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Adobe FrameMaker: Setting up PDF Conversion Settings in FrameMaker

by Barb Binder, Adobe Certified Instructor on FrameMaker
Updated: May 25, 2020

Author’s Note: This post was written in 2012 for FrameMaker 11 and works for versions 11, 12, 13, 2015 and 2017. In FrameMaker 2019 and later, the PDF export process was updated. Bookmarks, Tags and Links can still be modified for each file using Format > Document > PDF Setup, but the Settings options are now accessed by editing the .sts file in the Publish pod.

By the time I get around to teaching how to create PDFs in my Advanced Adobe FrameMaker 11 classes, my students know FrameMaker very well. I often find that they know a whole lot less about Adobe Acrobat, and very little about how to create a “good” PDF. One of the concepts I try to convey to my students is that they should do as much work in FrameMaker as possible, and as little editing as possible in Acrobat. None would be ideal. That way, when they need to output an updated PDF, they don’t lose their edits when they create a new PDF file.

When you prepare PDF documents for electronic distribution (as opposed to sending the PDF out for commercial printing), there are two different dialog boxes you can set up in advance of creating the PDF:

  1. Enter your Description Fields via File > File Info (for more info on adding description fields, see Adobe Acrobat X: Adding Description Fields to Document Properties)
  2. Enter your PDF Setup options via Format > Document > PDF Setup

This dialog box allows you to specify:

  1. Settings. Use the general Settings to pick the Job Options file, the initial view settings, registration marks, and page options.
  2. Bookmarks. Use the bookmarks options to create bookmarks from paragraph tags, define their hierarchy, and set up article threading.
  3. Tags. The tagged PDF feature creates Adobe PDF files from FrameMaker with logical document structure and extensive metadata for repurposing content. (Important to meet accessibility requirements, also important if you ever lose your source document and have to extract the text from a PDF.)
  4. Links. To add links to the document from other documents after you create the PDF files, select this option, but be aware that it increases the size of the PDF file.

FrameMaker users are well aware that a change like this will only impact the document they have open. Don’t forget to use File > Import > Formats to copy these setting to the other files in your book. Be sure to activate Paragraph Formats and Document formats.

Putting these settings in place in your FrameMaker documentation will allow you to quickly output a updated PDF whenever necessary. If you do need to update PDF information after the fact, consider using the new actions found in Acrobat X and XI to automate the process. For more information on using actions to automate PDF editing, see Adobe Acrobat X: Adding Description Fields to Multiple PDFs.

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2 thoughts on “Adobe FrameMaker: Setting up PDF Conversion Settings in FrameMaker

  1. Thank you! I have been using Framemaker for 15 years, and in general I MUCH prefer it over Word. I am far from being a power user, but I get by. Despite my 15 years experience, however, I still found new, valuable, hints and tips on your website. So, thank you for taking the time to make that information available.
    I DO have one question, if you have time. I’m using FM 2015. When I go into the Format -> Document -> PDF Setup screen, I don’t see any option about “Initial View”. Of course, Murphy’s Law, that is the one option that I was specifically looking for. If it is not possible, then not to worry, but in that case you might want to update this page to either remove “the initial view settings,” or else say that that option is not available in FM 2015.
    Other than that though, thank you very much for such a helpful site and service to the FM community.

    1. Hi Frank:

      In FrameMaker 2015, you can define two of the initial view settings: Open PDF Document on Page: X and At Zoom: X.

      More robust Initial View setting controls have been added to FrameMaker 2019.