Latest posts by techwriter (see all)
- How NOT to Look for a Writing Job (1) - January 22, 2017
- Hazards of Poorly Written Technical Documentation - December 26, 2016
- Get an ‘A’ on Your Next Research Paper With These 6 Simple Steps - November 28, 2016
© 2010 Ugur Akinci
Say you have a FrameMaker book consisting of 100 chapters. Your client has asked you to update the book and insert a “New Edition 2010” notice to every page footer. How would you do it?
As usual, there’s a hard way and a relatively easier way.
The hard way is no secret: you open every chapter in the book; go to the Master Pages, and insert the notice to the footer of the master pages that you’ve used in the book. And repeat that 100 times for each chapter…
Or even worse, if you have not used any master pages at all (tsk tsk), you can of course do the edits inside each body-page footer text-frame, for every page in the document! (Call that the Nightmare Scenario.)
Here is a much easier way that requires some forethought and advance preparation.
The secret is using Variables in your Master Page footers (and/or headers), and then importing Variable Definitions from one selected file (chapter) to all other files (chapters) in the book.
WARNING: Before doing anything else, if you’re going to update an existing book, save a BACKUP copy of your whole book directory. If anything goes wrong you can still revert back to your original book file.
I’m assuming you have created this book by using FrameMaker templates… You do that by creating the templates of any kind of file you’ll be using in your book (Front Cover, Back Cover, Front Matter, TOC, chapter, Index, etc.).
1) In the master pages of all these template files, select Special > Variable and display the Variable dialog box:
2) Click Create Variable button and create variables that correspond to the header or footer element that you need to include in your book.
For example, if you need to have the Document Title in the center of your footer, create a Document Title variable and place it in the center of your footer.
3) Then click the Edit Definition (while that variable is selected) and enter the value for that specific variable (e.g., “ACME User Guide”).
4) Save and get out of that document.
5) Insert the same variable in appropriate locations in all the other templates. If most of your documents are chapters, then you can use the same chapter template over and over again.
Once you’ve completed all that necessary groundwork, you can update the Document Title in two simple steps:
6) Go to your reference file (say, Chapter 1) and edit the Document Title variable (in Master Pages) by changing it from (let’s say) “ACME User Guide” to “ACME User Guide, New Edition 2010”.
7) Then go to the Book File. Select all the files (chapter) you’d like to update.
8] While the book chapters are selected, select File > Import > Formats to display the Import Formats dialog box:
9) In the Import from Document field, select the reference file from the drop-down list. This is the file that already has the correct footer and will serve as a model for all the other files/chapters that you need to update.
10) Select the Variable Definitions check-box. If you have attached a special character styling (like Italic/Emphasis) by including a character style in your variable definition in the Edit User Variable dialog box, then import the Character Formats as well by selecting the Character Formats check-box.
11) Click the Import button and voila! All the footers in your book will be updated instantly.
Repeat the same process for headers.