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Techniques for Converting Paragraph and Character Tags in FrameMaker 6

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In this article, you learn how to work with FrameMaker 6's Paragraph and Character Designer commands to easily convert tags from one to another and how to apply one Paragraph Designer property to many paragraph tags at one time. You also go inside Find/Change commands to understand how and when to use the Find/Change method to perform the conversion task and apply character tags to styled text in just a few easy steps.
Lisa Jahred, author of FrameMaker 6: Beyond the Basics, writes a regular column for InformIT.
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Understanding Paragraph and Character tag usage is essential for working efficiently in FrameMaker. You may already be familiar with FrameMaker's simple method of applying paragraph and character tags to text: For paragraphs, just click one time in any paragraph and select the paragraph tag name you want to apply to that paragraph. That's all there is to it. But what if you want to convert all occurrences of one FrameMaker paragraph tag to another? Maybe you want to convert all styled text to a character tag. How about the dreaded task of changing one Designer property for multiple paragraph tags?

You could go through the document using the usual methods, clicking in each paragraph or selecting styled text to manually apply a character tag. If you're working with a long document, you may as well have discovered the next Rube Goldberg invention.

Converting Existing Paragraph Format Tags

The Paragraph Designer lets you define formats for paragraph text in documents. Each predefined format, called a Paragraph Tag, is commonly accessed from any of these FrameMaker locations:

  • Paragraph Catalog

  • Formatting Bar Drop-down Menu

  • Selecting Format, Paragraphs

The Paragraph Designer also contains commands that allow you to perform a number of Paragraph Designer tasks. This comes in handy if you need to convert all tags of a particular tag name to another tag name. You might perform this task if you have used one FrameMaker template and decide later to use a different one.

For this example, let's say that you decide to change all occurrences of paragraph tag TitleHead1 to H1. This would be quite a chore if you went through the document and manually changed each paragraph tagged with TitleHead1 to H1.

Do it the easy way! Let's assume that both paragraph tags are included in the Paragraph Catalog. Here's how to change all occurrences of the paragraph tag TitleHead1 to H1:

  1. Using the Paragraph Catalog, apply the paragraph tag H1 to a paragraph that you want to change.

  2. With the insertion point still in the paragraph, press Crtl+M to display the Paragraph Designer. H1 is displayed in the Paragraph Tag name box.

  3. Select Commands, Global Update Options.

  4. Make sure that All Properties is selected. Select TitleHead1 from the All Tagged drop-down menu.

  5. Press Update. You encounter an alert message, "OK to change all TitleHead1 to H1". Click OK. FrameMaker changes all occurrences of TitleHead1 to H1.


After you have converted the paragraph tags, you can delete tags you no longer need. Use Format, Paragraphs, Designer or press Crtl+M to display the Paragraph Designer; then select Commands, Delete Format. Click on the tag name you want to delete, and press Delete.

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