One of the FrameMaker features I rely on heavily for my technical documents is the use of "live" headers and footers. Once I get them set up, they will automatically pull text off of my page into the running heads so that the reader can quickly see what chapter they are in, or what section, or both.
I accomplish this through the use of System Variables. There are lots of variables in FrameMaker, but the ones I'm talking about here are the Running H/F variables. To use them you need to begin by identifying the text in the document that you would like to appear in your running heads. The usual suspects would be the chapter title and perhaps also the section titles. Once you identify the text, you need to jot down the exact spelling of the paragraph formats that are assigned to them. If you are using the default paragraph format names, these might be "Title" and "Heading1". The names themselves don't matter, but matching the spelling and capitalization does, so you need to know exactly what the format names are, before proceeding. Ready? Here we go:
- Choose View > Master Pages.
- Click in one of the header or footer background frames.
- Choose Format > Headers & Footers > Insert Other.
- Scroll down through the list of variables until you find Running H/F 1. Click on it once to select it.
- Evaluate the Definition to see if it will work for you as is. The default definition reads: <$paratext[Title]>.
In English, this says "go get the paragraph text of the paragraph format called Title and put it at the cursor position." As long as you are using the default chapter title name Title, that will work. But what if you opted to call all of your titles ChapterTitle? Then you better update the definition to read <$paratext[ChapterTitle]>. Remember, if the format names don't match exactly, they won't work.
- If you need to update the definition, click the little gear button on the Pod toolbar (button number 3).
- Edit the Definition to match your spelling of the title format, and then click Edit.
- To insert the variable into the background frame, click the Insert button on the Pod toolbar (button number 1).
- Repeat for the facing page, if you'd like, and then return to the Body pages.
If you are new to FrameMaker and need some training, join our instructor-led, online Introduction to Adobe FrameMaker 9 class on December 2-3. Too elementary for your skill level? How about the Advanced FrameMaker 9 class on December 9-10? Hope to "see" you there.
About the author: Barbara Binder is the president and founder of Rocky Mountain Training. Barbara has been a trainer for nearly two decades and has been recognized by Adobe as one of the top trainers world-wide.