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Adobe FrameMaker: Anchor Management

By Barb Binder

FrameMaker uses two types of anchors: table anchors and figure anchors. These thick, upside down Ts appear at your cursor position when you insert a table or an anchored frame. FrameMaker uses them to anchor the object to the text so that they can move automatically with the text as you edit your document.

I normally anchor tables and frames to the end of the paragraph that references them, but sometimes I’m required to move a table to a new location during the editing process. Always in a hurry when under deadline, I’ll grab the anchor (the fastest way to select a table or anchored frame), but I will also often pick up the period that precedes it. When I see a paragraph with two periods, and another with none, I know exactly what happened.

So what’s the solution, slow down? Yeah, that’s not going happen under deadline. So here’s what I do: I add an em space (press Esc spacebar m in succession) between the period and the anchor Then, I can sweep by and pick up the space and the anchor and leave the period behind. The only problem that ever occurs here is when the paragraph is so long that this forces the anchor to a new line. In that case, I’ll use an en space (Esc spacebar n) or even a thin space (Esc spacebar t).

 I also use it when I have a string of several anchors in a row, because if I don’t, they just appear as one really thick upside down T!

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6 thoughts on “Adobe FrameMaker: Anchor Management

  1. Hi Barbara,

    This method will create problems if the material is translated, because your method may lead to additional line breaks if the last line of the preceding paragraph is not short enough. Therefore I would classify this method as fit for PDF production (“old school”) and for the source language author, but it creates extra work after translation.

    A more flexible approach would be a script (which I have seen but not used) that simply selects the anchor for you after you placed the cursor somewhere inside the table (or anchored frame).

    Best regards,

    – Michael

  2. @Michael Müller-Hillebrand
    Good point, Michael! I’m a long time FrameMaker user/trainer, and certainly fall into the “old school” category. This technique has worked great for me for years, but my docs don’t go through translation. Hopefully it will help someone out there, if not you!

    I’m not aware of any scripts to get to an anchor, but if your cursor is in a table, you can press Esc tI (lowercase t, uppercase i) to move your cursor to the anchor point of a table. From there you can just press Shift+left arrow to select the anchor. Maybe that can save you a little time.

    And if you track down those scripts, definitely let me know. Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Awesome resource, thanks, Michael! It rarely occurs to me to search for 3rd party solutions to my Adobe software issues. Maybe that should be my 2010 New Year’s resolution.

  4. Where to place a figure/table anchor is an old “controversy” among FM types. Long ago, I opted for the practice of placing anchors in a separate (cataloged) paragraph that is formatted as “very small” (such as 3 pt). This allows grabbing/moving the table/figure when necessary and also offers better flexibility when “fixing up” a page break between a figure/table and its lead-in paragraph. You might even opt to define a separate FigAnchor” pgf tag that includes a “Keep W Previous” attribute.

  5. I also long ago adopted the practice of placing every figure exhibit inside a 1-column, 2-cell invisible table construct. (The figure’s caption appears in the lower cell.) I noticed long ago that spacing before/after a table can be controlled with more exactness than is supported for a raw anchored frame.