FrameMaker Tip

FrameMaker, in case you don't know, is the premier software package used by technical writers to produce large, complex printed documents. It's a professional level package for document production the way Photoshop is the professional level package for imageediting. There are others, but this one is still the best. It has its problems, but it is still the best.

One of it's problems (in my opinion) is that it saves the zoom level you've selected in the file. This is handy if you're the sole person working on the file, but since FrameMaker actually facilitates group work it's more common that somebody else will have to see this file at some point. Saving it at 120% zoom so you can read it while leaving back in your chair or saving it at 75% so you can see the whole page are both pains for the next person if their favored zoom is different.

So here's my tip. FrameMaker has a setting for "Monitor Size" in its General Preferences. This preference is used to scale the document so that when documents are viewed on the screen at 100%, one inch on the screen is actually one inch long. This is nice, but essentially useless for most people since if you really care about dimensions you'll be looking at the numbers for those dimensions, and not measuring with a ruler. This preference is saved for the user, not in the file. What I recommend is that you always work and save at 100% zoom, then set the Monitor Size preference so that documents zoomed to 100% display at the size at which you like to work. In this case, smaller monitor size settings yield higher zoom levels.

This method has its problems too, but it should resolve the "zoom wars" issue some work groups have when using FrameMaker.

2008.02.19 at 12:00am EST