Why use Master Templates in Adobe FrameMaker?

Master templates let you control the format and positioning of every component in your FrameMaker documents. They are very powerful when they work correctly, but be careful. If you make a mistake, it will take many an hour to clean the documents.
[ad#adc-2] In plain English this means that if you setup a footer as Arial, size 10, and then apply it to the main document, all footers will appear in this font and this size. Sounds good!

But, what if you wanted to have different footers in the document?

You could hard code every footer.

Hard code means you manually type in the footer. That’s ok for a 5 page document but not if your creating a 250 page user guide.

You need to automate the process, which is where master templates come in.

In FrameMaker, you can create different footers, identify each type, and then apply them where you wish.

You can have different headers and footers for the:

  • Cover Page
  • Table of Contents
  • Index
  • Chapters, and
  • Copyright pages.

Problems with Master Template

One of the problems I’ve had was that even though I’d created the component, it didn’t appear in the document.

The main reason for this, especially for headers and footers, was that the previous entry was still there.

In other words, you have to remove the previous header and then enter the new one.

When you think about it, it makes sense, but if you don’t know you could get very frustrated.

Tip: Delete the ‘old’ header and insert the new ‘one’ instead.


Numbering chapters, headers, footers, and labels can cause all types of confusion.

One trick I’ve learnt it to cut and paste template settings from a FrameMaker document I know works into the new document.

1. In the first document (i.e. you know works), open the template settings, and select the section you want to copy.

2. In the document you want to update, open the template settings, and paste where appropriate.

3. Click Apply and return to the main document. Your changes should now be reflected in the second document.

I have to admit this does seem like a lot of effort.

If you know a more efficient way to do this, please add it below.


Adobe Framemaker Templates Tutorials – This Adobe Framemaker tutorial discusses the following topics: Exploring FrameMaker Templates, Modifying FrameMaker Templates, Creating Custom Templates, Using Custom Templates, and Importing Formats from a Template

How to Create a Template in Adobe Framemaker – While you can use the templates provided by FrameMaker or other pre-defined templates available to you, you may decide that you want to create your own templates. When you create a template, you can set up various types of formats based on what the template is going to be used for. For example, you may decide to create a special Title paragraph tag or table format for your template.

Introduction to Adobe Framemaker 5.0 – This is a Basic Framemaker tutorial. Look at the ‘create a new document’ to find out how to work with Framemaker templates.

Mimic FrameMaker’s Memo Template – FrameMaker’s Memo template is a great example of a template that can be used as a fill-in form. The layout and fields are pre-defined and you just need to fill in the details for each version of the document. C’mon, let’s create our own template that works in the same, wonderful way!

One File, Multiple Uses in Adobe Framemaker – XML lets you publish the same content across different media with minimal effort. And with the new XML features in Adobe® FrameMaker® 7.0, you don’t have to know XML syntax to create XML-compatible documents. Once a developer has created the structured applications, you create the content in a template using predefined element tags and save the file in XML format. It’s ready to use in an XML-savvy application or to convert into another format, such as WML or VoiceXML.