#WriteRight: 1) FrameMaker & Word: Autonumbered Paragraphs & Prefixes

This is the first in a series of several brief blogs that highlight some videos we have created to compliment our #WriteRight compaign. Be sure to visit and register for our new micro site, http://www.douwriteright.com/, for a chance to voice your opinion and also to see a growing collection of “mini-videos.”

The first feature comparison we cover in this series of blogs is numbering and auto numbered paragraphs.

Number one complaint about Word: numbering

I spent years correcting other people’s Word documents while in the translation industry. The number one customer complaint about Word (including the current version) was how “transient” automatic numbers seem to be. As many of you know, it doesn’t take much to cause nested number streams to run awry in Word. Some known causes of problems include adding or removing a section break adjacent to a numbered heading.

I have often seen “straight” numbered lists (e.g. all bullets or all numbers) randomly have one or two items switch to the opposite style after translation in Word documents. I have never experienced this with FrameMaker (back to version 3.0). The reason is probably that a very different mechanism is used to control numbered paragraphs in FrameMaker. Building blocks, e.g. <n+> for add a consecutive arabic number, are used in the numbering properties of paragraph design.

Examples and tools you can use for auto numbers in FrameMaker

FrameMaker comes with a variety of templates (regular and DITA/XML) out of the box, that include sophisticated, mixed numbering styles. Unlike Word, there is no 9 digit limit to numbered prefixes. You also have control over text in numbered prefixes. If you wished to be creative, you could form a paragraph style that displayed “13.a Figure: How to go Fishing” for instance. “13.a Figure:” would be the automatic numbered prefix.

What if you want to “end it” with a number?

Believe it or not, FrameMaker also provides the rarely used ability to display your numbered “prefix” as a “suffix” at the end of the paragraph, aligned with the right margin. This is useful for text book publishing, wherein one may wish to have “Example 1.2” appear after an illustration of quotation.

Seeing is believing: watch the FrameMaker 11 auto-numbering mini-video

The best way to grasp the difference between how Word and FrameMaker handle numbered paragraphs and lists is to watch the mini video:

Have your own hands-on with FrameMaker 11 and decide how you can use it

Adobe Technical Communication Suite 4 includes FrameMaker 11, which is an excellent authoring solution and also a versatile structured editor for DITA/XML. The possibilities with these new tools are as limitless as the profiles of our existing and potential customers. To discover how you can use FrameMaker, download a trial copy of FrameMaker 11 today. After having your own hands-on, you may decide in favor of the best bargain of all, obtaining a cloud subscription to the entire Tech Comm Suite 4, which includes RoboHelp 10, Captivate 6 and other products in addition to FrameMaker 11.