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Adobe FrameMaker: Keeping Track of Table Sheets

Tables that span multiple pages are no fun to lay out, but they come up regularly in many technical publications. Two little known features that are available to help our readers figure out where they are in a multi-sheet table are the Table Continuation variable and the Table Sheet variable.  I covered the Table Continuation variable in a previous post (Adobe FrameMaker: The Table Continuation Variable) so this post is about how to use the table sheet counter.

After years of not thinking about this particular feature, a recent Adobe FrameMaker student asked me how to add automatic numbers in the bottom row of each sheet. Turns out this is exactly what he was looking for.

Here’s how the Table Sheet variable works:

  • Place your cursor into a multi-sheet table.
  • Choose Table > Add Rows or Columns and add 1 row the Footing. (A footing row is just like a heading row. It will repeat automatically as the bottom row of every sheet of a multi-sheet table.)
    Adobe FrameMaker: Add Rows or Columns to add a footing row.
  • Select the entire footing row at the bottom of page 1 and choose Table > Straddle to merge the cells into a single-cell. (Remember, heading and footing rows can only be edited on the first sheet of a multi-sheet table.)
  • Place your cursor into the footing cell on the first sheet and choose Special > Variable. This opens the variables pod in FrameMaker 9 & 10.
  • Scroll down and select Table Sheet. Click on button #1 in the Variables toolbar to insert the variable at the cursor position.
    Adobe FrameMaker: Using the Table Sheet variable
  • That’s it! You will now see the sheet counter at the bottom of every sheet of the table. (If you don’t see anything at all, make sure you actually have a multi-sheet table. If you don’t, nothing appears until the table spans a second page.)
    Adobe FrameMaker: The results of using the Table Sheet variable


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