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Adobe FrameMaker: Function Key Shortcuts

by Barb Binder

As I’ve said before, I love all of FrameMaker’s unique Esc key shortcuts. I’m all about using the keyboard to get my work done in a timely manner, but I know that many of my students really find the three-key shortcuts both cumbersome and overwhelming.

How about trying some function key shortcuts?

Here’s a quick list. The first column shows the function key; the second column shows the function key’s primary function. You will notice that some of the function keys change their behavior when used with the Control, Shift and Alt keys.

Key Function Control Shift Alt
F1 Help Align Top
F2 Plain text Align Middle
F3 Underline Align bottom Overline
F4 Bold Cascade Windows Exit
F5 Italic Tile Windows
F6 Repeat last command* Toggle between document windows
F7 Set focus back to Document Window
F8 Apply Character Formatting Set dialog box to “As Is”
F9 Apply Paragraph Formatting Transpose Characters Change settings to match current text

* New in FrameMaker 10! Read more about Edit > Repeat.

I have five favorites in the table above. Here’s a little more information on how I use them:

  1. Character Formatting. Highlight a range of text and press the F8 function key. The left side of the status bar lights up with a blue background and offers you a list of Character tags. You can use the arrow keys to navigate to the desired format, or tap the first letter of the format to jump right to it. After you highlight the one you want and just press Enter to accept. To remove Character formats, press F8 and then press Enter.
  2. Paragraph Formatting. Works like Character formatting, but F9 displays a list of Paragraph Tags. Here’s a tip for long lists with multiple tags that start with the same character: press a lower case letter to work through the list from the top down, and an uppercase letter to start at the bottom and work up!
  3. Transpose characters. Those of us who try to type far too fast for our own good will love this one. Just place your cursor between two letters and press Control F9. They reverse position instantly!
  4. Shift the focus back to the document window. When you are in a Designer, and want to shift the focus back to the document window, just press Shift F7.
  5. Set dialog box to As Is. The best way to make Character Formats is to begin by setting everything in the Character Designer to As Is. What a pain in the neck. Not anymore: Shift F8 is the way to go. (What? Still struggling with Character Formats? Tune in next week for a quick review.)

You certainly do not have to use shortcuts to be effective in FrameMaker. I simply find that learning and using shortcuts helps me to get the job done quickly and gets me back outside into the sunshine and fresh air.

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