FrameMaker Template Design Workshop

  • FrameMaker Template Design Workshop ($800)

Nothing has more impact on your efficiency as a technical writer than your template. Without a good template, you’re likely to spend 30-50% of your time formatting, reformatting, and correcting desktop publishing errors in your material.

Work with a solid template, and you’ll likely cut that waste to 5-10% of your total time.

That’s why I’ve taken my absolute best FrameMaker knowledge and content and turned it into a template design workshop offered both as a class and an online course.

In the workshop, you’ll have learning and assignments in each module to help you transform your existing FrameMaker workflow into something that you’ll truly enjoy using.

Students should have taken the FrameMaker – Advanced Authoring┬ácourse, or have equivalent experience.

I’ve developed over 20 years of FrameMaker best practices, I’ve written five FrameMaker reference books in the past 4 years, and I’ve created more video on Technical Communication Suite products than anyone else out there, including Adobe’s own team! And I’ve put as much of that content as I can remember into this workshop.

Here is what we cover in the workshop:

Everything (and we mean everything) related to building and maintaining your template and a template-driven design in Adobe FrameMaker.

Scroll down to the next section for a more thorough list of topics in the course.

What’s the format?

As an online class, this workshop is set up to present the information in the most logical order. In the online course, you can move about the course as needed, which is helpful if you are updating an existing template.

  • The online class is two days of training.
  • The online course can go at whatever speed you like, and you have up to 30 days to complete your work.

You can expect 2-3 hours outside of the learning material to work through material and to modify your own working FrameMaker template.

You’ll work on exercises and work-oriented projects to make sure your template fits your work.

We maintain a private Facebook group for questions and discussions with your instructor and fellow attendees.



Working with templates is really about defining and enforcing standards. In this module you’ll evaluate your existing content, and set up standards that will help you create a framework for the rest of your template development.

  • FrameMaker Workgroup Standards
  • Define a template, and explain a template-based workflow
  • Establish naming conventions for Styles
  • Refine Tag Names (Paragraph, Character, Object, etc.)

After this lesson, you’ll have a clear understanding of how the pieces of the template fit together and have a checklist of things you’ll want to develop in your own template.


The heart of a FrameMaker template is a combination of paragraph, character, and table formats. These styles are loosely referred to as “tags” and when you get them all working together, they can start slashing time spent formatting.

  • Creating Character Tags
  • Creating Paragraph Tags covering:
    • all 8 tabs of the Paragraph Designer
    • Right to Left languages
    • Extensive Autonumbering material

Once you’ve gotten the necessary tags created in your template, you’ll have enough to start using your template in your own work. While the template is far from finished, the organizational work is mostly out of the way, and you’ll be using these styles to identify content, not describe formatting.


FrameMaker content is created on body pages, but the master and reference pages contain valuable tools for presenting information and creating generated tables of contents and other files.

  • Master Page Definition
  • Sideheads and multiple columns
  • Automatically Assign Master Pages
  • Defining TOC Reference Page
  • Defining Indexes and Index Reference Pages
  • Setting up Template file Document Properties
  • BONUS: TOC Swipe File
  • BONUS: Index Swipe File

After this lesson, you’ll have branded pages, along with beautiful tables of contents and indexes. With formatting and page assignments controlled automatically, you’re now freed up to focus on content, rather than proofreading.


FrameMaker is for long docs, and docs with a long lifespan. In this lesson you’ll set up the things your users will need to quickly create and manage sophisticated, referenced information, like:

  • Setting up Table Formats
  • Defining Colors
  • Defining Variables
  • Defining Cross-Reference Formats

After this lesson, your users will be able to control table formatting at the book level, and create full, working references to other FrameMaker docs with the click of a button. You’ll understand how colors can be used across various aspects of your template, including autonumbering strings.


A FrameMaker template is at its heart a way to leverage your effort. Will it move the world? Well that depends upon what you write with it! After this lesson, at least you won’t need to repeat yourself quite so much. Because here is where you’ll finish setting up content and formatting reuse in your documents.

  • Defining Conditional Text Settings
  • Defining Object Styles
  • Managing Templates with a Template Book
  • BONUS: Template Evaluation Tool

Conditional text and Object styles are two  topics that don’t get quite the attention they deserve, so buckle in and get ready to crank production up yet another notch. Expect lots of one-on-one time in the Facebook group this week, discussing the results of your Template Evaluation tool.


But just in case you still have questions on a topic or feature, I’ve intentionally left the live session topics unassigned. I’ll take suggestions on what you’d like to see most (either new or review topics) and run the sessions accordingly. Got it all figured out? That’s great, but you still have plenty of deep dive topics you can learn about, including recordings on

  • Maker.ini hacks
  • Using free scripts, or ones that pay for themselves
  • Footnotes
  • Digital Publishing Overview

After this lesson, you’ll have a complete working template, and the skills to use it. If for some reason you had to skip material during our time together, you’ll have access to the course recordings for a few weeks to catch up.

All students receive an EPUB of Matt Sullivan’s FrameMaker – Working with Content at the start of class.

As a thank you, early registrations (a week or more prior to start of course) receive a paperback copy of my book as well.

About your instructor

Matt Sullivan has been using FrameMaker since the early 90’s. He has taught over one thousand FrameMaker authors and template designers to leverage the strength of the program and reduce time spent performing formatting and “desktop publishing” tasks. He is the author of the only FrameMaker reference books for FrameMaker 11, FrameMaker 2015, and FrameMaker 2017.

Matt spends his days developing online courses and running Tech Comm Tools, where he helps people with documentation workflows.

Matt holds Adobe training certifications for FrameMaker, Captivate, RoboHelp, Connect, and Presenter. He has also previously been certified in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, and other applications.

Matt contracts with Adobe regularly to produce videos and deliver webinars. He also represents Adobe at various tech comm conferences throughout the year, including the STC Summit, LavaCon, and WritersUA.

Custom training and live training classes

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