RE: What areas of FrameMaker should I focus on as a new technicalwriter?

Subject: RE: What areas of FrameMaker should I focus on as a new technicalwriter?
From: "Joe Malin" <jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com>
To: "Andy Kelsall" <andy -dot- kelsall -at- gmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 16:46:43 -0700

Just out of curiosity, where did you go to school?

Don't worry, though; I was in exactly the same place where you were, and
I made it. If *I* can, anybody can; I'm the world's most out-of-it tech

My advice is to look for a regular/junior position at a large high-tech
company that already uses FM. Let them teach you. That's how I did it.
As an exercise, write your own user manual in unstructured FM. Come up
with your own templates, etc. In doing that, you'll learn all the
basics. As you go along, ask questions here.

Here's a list of skills I can think of:
* set up frames for text flows, headers, and footers
* create a catalog of useful paragraph and character formats, including
body paragraphs
bulleted and numbered paragraphs using auto-numbering
headings and subheads
headers and footers
figure and table titles
bold, italic, etc character styles (so you never use CTRL+B)
* create a catalog of useful document variables
* create a catalog of useful table styles
* create a catalog of color definitions
* create borders for titles using reference pages
* create templates for a title page, a preface, an introduction,
chapters, part pages, appendixes, a TOC, and an index.
* create a user manual with an automatically generated TOC and index
(this will help you a lot with reference pages and

* other tables of figures, etc
* graphic files (it's pretty easy to learn that)
* text insets (I never use 'em)
* conditional text (easy to learn)

I cement my knowledge through practice. Reading a book is not enough.

Joe Malin
Technical Writer
jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com
The views expressed in this document are those of the sender, and do not
necessarily reflect those of TuVox, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Andy Kelsall
Sent: Tuesday, April 11, 2006 4:31 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: What areas of FrameMaker should I focus on as a new


I've just completed a technical writing program and will be
looking for a position as a technical writer in the near future.

I realize a lot of employers require knowledge of FM for any
technical writing position within their company. Because FM can do so
much, I'm looking for advice on what areas I should focus on now to land
that first job. My hope is to be proficient in certain areas of FM to
land my first position, then improve my skills/knowledge of FM once I'm
working in the technical writing field. Any advice from those working in
the field?


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