Upgrade to FM12 Reason #2) Greater customization, customized workflows
One of the most compelling reasons to upgrade to FrameMaker 12 is the redesigned User Interface (UI) which allows “named” workspaces that “remember” placement of menus, etc. Most significantly, nearly any document or menu may be docked, allowed to float, or “dragged” out of the workspace (document window.)
More room to breathe
Once you have upgraded to FrameMaker 12 and become used to the freedom of placing frequently used menus and catalogs on a second monitor, it is quite difficult to “go back” to using FrameMaker 7.2 from 2005, which confined all activity to the “document window.” Floating menus, books or documents in FrameMaker 11 may also be collapsed to a horizontal bar, revealing more document content; this is a real plus when working on a smaller screen, like a laptop or netbook.
The two labeled screen captures below show a stark contrast between the document window of FrameMaker 7.2 and a customized workspace in FrameMaker 12.
A typical FrameMaker 7.2 document window for unstructured content:
FrameMaker 12 workspace for the same content shown above. The document and menu to the left are floating outside of the FrameMaker workspace. The black background is the windows desktop.
A simple example of ROI with FM 12’s user interface
If you examine the screen captures above and their labels closely, notice the “LOR.fm” document at the bottom of the screen in the first FM7 screen capture. This is a manually generated “list of references” that will display the paths to all referenced graphics in a document. It takes seven mouse clicks, or about ten seconds to create or update this document. Unfortunately, you cannot “refresh” the document, and it gives no indication of which referenced, external graphics might be “broken”.
Look closely at the “insets” pod at the bottom of the screen capture for FrameMaker 12 above. This dynamic window requires one click to refresh, and it can (a) display all imported graphics for all open documents, (b) both text insets as well as referenced graphics or (c) _only _broken referenced graphics. This constant window into previously hidden internal document information can save countless hours of generated lists, multiple searches, etc. employed in FrameMaker 7.2 to achieve the same results.
Note: broken referenced graphics or unresolved cross references will have a red “x”in front of them in the pod. If you look at the path name for the last graphic displayed in the pod in the FM 12 screen capture above, you will notice that the pathname is much shorter. Although this is a “valid” referenced graphic, you have an instant visual cue that this graphic may have been imported from the wrong source folder. Speaking from personal experience, this one feature saved me a substantial amount of time during my corrective, post-translation editing activities while on duty in my previous job with a translation agency.
Freedom to place content or menus where they serve you best
In FrameMaker 12, documents or menus/dialogs may be arranged in the several ways;
- Documents may “float” and be stacked over one another
- Documents may be “docked” and appear as “tabs” at the top of the screen for easy access
- A “floating” document or menu may be dragged outside of the workspace (document window in FrameMaker 7.2 terms) and placed on any available screen space, even into an external monitor
- Currently used menus may be “stacked” into a column on right or left side of screen, displaying full width of menu display
- A “stack” of full width menus on the right hand side may be resized horizontally to create a stack of icons instead of fully displayed menus. In this mode, clicking on any icon will make the menu project horizontally on the screen. See the screen capture below for an example.
FM 11 menus docked, full width
FM 11 menus, docked as “labels”
FM 11 menus, docked as “icons” with marker exposed
One of the beauties of the friendlier FM 12 UI, is that users can modify their workspaces differently as they adapt to advanced features. (a) Some users new to FrameMaker may prefer the view in the left hand column above, (b) users with intermediate skills may prefer the full labels displayed in “collapsed” mode in the middle column, (c) advanced users who become accustomed to frequently used commands and menus may prefer the “icon” view displayed above in the right-hand column.
Different workspaces for different users and workflows
FrameMaker 12 comes with several, well-designed workspaces that will fit the needs of most users. However, you can customize the experience for your team by pre-configuring workspaces for specific tasks. All you need to do is arrange the necessary menus in an appropriate fashion and “name” the workspace.
How to restore workspaces to their default values
Sometimes users new to FrameMaker will invoke a variety of unrelated commands from pull-down menus. This will cause new menus or icons to appear in the stack on the right-hand side of the screen. When you are new to FrameMaker 12, you may reach a point where this appears to go out of control.
To restore your default or custom workspace to its original settings, simply pull down the menu under the workspace name (shown to the right) and select “Reset Workspace.” This will eliminate all recently added, unwanted menus and simplify your workspace to its original state.
Have your own hands-on with FrameMaker 12 and decide how you can use it
Adobe Technical Communication Suite 5 includes FrameMaker 12, 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 12 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 5, which includes RoboHelp 11, Captivate and other products in addition to FrameMaker 12.