your screen will appear as follows:

    Default Font properties


  3. In the New Format dialog box, type MyHeading1 in the Tag text box. (Make sure the Store in Catalog and Apply to Selection check boxes are selected.)

    Your dialog box should appear similar to the following:

    New Format

    Note: Tag names are case-sensitive. MyHeading1 is not the same as myheading1.

  4. Click Create. The new tag is now visable from the Paragraph Designer. Open the Paragraph Designer to see your new, custom tag called MyHeading1. Your screen will appear as follows:

    New Format


  5. Click Apply.

  6. Click the Basic Basic properties tab again.

    Notice the Next Pgf Tag check box displayed on your screen. This option allows you to specify which tag is automatically applied to the next paragraph when you press the Enter key.

    Your Basic tab should appear as follows:

    Next Pgf:

    In most cases, after typing a heading, you want a body paragraph to follow the heading. This style is a common format in technical writing.

  7. Close the Paragraph Designer and save your document.

Creating Body Text Tags

Creating tags for ordinary body text is similar to the process for headings. To create tags for body text:

  1. Place your cursor to the right of the letter g in the word Heading.

  2. Press Enter a few times to start another section within your document.

    Note: To obtain text similar to the text shown in this example, visit www.lipsum.com and copy and paste 2 or 3 paragraphs of text in to your document.

  3. Type or insert three or four lines of text. Press Enter after each line.

  4. Place your cursor on the second line, and open the Paragraph Designer (Ctrl + M).

  5. Click the Basic tab and complete the following:
  6. Take a moment to review the Basic tab after completing the above steps. The Basic tab should appear as follows:

    Next Pgf:

  7. Click Apply.

  8. Save this format by selecting New Format from the Commands pull-down menu.

  9. In the New Format dialog box, type MyIndent1 for the tag name (Make sure the Store in Catalog and Apply to Selection check boxes are selected.)

    Your New Format dialog box should appear as follows:

    Next Pgf:

  10. Click Create.
  11. Click the Default Font Basic properties ] tab.

  12. From the Family pull-down menu, select Courier New.

  13. From the Size pull-down menu, select 10 pt.

  14. Click Update All.

    Your screen should appear as follows:

    Next Pgf:


  15. Close the Paragraph Designer and save your document.

Creating Bulleted List Tags

In this section, you will create a tag for a bulleted list and learn how to change the standard bullet symbol.
First, create a bulleted list:

  1. Press Enter a few times to start another section within your document.

  2. Type or insert three or four lines of text. Press Enter after each line.

  3. Place your cursor within one of the middle lines.

  4. Select Bulleted from the Paragraph Catalog. Your screen should appear as follows:

    Next Pgf:


  5. Close Paragraph Catalog. Open the Paragraph Designer (Ctrl + M).

  6. Click the Basic tab and complete the following:

  7. FrameMaker will send a warning that your changes will not be able to be undone and that the Undo history will be lost. Press OK to continue. The warning message will appear as follows:

    Next Pgf:


  8. Save this format by selecting New Format from the Commands pull-down menu.

  9. In the New Format dialog box, type MyBullet1 in the Tag text box. (Make sure the Store in Catalog and Apply to Selection check boxes are selected.)

    Your New Format dialog box should appear as follows:

    Next Pgf:


  10. Click Create. Your document window and Paragraph Designer should appear as follows:

    Next Pgf:


  11. Close the Paragraph Designer.

  12. Place your cursor to the left of the first letter of the bulleted item. (In the example below, this would be the letter M in the word Maecenas.) Press Tab to move the text way from the bullet symbol. This step will move the word Maecenas to the right and away from the bullet. The bulleted item will now have a space between the bullet and the first letter of text. Your screen will appear as follows:

    Next Pgf:

It is not easy to change the standard bullet symbol in a bulleted list in FrameMaker. The symbols are not easily accessible; they are only in the Quick Reference book and not online.

Changing the bullet symbol can be done but it is a complex process. First of all, you have to find the symbol you want. Here is a process that can work around the limitations of FrameMaker and help you add a new bullet symbol of your choice:

  1. Imagine that you want to use a square (or rectangle) as your bullet symbol. The symbol you want is in Wingdings and corresponds to the letter o. Type the letter o on a new line of text. (You will remove this letter later).

  2. Select or highlight the letter o, and change the font for that letter to Wingdings. The letter will now reflect the Wingdings symbol. Your document window should appear as follows:

    Next Pgf:
  3. If you don't like that symbol, type out the full alphanumeric character set (1, 2, 3 or a, b, c...) and change the font of that letter or number to Wingdings. Select the one you like!


