How to Place U3D file in FrameMaker in under 5 minutes

July 2017 Update: While written for FrameMaker 12, this workflow is still valid.
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Yep, you heard it right! Start the clock right now, and in 5 minutes you could have a richer, more engaging tech doc than you have right now. Read through these instructions to learn how you can place video, interactive simulations, and working 3D images into your docs, and output them to electronic formats that will engage your end users.

Download the media to your machine

So you don’t have any rich media (video, SWF, U3d) laying around right now? No problem, here are a few sample files for you to use.

Place rich media into a FrameMaker document in less than 5 minutes

Fortunately, placing graphics into a FrameMaker document is the same for nearly all graphics formats (there are extra options for placing CPTX, PSD, and AI files).

FrameMaker workflow

  1. Open a FrameMaker document.
  2. Place your cursor at the end of the paragraph preceding, or on its own line if you prefer
  3. Select File > Import > File, and find your graphics file (in this case, a rich media format like MP4, U3D, or SWF).
  4. Set the size of the imported file. While you can resize your media file after import, it’s often easier to get the overall size closer to final size at this point.

Once placed in the document, you can assign a poster, or special graphic, to the rich media to give it a more appealing appearance in print or before accessing the media in the PDF or other format.

  1. Right-click on the placed image and select Set poster
  2. Locate the PNG or other web graphic you’d like to represent the initial display of the media file. Depending on intent, you may or may not want to include a Play button or symbol in the image.

 Output the FrameMaker file to PDF

FrameMaker has built-in support for PDF output. To create PDF with rich media, do the following:

  • Ensure your File > Print Setup is set to Adobe PDF. The free SetPrint utility at is an excellent way to ensure that Adobe PDF is always your FrameMaker default printer.
  • Select File > Save as PDF.
  • Select appropriate PDF options for your audience, and save the PDF to your disk.

Stop your 5 minute timer! When you open up the PDF file, you’ll find that the images are clickable, and interactive.

Working with older versions of FrameMaker

These instructions are written specifically for the TCS5 version of FrameMaker, but should generally work with slight modifications all the way back through FrameMaker 8.

However, the older versions of FrameMaker will not support more recent formats, and may not give as many options for dressing up the placed media.

About the author

Matt Sullivan is the founder of Tech Comm Tools, and is an Adobe Certified Instructor for each of the applications in the Adobe Technical Communication Suite. He teaches live online and in-person Adobe software classes for many different groups.

Matt also teaches classes on Tech Comm Video  and classes on Social Branding for the Society for Technical Communication and other groups.

Contact him at for more information.

To view any of the free recordings of his Adobe-sponsored webinars see and search (Command/Control+F) for Matt Sullivan.

To view recent samples of his Captivate work for Adobe product releases, see

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