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Adobe FrameMaker: Pasting Text from Microsoft Word

By Barb Binder

This is one of my all-time favorite tips because it’s something I have to deal with on a regular basis. (Note: this has changed in FrameMaker 10. To learn about pasting text from a Word doc into FrameMaker 10, please read Adobe FrameMaker 10: New and Improved Cut & Paste from Word.)

Let’s say I need to replace a paragraph in my FrameMaker document with one from an MS Word file. The process seems easy enough: go to Word, select and copy the paragraph to the clipboard, return to FrameMaker, select the old text, and Paste. Right? Wrong!

Instead of the text simply replacing my highlighted FrameMaker text, the clipboard text is pasted as an OLE object (OLE stands for Object Linking and Embedding–it’s a Microsoft technology that allows you to embed and link objects into documents). The pasted text appears within an anchored frame–not exactly what I was looking for.

To get around the anchored frame, I’ll now have to undo the Paste step (by using the Undo command) and choose Paste Special, select “text” and then click OK.

When I need to paste text between Word and FrameMaker, I almost always want regular old text to appear, not an OLE object. While the extra work I mentioned above will give me the results I wanted, why doesn’t the pasted text just appear as text by default? Why do I get the OLE object in the first place?

The answer is FrameMaker’s “Clipboard Format Priority” list. By default, FrameMaker is set to paste objects from Word as OLE. If you want to change the paste priority order, you can do so by editing the maker.ini file (the maker.ini file is FrameMaker’s initialization file.).

Note: Before attempting the following steps, please make a back-up copy of the maker.ini file in case you need to restore it later.

  1. Open C:Program FilesAdobeFrameMakerXmaker.ini in an ASCII text editor like Notepad*
  2. Scroll down until you find:
    ClipboardFormatsPriorities=FILE, OLE 2, EMF, META, DIB, BMP, MIFW, MIF, RTF, UNICODE TEXT, TEXTThis list is read from left to right by FrameMaker, and OLE has a higher priority than TEXT, so if an object can be pasted as either OLE or TEXT, it will paste as OLE.
  3. Rearrange the order so that TEXT is first and OLE is last:
    ClipboardFormatsPriorities=TEXT, FILE, EMF, META, DIB, BMP, MIFW, MIF, RTF, UNICODE TEXT, OLE 2
  4. Save and close the file and restart FrameMaker.
  5. Go ahead and copy and paste text from Word.Look, Ma! No need for Paste Special! Wow!

* Be sure to use a plain ASCII text editor for this job. Notepad comes free with Windows OS, and SimpleText comes on the Mac OS. Trying to edit the file in a program like Word or Wordpad will reformat the maker.ini file and cause problems with FrameMaker. Let me remind you to always back-up the maker.ini file before editing, so that you can restore it, should things go awry.


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10 thoughts on “Adobe FrameMaker: Pasting Text from Microsoft Word

  1. @Techyy
    I do have a few more maker.ini fixes. I’ll try to get them posted today. Probably none as life-changing as this one, though!

    And I’m not sure where I got them; I’ve used them for a long time. I’ll see if I can dig up the original list. I’m a packrat, so I know it’s here somewhere.

  2. I’m a FrameMaker person from wayback. I know your fix, even have it in my maker.ini file. However, since working with multilanguage systems I’ve trained myself to always take text down to Notepad or Wordpad. Too many bad, hidden, formatting errors have occurred between MS Word and any other platform that I do not trust Paste or even Paste Special.

    I just ran into one of these last night that was fine in FM but didn’t pass the conformity test of Acrobat PDF2001a.

  3. Barb–I have a unicode string that I need to type into a FrameMaker document. (I’m on Windows XP, using FM 7.0.) After some research I was able to type the string in Word, but when I try to Paste>Special into FM, I get ????–I get question marks. How can I type Unicode into FrameMaker 7.0? Please advise. Thanks–


  4. Thanks a TON for making my life so much easier…!!! Thank you very, very, very much for this highly informative article…!!! 🙂