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Adobe FrameMaker: Even Smarter Running Heads

by Barb Binder

In a previous post, Adobe FrameMaker: Smart Running Heads, I covered creating smart running heads (using variables for “live” running heads that pull data off the page). These are great for your readers because they can tell at a glance what chapter and/or section they are in.

But what if you need to pull different paragraph formats into the running heads in different documents (for example, you want your contents title in your table of contents, your chapter titles in the main body of the book, and the index title in the index)? You could set up different master pages in each document, but then if you need to make a global change to, let’s say the margins, when you import your Page Layout formats, you’ll wipe out the customization. I have a much better way for you:

  1. Choose View > Master Pages.
  2. Click in a background frame to set up a header or footer.
  3. Choose Format > Headers & Footers > Insert Other.
  4. Scroll down to the Running H/F variables and select Running H/F 1 (assuming you aren’t using it elsewhere. If you are and don’t want to mess it up, just pick the next available Running H/F variable–you have a total of 12, and I’m pretty sure you aren’t using all of them.)
  5. Examine the default definition: <$paratext[Title]>
    Adobe FrameMaker: Running/Header Footer 1
    In English, this says: “go get the paragraph text of the paragraph format called Title and put it in the running head.”
  6. Click the Edit button on the Variables pod (button number 3):
    Adobe FrameMaker: Edit Variable Definition Button
  7. Edit the variable definition to call out each of the formats you’d like to see in your running head:<$paratext[ContentsTitle,ChapterTitle,IndexTitle]>In English, the variable now says: “If you can find a ContentsTitle, go get it and put it in the running head, but if you can’t find it, see if you can find ChapterTitle and put that in the running head. If you can’t find either, see if you can find IndexTitle and put that in the running head.”

Wow! Now you can have one variable that works for the front matter, the body of the book, and the back matter. That’s one smart variable!

NOTE: If this isn’t quite what you need, there are a few more articles that you might want to read on setting up running heads that reference titles/subtitles in FrameMaker: Adobe FrameMaker: Smart Running Heads, Adobe FrameMaker: Dictionary-Style Running Heads & Adobe FrameMaker: When Chapter Titles are Too Long for a Running Head.

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2 thoughts on “Adobe FrameMaker: Even Smarter Running Heads

  1. Can you set up a running header so that it looks for a paragraph tag in a previous document of a book? How would I set up the running headers in each of the documents so that it finds the chapter title that is only typed on the chapter’s title page?

    1. JoAnn: You can’t a reference paragraph that appears in other chapters as a running h/f variable, but you can create a user variable for the book that contains the title page information that you want to reference in your book-wide running heads.

      ~Barb