To create a character tag for this symbol:

  1. Select the text you just changed to Wingdings.

  2. Select Format > Characters > Designer, or hold down (Ctrl + D) to open the Character Designer.

  3. In the Character Tag box, type BoxBullet1.

  4. Click Apply. The New Format dialog box appears. Your document window should appear as follows:

    Next Pgf:

  5. Click Create.

  6. Close the Charachter Designer by clicking on the ►►in the upper right corner.
    Delete the BoxBullet1 symbol from your text. You will not need this bullet where it is placed in your document.

Now you can activate this symbol in your bulleted list:

  1. Place your cursor immediately to the left of the first letter of your bulleted item. (In the example, this would be the letter M in the word Maecenas.) Open the Paragraph Designer (Ctrl + M).

  2. Click the Numbering Basic properties tab.

  3. In Autonumber Format text box, replace /t with the letters o\t .

    The text box should now contain o\t.
    (Remember the letter o corresponds to the open square symbol with the Wingdings font. The \t indicates a tab.)

  4. Select BoxBullet1 from the Character Format list.

    The settings for Numbering properties should look similar to the following:

    Numbering properties

  5. Click Update All.

    The bullet symbol is now the open square style. Your document window will appear as follows:

    Basic properties

  6. Close the Paragraph Designer and save your document.

Creating Numbered List Tags

In the Introduction & Basics tutorial, you learned how to create numbered lists and how to restart a numbered list to one. You may encounter situations in which you want a second-level listed, or "nested" list. Typically, a second-level list uses lowercase letters in contrast to the Arabic numerals used in the first-level list, as shown below. In addition, the items in a second-level list are usually indented from the first-level items.

The following is an example of a nested list

List example

To create the first and second-level list items:

  1. Press Enter a few times to start another section within your document.

  2. Type or insert eight lines of text. Press Enter after each line.

  3. Place your cursor on your second line of text, and select Numbered from the Paragraph Catalog. Repeat this procedure for the third, fourth and fifth lines.

    Your screen should appear similar to the following:

    Basic properties


  4. Place your cursor within the fourth line, and open the Paragraph Designer (Ctrl + M).

  5. Click the Numbering tab.

  6. In the Autonumber Format text box, change <n+>.\t to <a+>.\t

    The Autonumber Format box should look similar to the following:

    Autonumber Format

  7. Click Apply.

    The number 3 changes to the letter c.

  8. Now, change the letter c to the letter a by going back to the Numbering tab (in Paragraph Designer) and changing <a+> to <a=1>, and then click Apply.

    Your screen should appear as follows:

    Autonumber Format


    Note: The n specifies Arabic numbers and the a specifies lowercase letters. The =1 specifies that the item is the first value in whatever tag is specified (1, I, A, a, and so on). The + means that the item's value increments by one.

To indent the second-level list:

  1. Place your cursor in the nested line of the numbered list. (In this example, that is the line that reads a. Lectus molestie...). Open the Basic tab in Paragraph Designer.

  2. Make sure your cursor is still positioned in the fourth line, and change the First Indent to 0.25 inches and the Left Indent to 0.50 inches.

  3. Change the Left Tab setting to 0.50 inches:

    1. In the Tab Stops area, click the tab named 0.25" L, and then click Edit.
    2. In the New Position box, type 0.50.
    3. Click Continue.
    4. FrameMaker will send a warning that your changes will not be able to be undone and that the Undo history will be lost. Press OK to continue. The warning message will appear as follows:

      Next Pgf:
    5. Click Apply.

    Your screen should appear as follows:

    Autonumber Format

To save this second-level list format as Alphanum, follow the steps below:

  1. In the Paragraph Designer, select New Format from the Commands pull-down menu.

  2. In the New Format dialog box, type Alphanum in the Tag text box.
    (Make sure the Store in Catalog and Apply to Selection check boxes are selected.)

    The New Format dialog box should appear as follows:

    Autonumber Format


  3. Click Create, and then click Apply.

To apply the Alphanum tag to the following lines:

  1. Place your cursor within the fifth line, and click Alphanum in the Paragraph Catalog.
    Notice the label did not change as expected. The fifth line is still listed as number 2 of the numbered list.

  2. To make the label increment appropriately, click the Numbering tab in the Paragraph Designer.

  3. In the Autonumber Format box, change <a=1> to <a+>.

  4. Click Apply.

    The line correctly changes to the value b. Your numbered list should appear as follows:

    Autonumber Format


  5. Place your cursor in the sixth line, and click Alphanum in the Paragraph Catalog.
    Once again, the label doesn't increment correctly. You can follow the previous step to increment this line to its correct value, c.

