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Can Framemaker help me where InDesign can't?

Feb 19, 2013 2:01 PM


Until a few days ago I hadn't even heard of Framemaker. But I'm working on a Bible and I'm finding that there are a number of things that can't be done automatically in InDesign and that will take a lot of time to fix manually. So I've looked at alternative applications that focuses more on typesetting for long books and not so much on layout, and that's how I found Framemaker. But even though I read a bit about it I still don't know if it can solve my problems. These are a few of my issues:

1. I have need of two footnote systems that won't affect one another, one for cross-references and another for informative footnotes. As far as I understand only one footnote system can be created in InDesign. Does the same apply for FrameMaker?

2. I use a two column layout for the insert. But I want the footnotes to span the full width of the text block. It's not possible to do this in a simple manner in InDesign though - what about FrameMaker?

3. I feel that I sometimes would need more "intelligent" paragraph styles than InDesign provides. Styles that may be altered by thier context. Do styles work similarly in FrameMaker or are they stronger somehow?

4. The header of each page should contain a marker naming the current book and also the span of chapters/verses that appear on the given spread. Since FrameMaker seems to be made for techical manuals I'd have guessed that there is some functionality built in to assign these automatically - is this so or must it be done manually as in InDesign?


If FrameMaker can't do these things for me is there some other desktop publishing application you could suggest?

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 19, 2013 2:40 PM   in reply to SimonLinden

    Hi Simon, both should be able to do what you're asking, but for your context question, it sounds like you'll want to be using structured documents.


    Structure (xml) allows you to define context and format based upon that context.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 20, 2013 8:25 AM   in reply to SimonLinden

    Hi Simon,


    I forwarded this to Peter Gold, who is an excellent InDesign and FM resource. Here's his response:


    Hi, Matt:

    For some inscrutable reason, I can't login to Adobe user forums, nor can I send email replies. '

    Would you mind posting this reply to Simon's query in my behalf?

    Harbs, the guy, is one bible-setter who might have some suggestions for Simon.


    Hi, Simon:

    If you haven't posted this query on the InDesign forum, it's a good idea, because there are at least several folks who do biblical typesetting and composition. It's more than likely that they've tackled these problems and will have some suggestions. Also, you might want to use a more-specific subject line that statesthe core issue, biblical typesetting, to attract their attention.

    Briefly, IMO, FrameMaker's still not as powerful a typesetter as InDesign. In the past, hard-bitten FrameMaker users used to refer to folks who labored in minutiae of typesetting control (tracking, kerning, baseline shift, optical margin alignment that puts wide characters that begin a line just a tad outside the left margin so they look "better") as "font fondlers." It sometimes got ugly, not just the type, but the collegial rhetoric.<G>

    If I understand your questions correctly, briefly, perhaps this will be helpful:

    *  FM, like ID, offers only one footnote stream per document. However, IIRC, FM cross-references can capture footnote numbers, but ID cannot, so this might be a way to accomplish what you want.

    * FM running header building blocks can capture "parent" variables like chaptername, chapternumber, volumename, etc. ID is more limited.

    * FM text variables can wrap across line endings, but ID's cannot.




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