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Adobe FrameMaker: 4 Ways to Find and Replace Conditional Text

When it comes to writing technical documents, the ability to create conditional text is one of the main advantages that Adobe FrameMaker has over MS Word.
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What is Conditional Text?

Let’s say you have one document but you want to tailor some content for different readers. For example, you want to add a new warning message, image or instruction that will only appear in the document for the UK market, but not the US.

Conditional text as the name implies if text that appears based on a specific condition, i.e. show this image in the UK docs but hide it in the US docs.

For technical writers, this is wonderful in that it saves you creating two sets of documents. But, there’s always a catch. You need to keep track of the conditional text and update it when necessary. Otherwise, your docs go out of control.

One way to manage this is to use the conditional text option in the Find/Change dialog box.

Find and Change Conditional text

This let’s you find conditional text and then change, edit, or delete it depending on your needs.

You can search for visible (not hidden text) text that has conditional tags. When FrameMaker finds this, it selects the adjacent text that uses these condition tags.

Make sure that the text with the condition tags you want to find is visible.

To find and change conditional text, do the following:

  1. In the Find/Change dialog box, select Conditional Text from the Find pop-up menu.
  2. To find text with a particular condition tag, move the condition tag to the In list.
  3. To find text that doesn’t have a particular condition tag, move the tag to the Not In scroll list.
  4. To find all conditional text, move all tags to the As Is scroll list.
  5. To find unconditional text, select Unconditional.
  6. Click Set, and then click Find.
  7. To move a condition tag between scroll lists, select the tag and click an arrow, or double-click the tag.
  8. To move all tags from one list to another, select a tag in the list and press Shift and click an arrow.

Note that FrameMaker cannot find conditional table rows.

For me, this is one of the hidden jewels of FrameMaker.

Have you tried to use conditional text in FrameMaker? What problems, issues, or benefits have you seen?

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Common errors in technical writing

Intrepid offier notes from a session of the Mumbai chapter of the Society for Technical Communication.

The first session was by Gurudutt Kamath, who is probably the most well-known figure in the tech writing community in India.

“My interest in attending the session arose cause someone I know was also speaking there, and also because a lot of the work that we do involves a significant amount of technical writing. So while, we may not be professional technical writers, consulting does require us to have excellent written communication skills.”