Frame Spelling Problem Redux

Subject: Frame Spelling Problem Redux
From: Bob Hooker <rlhooker -at- TIAC -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 20:43:58 -0500

Just got back to reading my email after a couple of days hiatus and it seems that my "Frame Spelling Problem Fix" message generated an awful lot more response than my original post, in which I outlined the problem and my attempts to fix it. It's apparent from many of the responses that a lot more people read the second message than the first, but it was certainly good to get your suggestions nonetheless.

Each suggestion deserves a reply, and I'll give it here, but for those without the time or interest to wade through what promises to be a rather lengthy post, here's the summary:
tried that, it didn't work;
tried a whole lot of other stuff, too, and that didn't work either;
considered doing that but it wasn't appropriate in my circumstances.

The bottom line is that there was some exotic bug that manifested itself in that particular template that most people will never hit in 100 years of running FrameMaker, so don't worry about it. I just got unlucky this time. Certainly in five years of writing in Frame, I've never seen or heard of anything like it, and apparently no one else out there has either. But, just in case, save the post in which I outline a fix.

Now for the nitty gritty:
The most common suggestions had to do with having US English turned on. Yes, it was turned on, for all paragraphs. I even went so far as to load some foreign dictionaries and run the spell checker. Same thing: the paragraph types it checked in English it checked in Dutch, the ones it skipped in English, it skipped in Dutch. (And I'll guarantee you there aren't a whole lot of English words that would normally pass a Dutch spell checker.)
Another common suggestion was to Mark All Paragraphs for Rechecking. Did that, numerous times.
Other suggestions had to do with print drivers, hardware, etc. I tried it on three different PCs (two Pentiums and a 486) with a number of different print drivers. (I had originally suspected Adobe Acrobat 3.0 because both the spelling problem and Acrobat showed up on my system about the same time. I am happy to report that Acrobat is not guilty.) I even tried two different versions of FrameMaker, 5.01 and 5.1.1; the documents had the problem in both versions. (Incidentally, it was the latter exercise that convinced me the problem was buried somewhere deep inside the document structure where the normal formatting tools couldn't get at it.)
How did I find the problem in the first place? Great question. Just noticed that it flagged a word I'd used several times in the document but only flagged it in one place. Got to poking around from there.
Why didn't I just save the document in RTF, spell check it in Word, jot down the misspellings and go back and fix the Frame version by hand? I actually did think of doing something like that, which would have made sense if it were just one or two documents that I'd never see again. In this case, however, I was dealing with about two dozen documents comprising two different books that have a couple of months to go for completion, after which I intend to use the template for other projects.
Also tried saving it to MIF and back (didn't work) and RTF and back (worked but all my formats came back as something like Default RTF format.) Opening the RTF in Word and the Word in FrameMaker got rid of the problem and at least preserved the paragraph format names, if not all of the features. (It hosed the character formats entirely.) I quite agree it the poster who asked rhetorically "This is a fix?" but, given the alternatives, it worked pretty well.
Since know one else seems to have heard of the problem, and now, I hope, have it fixed, I'll just consider it one of those things that happens sometimes and would certainly not hesitate to recommend FrameMaker to anyone contemplating doing serious documentation. But, I'll remember the "fix," just in case.


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