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How can I migrate from FrameMaker to InDesign?

Jul 11, 2013 2:29 PM

Tags: #indesign #framemaker #migration

We have a bunch of legacy documentation in FrameMaker format, and would like to migrate those documents over to InDesign. Any suggestions would be helpful…



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    Jul 11, 2013 4:37 PM   in reply to omasciarotte

    One option is MIF Filter for InDesign:

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 11, 2013 4:59 PM   in reply to omasciarotte

    omasciarotte wrote:


    We have a bunch of legacy documentation in FrameMaker format, and would like to migrate those documents over to InDesign. Any suggestions would be helpful…



    There's no simple direct route from FrameMaker to InDesign. ID doesn't read FM files. So, you'd think if ID could read FM files, like it reads MS Word files, it would be a snap. NOT! Search Google for phrases like "converting microsoft word to InDesign," without quotes. Oh, the pain! Read through as many of the copious links that identify conversion issues and solutions, to get an idea of what's ahead.


    Here are some options:


    * If it's important to preserve the page layout, consider exporting FM to PDF and using the PDF pages as "underlays," by placing them on locked background layers, below working document-page layers.


    * To extract text and other content from FM text flows, do one of the following:


       + Export FM to RTF and place the RTF in ID.

        + Export FM to PDF, export RTF from PDF, and place the RTF in ID.

        + Copy and paste content from FM text flows into ID text flows.


    And for something completely different:


        + Work with the free trial of the commercial MIF Filter plug-in for InDesign, from DTP You need to export Maker Interchange Format (MIF) from FM files, and open them in ID, after installing the plug-in. You don't buy the plug-in, you buy page credits, like phone minutes; the more you buy at one time, the less per minute. You can use the plug-in for free, so you can see the exact ID document it creates from your MIF file, but you can't save or print the results without buying page credits.


    Because there are some FM constructs that don't have counterparts in ID, the plug-in figures out the best fake from its repertory for each situation. For example, FM uses the larger of space below a paragraph and space above the following paragraph, while ID adds the space values. FM paragraph formats (like ID styles) can attach graphic frames below or above paragraphs; ID can't do that, but it does have paragraph rules. The rules don't work like FM's above/below frames, so the conversion creates anchored frames above or below the paragraphs to simulate the FM layout.


    Depending on how creatively ingenious and complex your team has constructed the FM documents, the MIF FIlter plug-in can approach near-perfection, or fail miserably.


    The good part of the MIF Filter's pricing is that you don't consume page credits until you save a converted document, so you don't have to pay for miserable conversions.


    FrameMaker's cross-references and footnotes are preserved (but ID lacks table footnotes, and table titles.) Also auto-numbered lists, pagination, paragraph numbering across book files. ID can make book files that manage independent chapter files, like FM.


    [EDIT] I forgot to mention the free FM-to-MIF utility, which makes quick work of converting single or batches of FM files to MIF. [/EDIT]


    ID can match FM format names to ID style names, so if your team has been diligent about using formats, you'll have less touching-up to do.


    If replicating the layout isn't a big deal, there aren't many cross-references, or footnotes, etc., consider exporting content from FM as plain text, placing it into ID, and applying styles.


    It's a bit late to ask, buy what's your goal in moving from FM to ID? Currently, FM can use XML for strongly-structured documentation, and has much better help system exporting abilities. You may or may not need to consider these.


    Good luck!










    Peter Gold

    KnowHow ProServices


    Message was edited by: peter at knowhowpro

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