Inserting non-equation characters into FrameMaker equations

One of the students in my FrameMaker course discovered she couldn’t type character strings containing spaces (like volume in cubic feet) into equations. It turns out there’s more than one easy way around this problem.

While investigating the issue I discovered there are other characters that don’t easily fit into FrameMaker equations, including the underbar (_) character. My thanks to Klaus Daube for his Adobe forum reply in an older thread, and to Sarah O’Keefe for writing up part of the answer in an earlier version of the FrameMaker book I now maintain. (see the sidebar for details)

Use the String function in the equation editor if you have difficulty typing spaces, underbars (_) or other characters into equations.

To type text in an equation, click the Symbols button in the Equations palette, and then click the Start String button. Quotes are displayed, and when you type text, the text replaces the quotes. Click the End String button to close the text string.

To create a string in an equation, do the following:

  1. Position your cursor in an equation.
  2. Open the Equations editor (Insert > Equations) and navigate to the Symbols pane. A pair of double quotes will appear, signaling the start of your string.
  3. Type the string you need in its entirety.
  4. After typing your string, select the End String button to return to normal equation editing mode.

You can use the double quote key (“) while in an equation as a shortcut for the Start String command.
You can use the Enter/Return key while in an equation as a shortcut for the End String command.

Here is a video showing how to add spaces to a FrameMaker equation

This post is an example of the content you’ll find in my online FrameMaker courses. As we run across questions in the course, I develop more detailed content that then becomes reference material for that session. It also automatically part of the content for future sessions, as well as additional content for the book.

Pretty cool, huh?

Got an interesting FrameMaker problem?

Let me know if I can help!

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