    Note: A way out of this problem is to make the Alphanum tag <a+> and manually change the first Alphanum item to <a=1>. For now, leave the settings as is.

Your list now consists of two Numbered items (1 and 2), then three Alphanum items (a, b, and c).

Notice what happens when you try to change the seventh line of text to a numbered item.
Your screen should appear as follows:

Autonumber Format

To change the seventh line of text to a numbered item, instead of continuing with the lettered list:

  1. Place your cursor within the seventh line of text.

  2. Click Numbered from the Paragraph Catalog.

    Notice the seventh line gets numbered 4 instead of the expected 3. Why? Because 4 and d are the same character in terms of sequence. (1, 2, 3, 4, and a, b, c, d)

    Your screen should appear as follows:

    Autonumber Format

To fix this problem, you can use a series label:

  1. Close Paragraph Catalog. Place your cursor within the third line of text. (This will be numbered item 2.)

  2. Click the Numbering tab in the Paragraph Designer.

  3. In the Autonumber Format box, type A: in front of the <n+>.\t
    Click Update All. (If prompted, click Remove Overrides.)

    Your screen should appear as follows:

    Autonumber Format


  4. Place your cursor within the fifth line of text. (This will be the lettered item b.)

  5. In the Autonumber Format box, type B: in front of the <a+>.\t and click Update All.
    (If prompted, click Remove Overrides.)

    You have just created two separate numbering "streams" for the Numbered and Alphanum tags.

    Your screen should appear as follows:

    Autonumber Format


  6. Close the Paragraph Designer and save your document.

These instructions provide a brief overview regarding how to create numbered lists in FrameMaker. The commands may seem complicated at first, but once you get familiar with the terminology, you will see that FrameMaker provides reliable control over all numbering streams in your document. For more information on series labels, see the chapter in the Adobe FrameMaker User Guide on formatting text — specifically, the section on formatting lists.

Creating Special Notice Tags

Technical documents often contain special notices—such as warning, caution, and danger—that highlight special points or alert you to potential problems. These notices must use a consistent format and style and are especially good candidates for FrameMaker tags.

To create a tag for a warning note:

  1. Press Enter a few times to start another section within your document.

  2. Type or insert a paragraph that is several lines in length. (Do not press Enter.)

  3. Place your cursor within the paragraph and create a character tag called bold_italic:

    1. Open the Character Designer (Ctrl + D) or by clicking the option along the right of your screen.
    2. Type bold_italic in the Character Tag box.
    3. Change the Family to Arial font.
    4. Change Angle to Italic and change Weight to Bold.
    5. From the Commands pull-down menu, select New Format.
    6. Type bold_italic in the New Format Tag box.
    7. Make sure Stored in Catalog and Applied to Selection are both checked.
    8. Click Create. Click Apply.
    9. Close the Character Designer.

  4. Place your cursor somewhere in the paragraph, and open the Paragraph Designer (Ctrl + M) or choose from the option along the right of your screen.

  5. Click the Basic tab and change the Left Indent to 1.0 inches. (Leave the other indent settings at zero.)

  6. Under the Tab Stops area, click Edit.

  7. In the Edit Tab Stops dialog box, type 1.0 in the New Position field. Click Continue.
    FrameMaker will send a warning that your changes will not be able to be undone and that the Undo history will be lost. Press OK to continue.

  8. From the Alignment pull-down menu, select Left.

  9. In the Paragraph Designer, select New Format from the Commands pull-down menu.

  10. In the New Format dialog box, type Warning1 in the Tag box. (Make sure the Store in Catalog and Apply to Selection check boxes are selected.)

    Your screen should appear as follows:

    Autonumber Format


  11. Click Create, and then click Apply. The text in your document window may appear unusual because the first line of text will be left aligned and the rest of the paragraph will be left indented at the 1.0" Edit Tab Stop you previously set.

  12. Click the Numbering tab.

  13. Check the Autonumber Format box to activate this option.

  14. In the Autonumber Format text box, type Warning:\t

  15. From the Character Format list, click the character tag you designed earlier (bold_italic).

    Character Format

  16. Click Update All to apply the warning tag to your paragraph. Notice how the entire paragraph of text aligns itself, but the the warning label stays aligned left. Your screen should appear as follows:

    Warning note

  17. Save your document.

The final product of this tutorial can be seen by clearing the text symbols. To do this, click View > Text Symbols. Make sure that the text symbols option is unchecked.

Upon completion of this assignment, your document window should appear as follows:

Warning note

In this tutorial, you learned how to create, use, and modify a few basic character and paragraph tags.


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