I would like to create graphs and pie charts in Framemaker.
Does anyone know if FM can do this - the same way you can use data tables in Excel to create charts and graphs.
If FM doesn't have this functionality in-built, then is there a plugin available that will allow me to do this?
You can do kind of crude stuff with the drawing tools, but if I were you
I'd use Visio or Excel and export whatever you create as PNGs or other
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> If you have Excel, then you can use use that to create the chart and just copy&paste into FM.
You can also use the free LibreOffice or OpenOffice 'calc' (which can read .xls).
Calc has the nice feature that you can trivially export selections (including charts) to PDF, then import the PDF into Frame. My recollection from having done this with pie charts a couple of months ago is that the objects retain their vector structure (maximum quality). A screenshot is a raster, scales inelegantly, and may have artifacts downstream.
On older versions of FM, you'll need to convert the PDF to EPS, which can be done with Illustrator, Acrobat Std/Pro, and perhaps some other vector editor apps.
Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to use OLE.
This got my brain spinning with delight, because I had never thought of such a thing. It would be one of the funnest scripting projects ever, but unfortunately probably not worth the effort. It would take lots and lots of engineering just to barely mimic the most basic capabilities of applications like Excel. Bar charts would be the easiest, because lines and rectangular objects are straightforward and easily manipulated with a script. A pie chart would be a different matter, because the drawing tools don't have anything that would easily form a pie slice shape. There is the polyline object which might be a candidate, but FM doesn't seem to expose the line curve properties to a script.
Anyway, thanks for the fun thoughts, but I'd have to agree with the general sentiment that an external tool would be much more logical. It would be easier to import data and graphic files from an external tool, than to put that data into an FM doc and try to create the graphics within.
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I'm already using Excel to create the charts and importing into FM - but we are working on a new book format that will mean a big increase in th amount of charts. So I was hoping FM had a plug-in that would handle this, as it would make it a lot easier to format the charts to match the style of the rest of the book (eg: charts using same colour/paragraph/character properties).
I think a plug-in that can do this would be fairly popular - save a lot of time. I would definitely buy it if it was available.
FM can do nearly eveything else, I thought this may have been a simple thing - but then again I know nothing about FM plug-in programming.
Nevermind, back to Excel then - thanks for all the advice.
Another approach that might be more fruitful could be to use Extendscript to talk to Illustrator (which has a charting tool) to create the graphic. Illustrator is part of the TCS, but I don't know how well it's integrated with the "secret sauce" recipes that Adobe engineering sometimes mentions. However, they are supposed to be able to talk to each other, so to be able to pass data seems feasible.
Arnis, I don't know any details on the feasibility either, but that sounds like the most positively delightful project ever. If anyone wants to hire me to do it, I'll quit my job and be there in the morning.
I have quite enough trouble getting people to talk to each other and agree content for manuals – the idea of a project where I had to get "family" software components to talk to each other would terrify me <rofl>