Adobe FrameMaker: How to create a list of effective pages
by Barb Binder, Adobe Certified Instructor on FrameMaker
Updated: May 22, 2020
A List of Effective pages (aka LEP or LOEP) is a list of every page in a document along with the current revision number and the date of each page’s revision. This is a common requirement for many of our FrameMaker students, and not a particularly fun part of their job. However, one of the fun parts of my job is helping my students solve their layout issues and this one came up yesterday. Up until these students attended our Advanced FrameMaker training class, they were updating their LEP manually, copying and pasting the revision numbers, one line at a time. Ouch.
Note: You can purchase a plug-in to automate this process from Steve Kubis at Silicon Prairie Software. As of the last update, a single-user license is US$30, and a site license is US$300. Please direct questions on the plug-in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Setting up an LEP is a complex, multi-step process. The steps below detail how to set up your own LEP, using the tools found within unstructured FrameMaker (any version). Please note that this is a task for an advanced FrameMaker user: someone who is already comfortable using master pages, reference pages, variables, books and generated files.
Feel free to ask a specific question about the process using the form at the bottom of this post. I am also available for hourly, online coaching and can help you set up your own basic LEP in about an hour. See One-on-One Online Coaching.
1. Set up the running heads on the master pages
- In addition to the normal running heads in background frames, each chapter in your book will need to have an empty template frame with a flow tag that can accept the revision number and date on the body pages. You will need to add these frames to the master pages.
- Assign clear, concise paragraph style names to the running heads (i.e., Revision#Left and Revision#Right for the left and right pages). You will be generating a list of paragraphs using these paragraph styles.
- I recommend removing the auto-connect property from the template frames so that a novice FrameMaker user won’t accidentally overset text in a frame and generate unintentional extra pages.
For information on using master pages, including defining template frames, see Adobe FrameMaker: Master Page Basics.
Here is an animation to show the process. Note that the page number and the words Rev. No and Date are in a background frame already. I am showing how to add a template frame that you can use to enter the revision numbers and dates on the body pages. For a double sided document, you would need to repeat the process for the left master page. Once you add the template frame to the master page, you can now type the revision numbers and dates in the template frame on each body page. These are the paragraphs I will collect in step 3.
2. Chapter numbering
- Set up your chapter numbers in the chapter files using Paragraph Designer > Numbering and the <$chapnum> building block.
- If you need words and not just numbers, assign the chapter numbers in the book window. For example, for the front and back matter, you can set a chapter number to use text by right-clicking the file in the book window, and choosing Numbering > Chapter > Format: Text. This is necessary to show TOC–1, or APP–1 (where TOC and APP are the chapter numbers) on the LEP.
3. Add a List of Paragraphs
Next FrameMaker needs to collect the list of revision numbers and dates along with their page numbers via a generated file.
- Add a chronological List of Paragraphs (LOP) via the Insert menu in the book window, and reference the paragraph styles used on the running heads (i.e., Revision#Left and Revision#Right).
- Like all generated files, initially the text is presented without formatting. You will need to set up the columns, the paragraph styles for the LOP paragraphs and the all-important reference pages to control the presentation of the data. A typical LOP reference page might be formatted something like this:
<$chapnum> – <Spagenum> <$paratext>
These building blocks will add the chapter number–page number in front of the revision numbers/dates automatically. The gap in front of <$paratext> might be handled via a tab stop. Depending on your formatting, you may need to rearrange these building blocks.
For information on working with generated files, see Adobe FrameMaker: What to know about working with generated files.
4. Add the revision dates and numbers manually, or with user variables
- Once the running heads, the chapter numbers and the generated LOP file are all working, you can begin entering the document edits.
- As each page is update, you will need to update the empty template frame in the running head with the current revision number/date on the body pages. This is most easily accomplished by setting up a user variable in the Variables panel, and adding the variable to the empty template frame in the running head. Alternatively, you can just type in the new dates and revision numbers manually.
For more information on working with variables, see Adobe FrameMaker: Variables.
5. Update the list when you update your book
When the edits are complete and the running heads are up to date, you can simply update your book, and along with the generated files. FrameMaker will scan all of the pages of all of the chapters in your book, and collect the latest page and revision numbers/dates. If you have everything set up correctly, you are done!