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Tricks with Tables in FrameMaker 6

📄 Contents

  1. Tables in a Table
  2. Summary
Learn here how to combine FrameMaker features to create rotated tables or tables within tables. Lisa Jahred walks you through the process of using anchored frames, text frames, tables and master pages to incorporate uniquely created tables in documents.
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Like this article? We recommend

FrameMaker's powerful table tools offer a variety of ways to take your tables from ordinary to extraordinary. Once you decide on the look of your tables, you don't have to reinvent the wheel each time you want to use a particular table format. The ability to take advantage of previous work using the Table Catalog is just one of many FrameMaker time-savers.

Although there are many table properties that you can define and then store in the Table Catalog for later use, there are yet other features that are never part of a table's pre-defined format, although I wish they could be! These include

  • Straddled cells

  • Table Continuation or Table Sheet variables

  • Tables within tables

  • Rotated tables

The first two items in the list are easily included in selected tables using menu commands. For instance, you can effortlessly straddle or combine cells in tables by selecting the cells that you want combined and then select Table, Straddle. Adding Table Continuation or Sheet variables is just as simple! Just click in the table title area; select Special, Variable, Table Continuation (or Sheet); and insert in the table title area.

If you want to create tables within tables or rotated tables, you won't find that in a menu, per se. You'll have to get a little more creative and combine a few FrameMaker features that you're probably already familiar with.

In this article, you'll learn some practical uses of rotated or tables within tables before moving on to the more complicated matter of creating them.

Tables in a Table

In a nutshell, tables are typically used to organize information in rows and columns. We see tables like this all the time.

You can also use tables for another purpose. Here's an example. Let's suppose that each chapter in your book contains its own set of appendixes that are included in the same file as each individual chapter file. The appendices appear on pages using the same page layout and page numbering that continue through the document file. If you want to make it clear to readers that this is an appendix within the chapter, you could have the top of each appendix page display something like this:

Appendix 3-1 (Page 1 of 10)

If the appendix within chapter 3 is 10 pages, the top of each one of those 10 appendix pages would read, Appendix 3–1 (Page 1 of 10), Appendix 3–1 (Page 2 of 10), and so on. This clearly indicates to the reader that although they are on page 3-25 of Chapter 3, they are looking at page 2 of 10 in the Appendix section of Chapter 3.

Tables provide a clever method to accomplish this task. The table title area conveniently displays the title (Appendix 3-1) and table sheet variable (Page 1 of 10) on each page of the table; and with no border lines, its appearance looks like any other page in your document.

You run into the table in a table challenge if another table must appear on any of those appendix pages, which are really one big table.

Figure 1 shows you an example in which the sidebar note is composed of a one-column, two-row table set within the appendix table.

Figure 1 The sidebar note is really a table within a larger table.

You may come up with even more ideas about why you would place a table inside a larger table. Keep in mind that tables add size to documents, and the more complicated the table, the more size is added.

How to Create a Table in a Table

If you have ever tried to create a table inside another table, you already know that you cannot just insert a table inside another table cell. There's a little more to it.

You'll use a few FrameMaker features together to get the end result. First, you must insert an anchored frame.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Insert the first table anywhere in a FrameMaker document.

  2. Click inside the cell where you want to insert the table within a table.

  3. Select Special, Anchored Frame. The Anchored Frame window is displayed.

  4. Select the Anchoring Position that works best for your particular situation. In the sidebar note example above, the Anchoring Position is set to Run into Paragraph to force the anchored frame off to the side. Experiment with different anchoring positions to see which works best for your document.

  5. Select New Frame. The anchored frame is inserted in the document. If you used Below Current Line for the Anchoring Position, and you see too much space above the anchored frame, select the empty paragraph to which the frame is anchored, and adjust the font size and line spacing to force the space down in size.

Once you have an anchored frame in place, display the Tools palette, and follow these steps:

  1. Click one time on the Place a Text Frame tool. The cursor changes to crosshairs.

  2. Click inside the anchored frame that you inserted previously. Draw a marquee square inside the anchored frame. When you have finished, the Create New Text Frame window appears. Click Set. The text frame is inserted inside the anchored frame.

  3. Click one time inside the text frame. Select Table, Insert Table. Choose the desired table format, and click on Insert. The table is inserted inside the text frame. Make any adjustments to the table with regard to size and format.

That's all there is to it. Figure 2 shows you the same side bar note table with borders turned on. You can see each layer that is required to create a table within a table.

