FrameMaker – Creating (Unstructured) Content

Learn to use FrameMaker like a pro. This course takes over where my Intro to FrameMaker course leaves off.

You’ll learn the best practices and gritty details that will turn you into a superstar FrameMaker author.

Learn the techniques that allow technical communication professionals around the world to use FrameMaker to easily manage libraries of documents, and produce consistent, feature-rich documentation.

This course blends lecture, recorded material, and real-world projects. The training materials include bonus content that will take you as deep into FrameMaker as you want to go!

Course material and features are based on the current release of FrameMaker, and users of previous FrameMaker versions are welcome. Books and class files will be supplied in earlier FrameMaker formats whenever possible.

Looking for FrameMaker templates and template-driven design?

Consider my Template Design Workshop, where you’ll learn everything you need to develop and maintain beautiful and efficient FrameMaker projects.

Course Syllabus


FrameMaker keeps track of numbering, cross-referencing, complex tables, TOCs, IXs, and formatting. And absolutely nothing can publish to online formats and PDF like FrameMaker. In short, using the techniques you’ll learn in Week 1, you’ll see why tech comm experts have made FrameMaker an indispensable part of their workflow for over 20 years.

    • Understanding the FrameMaker workflow
    • Setting up a FrameMaker workgroup
    • Navigating the FrameMaker Interface
  • Tweaking the FrameMaker interface
  • Using templates in a template-based workflow
  • Publishing to mobile and help formats
      • BONUS (1 of 3): FrameMaker Digital Publishing Overview
      • BONUS (2 of 3): Formatting HTML5 output from FrameMaker
    • BONUS (3 of 3): Creating mobile apps from FrameMaker Content

After this lesson, expect your content goals to come into focus. You’ll see how FrameMaker’s organization and features make it a bulletproof way to manage your content.


Formatting on the fly is not a strategy. In this section, you’ll learn why the fastest ways to change formatting will cost you the most in the long run. You’ll learn why up and down the development line style usage and consistency will make your editing and publishing a breeze, and why a solid template-based workflow can easily save you 30% or more of your documentation effort and resources.

  • Using paragraph styles
  • Using character styles
  • Understanding object styles
  • How styles help manage content, layout, and publishing

After this lesson, you’ll be able to write and properly format faster than ever before. More importantly, you’ll be laying the foundation for manageable editing and publishing as part of your template-based workflow.


Got a complex table that spans 30 pages or more? Bring it on! Need to pepper your user guide with cross-references to procedures including section numbering, titles and page numbers (but only in the PDF, not the online versions?!) FrameMaker makes all of this a breeze. In this section you’ll learn how tables and cross-references are two of the most solid and least to be feared things you can produce and manage in your documents. A deep understanding of these two concepts alone can make a world of difference in managing your content.

  • Understanding proper use of tables
  • Modifying table content
  • Table odds and ends/more advanced concepts
  • Referencing: Cross-References
  • Intro-Cross-References
  • Basic Cross-References
  • Template Design: Cross-References

After this lesson, you’ll be comfortable working with long, complex tables, and accurately inserting perfect cross-references to your content. You will virtually eliminate edits related to table breaks, table headings, and numbering/accuracy issues with your content.


Did you know that FrameMaker easily handles over 100 graphics and rich media formats? That’s important when your content is more likely than ever to be viewed on digital and mobile platforms. Scalable, interactive, and controllable content are easy to insert and publish as needed. Control your media with conditional text (Week 5) and you can manage which content publishes to each platform within a single document.

  • Working with content: Using graphics and rich media
  • To Frame or not to Frame
  • Using anchored frames
  • Placing and controlling rich media

After this lesson, you’ll be able to place and manage your media and graphics (we’ll be reviewing use of object styles from Week 2) and understand again how relying on your template can free you from chasing down pagination issues, regardless of content length.


Managing one instance of your information is hard enough…let alone managing versions for print, help, product variations, or options. In Week 5 you’ll learn to use the FrameMaker options that improve content reuse. You’ll create content in one location, and then reference it as needed. Along with a review of the cross-refererence content from Week 3, you’ll learn about:

  • variables
  • text insets
  • conditional text
  • built-in integration with Dropbox and leading content management systems

After this lesson, you can simplify your content strategies based on version number, configuration, and/or output target.


This is where it all comes together! The peak of FrameMaker’s tactical advantage in tech comm is project management and digital publishing. This week you’ll see how we collect all the content for a project into a book file, create chapter and book TOCs, mark entries for a generated index, and push the entire project out to PDF, Help, and just about any other format you can think of.

You’ve already done the legwork to make this all come together, so look forward to seeing a cohesive final project, with easily updatable content and formatting.

Specifically, we’ll cover:

  • Creating and managing book files
  • Defining tables of contents
  • Indexes and index markers
  • Print, PDF, and Electronic Publishing, including more detail on the Help/EPUB/mobile publishing process
  • Overview of PDF review cycle, commenting features in Reader
  • Creating PDF for import, and automatically updating FrameMaker content from the PDF comments
  • Reintroduction of digital publishing

After this session, you’ll have a full working knowledge of managing FrameMaker content and appreciate the merits of a template-based workflow.

Ready to register? 

Here’s a link to the Tech Comm Tools online store, where you can compare FrameMaker classes, courses, and private training options.

Get instant access to the FrameMaker Creating Content online course

Custom training and live training classes

All topics can be delivered live (online or in person) and customized to fit your training needs.
For more information please contact Matt Sullivan