Using Framemaker Text Insets (Long)

Subject: Using Framemaker Text Insets (Long)
From: Dan Emory <danemory -at- primenet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2000 12:32:25 -0800

The purpose of this posting is to summarize the ways in
which FrameMaker text insets can be used, and recom-
mended steps for making full use of them.

When the source of a text inset is an external file,
an extra blank paragraph is sometimes created at
the insertion point in the document (i.e., in the target
document). This extra blank paragraph appears
below the last line of the text inset.

To solve this problem. I usually create two formats,
Spacer and SpacerRunin, that are in the paragraph catalogs
of both the text inset files and the target document files.
I insert an empty SpacerRunin paragraph as the last line
of the text inset, and insert the Spacer paragraph at the
point of text inset insertion in the target document.
Consequently, the gap between the last non-blank text
line in the text inset and the first non-blank line after
the text inset in the target document is determined by:

1. The identical font size of the two paragraphs.
2. The Space Above setting ofn the SpacerRunin paragraph
3. The Space Below and Line Spacing settings of the
Spacer paragraph format.

As you can see, the above method allows you to establish
a fixed vertical gap between the end of any text
inset and the text that follows. Since these two paragraph
tags are in the paragraph catalogs of both the target
document files and the text inset files, it doesn't matter
whether you choose the "Retain Source's Formatting"
or "Reformat Using Current Document's Catalogs."

Frequently-used boilerplate text (e.g., notes, cautions,
warnings, disclaimers, etc.) can be created in individually
(and descriptively) named text flows on reference pages.
in the master template. Consequently, these text insets
can be updated in any document created from that master

When you want to use a text inset on a reference page in
the target document, you simply choose File > Import > File,
choose import by reference, and select the target document
file itself as the source of the text inset. Then, in the Import
Text By Reference Dialog, choose the desired named text flow
from the Reference Page Flow drop-down menu.

In effect, text insets on reference pages are like variables,
with the added advantage that they can be of any length, and
can contain (like external text insets) all kinds of text formatting
variations, as well as different kinds of document objects
(e.g., anchored frames and tables) as well as (or intermixed
with) straight text.


Suppose the text inset is simply a phrase, and you want it to
appear on the same line as text in the target document.
That is:


If you put TEXT-A in a Runin Head paragraph, the text inset
will appear on the same line following TEXT-A. If you put the
text inset text in a Runin Head paragraph, TEXT-B will appear
on the same line following the text inset.

As you can see, this makes it possible to solve the problem
that arises when a variable definition has a length that
exceeds 255 characters. You simply substitute a text
inset for the variable, and insert it at the beginning, end
or middle of a paragraph.

1. Utilize the same master template for both text inset files
and your target document files. This assures that the
same formatting result occurs, regardless of which
import option is used (i.e., retain source file's
formatting, reformat to conform to the target document's,
catalogs, or import by copy). Also, if you choose later to
convert the text inset to ordinary text, the formatting
will remain consistent with that of the target document.

2. If your test insets are placed in external files, be aware
that you can place many different text insets in the same
file. In that case, each text inset is placed in a separate,
descriptively named text flow. Consequently, you can
create whole libraries of text insets, with each file
containing text insets for a particular category,
document type, or project.

3. Text insets can include variables. If those same
variable names are included in the target documents, the
variables will assume the values specified in each
target document.

4. Text insets can include conditional text.
If the same conditional text definitions exist in the
target documents, then the show/hide settings
in each target document determine which conditional
text is displayed within the text inset in each target

5. Double-clicking a text inset produces the
Text Inset Properties dialog, which indicates whether:
(a) the text inset is being automatically updated,
(b) the date/time that the source (i.e., the text inset)
was last modified, and (c) the date/time the text
inset was last updated in the target document.
This dialog also gives you the following options:
a. Review and change the import by reference settings.
b. Convert the text inset to ordinary text.
c. Open the external source file containing the text inset.
d. Update the target document from the source.

6. Text insets imported by reference into target
documents from external source files can
be the source of cross-reference links in non-text inset
text within the target documents. This may,
however, produce (seemingly) unresolved cross-
references, which can (usually) be eliminated by choosing
Edit > Update References, and updating all cross-

Rather than allowing FrameMaker to create the
cross-reference markers, when you make the first
cross-reference to a text inset, it is better
to create your own descriptive cross-reference markers
in the text inset source. If each such marker has
an identifier (eg., TXI) prefixed to the marker text,
you can distinguish between a source in a text inset
and a source in ordinary text within the target documents.
That is, all text inset sources within the target document
(or another selected document) will appear when you select
Cross Reference Markers as the Source Type in the
Cross-Reference dialog, and they will all have the TXI

7. Cross-reference links to text insets do not work
when the source of the text inset is on a reference
page in the target document. This could be considered
a bug.

8. For obvious reasons, cross-reference links in the text
inset source will not work.

| Nullius in Verba |
Dan Emory, Dan Emory & Associates
FrameMaker/FrameMaker+SGML Document Design & Database Publishing
Voice/Fax: 949-722-8971 E-Mail: danemory -at- primenet -dot- com
10044 Adams Ave. #208, Huntington Beach, CA 92646
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