Figure 2 With borders turned on, you can see the outline of the anchored frame and text frame within.

Modify the Table Sheet Variable for the Larger Table

The default display for a table sheet in FrameMaker 6 is (Sheet sheet number of total number of sheets). For example, (Sheet 3 of 10) means that your reader is looking at the third page of a 10-page table. Table Sheet indicates both the current page of the table and the total number of pages included in the table.

In the previous example, you notice the table sheet variable in the larger table title reads like this:

(Page 1 of 10)

You might want to alter the appearance of this variable to suit your needs. If the table sheet variable is already in use, any changes you make update all occurrences of that variable.

The following steps show you how to make changes to the Table Sheet variable:

  1. Select Special, Variable. The Variable window appears.

  2. Click on Table Sheet to select it. The Table Sheet variable is selected and its current definition is displayed below the variable list.

  3. Click on Edit Definition. The Edit System Definition window appears.

  4. Select the word Sheet and delete it.

  5. Type the word Page in its place. Make sure you keep a space between the word Page and the first building block, . The definition looks like Figure 3.

    Figure 3 The new table sheet variable definition.

  6. Click on Edit. The Table Sheet variable is updated to reflect the new change. The Variable window is again displayed.

  7. Click on Done. The document page is again displayed. All occurrences of the Table Sheet variable are updated to reflect the new change, and all future insertions of this variable will contain the modification.

Rotating Tables

Rotated tables are commonly used in documents when tables are too wide to appear correctly on a portrait-oriented page (8.5 x 11). In FrameMaker, you can use a couple of methods to accomplish this task. In this section, you learn how to rotate tables using two methods, along with the advantages of each method.

Using a Landscape Page Layout

Thankfully, FrameMaker allows you to include landscape pages along with portrait pages. Use this method when the rotated table is alone on a page, and must have the same headers and footers as other pages in the document. Another excellent reason to use this method is if you want to edit the table, you do not have to unrotate the table to do so (as in the next method).

If you continue editing other parts of the document after you have the landscape page and table in place, pay attention to text edited before the landscape page. For example, if the landscape page is page 9, and you add text somewhere before page 9, text overflows on to page 9, and part of the table overflows to page 10—leaving you with a little clean-up work. Before using this method, keep in mind that master page layouts are applied to a particular page, not the content that is on that page.

Take a look at how it's done:

  1. Create a new Master Page layout that is identical to another master page layout in your document. Name the new Master Page Landscape.

  2. With the new master page in view, select Format, Customize Layout, Rotate Page Clockwise. The master page is rotated clockwise. The headers and footers remain in the correct location on the page. The template text frame is also rotated to the incorrect position. You can see that the end of text flow symbol is now horizontal on the right side of the text frame.

  3. Hold down Control and click the template text frame to select it. Choose Graphics, Rotate. The Rotate Selected Objects window is displayed.

  4. Select Counterclockwise and then click Rotate. The template text frame rotates counterclockwise. The text frame is not the correct size to fit on the landscape page.

  5. With the text frame still selected, select Graphics, Object Properties.

  6. Switch the Width and Height sizes and then click Set. The size of the text frame changes to fit better on the landscape page. Make any adjustment to the text frame size or position.

  7. Select View, Body pages. You are returned to the body page.

  8. Insert the table that you plan to rotate. Click one time anywhere in the table. Select Table, Table Designer, Start, Top of Page. The table is set to start at the top of the next page.

  9. Stay on the page containing the table. Select Format, Page Layout, Master Page Usage. The Master Page Usage window appears.

  10. Select Landscape from the Custom pull-down menu. Make sure Current Page is selected in the Apply To pane.

  11. Click Apply. The current page containing the table takes on the page layout of the landscape Master page.

Using an Anchored Frame

If you want to include a rotated table on a page with unrotated text, then using an anchored frame may be the answer you are looking for. With this method, there is no need to rotate the page.

Follow the previous steps in the section titled "How to Create a Table in a Table," beginning with step 3. Continue with the second set of steps that show you how to insert the text frame and table within the anchored frame.

When you have finished, follow these steps:

  1. Input the information you want in the table.

  2. Click one time on the text frame (inside the anchored frame). Select Graphics, Rotate. The Rotate Selected Objects window appears. Select Counterclockwise (90degrees), and click Rotate. The text frame and the table rotate.

  3. Adjust the size and position of the text frame.

If you want to edit the table, you must unrotate the text frame to do so. Notice that in the rotated position, the table acts like an object when selected, and cannot be edited.

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