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Adobe FrameMaker: Reusing a TOC or Index

by Barb Binder, Adobe Certified Instructor on FrameMaker
Updated: May 23, 2020

Do you work on a number of projects in Adobe FrameMaker that look similar to each other? A wonderful feature in FrameMaker is the File > Import > Formats command, which allows you to quickly import all of your formatting commands from one document to another, or even from one document to all the documents in a book. This is a fabulous way to jump start a new project, or even just ensure consistency with a previous one. With this technique, everything is going swimmingly, until you get to the generated files. This is where most users find themselves slowing down as they recreate these files from scratch. Don’t do it! All you need to do is a little setup work in advance

For this example, let’s assume that you have published a book about FrameMaker called “frame.book”. This book has a table of contents called “frameTOC.fm” and an index called “frameIX.fm”. Now you have a new project that is all about Adobe Acrobat and you have created a book called “acrobat.book”. You have created some of the chapters using the same formats as the “frame.book”, and you want to reuse the layout and formatting from “frameTOC.fm” and “frameIX.fm”.

Still with me? Just trying to describe the scenario takes more time that executing it.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Copy “frameTOC.fm” and “frameIX.fm” into the Adobe Acrobat project folder.
  2. Note that the Acrobat book is named “acrobat.book”.
  3. Simply rename the prefix on the copied files to match the book name: “frameTOC.fm” gets renamed “acrobatTOC.fm” and “frameIX.fm” becomes “acrobatIX.fm”. The key to this working is that the generated file’s prefix must match the book name, and the generated file’s suffix must match the expected suffix (TOC = table of contents, IX = index, LOF = list of figures, LOT = list of tables, etc. and these files must be placed in the same folder as the book.
  4. Go ahead and add the generated files to your Acrobat book with the Insert menu as you would normally.
  5. When the files are generated for the first time, they will be fully formatted. You can just proof them and move on!

More posts on using generated files in FrameMaker

Adobe FrameMaker: Adding tabs to a table of contents

Adobe FrameMaker: Including chapter numbers in a table of contents

Adobe FrameMaker: Removing bold from page numbers in a table of contents

Adobe FrameMaker: More on customizing a table of contents

Adobe FrameMaker: List of markers

Adobe FrameMaker: How to create a list of effective pages

Adobe FrameMaker: Creating a simple glossary for a book

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One thought on “Adobe FrameMaker: Reusing a TOC or Index

  1. This is a terrific time saver! And thanks for this wonderful blog tool that can be referenced at any time. I remembered from your class that previously constructed TOC and IX files could be used, but I forgot just how easy it is and was working too hard and not getting anywhere. Hooray for “step 4”. Thanks!