Two excellent questions.

The first one I have run into before; I just finished working as a lone
writer who had to do exactly what you are doing.

FM does not have an "external" formats doc. What you can do, though, is
apply the formats in a document to all the files in a book. To do this,
you open the "style" document, then select all the files in the book,
then select File > Import > Formats and choose the formats you want to
apply. This will overwrite formats with the same name, add new formats,
and leave old formats unchanged.

If all you are doing is updating formats, you're set. The new
definitions overwrite the old ones. That still leaves you with the issue
of "converting" formats. For example, how do you move everything with
paragraph format Para2 to a new format Para3?

For this, I recommend to you two very useful FM add-ons by Silicon
Prairie: Character Tools and Paragraph Tools. You can find a useful
description of them, and many other add-ins, at this wonderful site:

Character Tools and Paragraph Tools were lifesavers for me. In short,
they convert characters and paragraphs from one tag format to another.
Once you have these tools, your task is much simpler.

Another technique: if all you want to do is apply *one* format change,
and leave everything else the same, create a throwaway document that
contains the new format, delete all the other formats from it, and then
apply that document.

As you come up with new and improved formats, store them in new template
files. For example, store all the formats you use in normal chapters in
a chapter template file You can then start with that and
have everything set from the beginning.

I can offer more detailed advice, but this is the best I can do late at

The tab issue is easier to solve, but you do have to understand how
generated TOCs work.

When FM creates a TOC, it creates a xxxTOC paragraph format for every
xxx paragraph format you specify should be in the TOC. So, if you say
that you want Head2 format paragraphs listed in the TOC, you
automatically get a Head2TOC paragraph format.

FM applies the Head2TOC format to Head2 entries it adds in the TOC. *In
addition*, FM creates a line in the TOC reference page for the TOC. This
line is a mask or template that defines what the Head2 entry will look
like. You can modify this line to format Head2 entries. For example, you
can put this in (I put tab characters in parentheses for clarity; if you
turn on text symbols, you can see them as a single right parenthesis):


The paragraph format for this line must be Head2TOC.

You put the actual tabs into *this* line in your reference page. FM then
automatically expands the variables to their value for the Head2 entry
and inserts the tab. You do not have to put the tabs in manually.

You do have to set up the Head2TOC paragraph format. You can edit it
just like any other format. Once you have set it up, FM will not
overwrite it. You have to define the tab positions and the leader. In my
example, you get the "........." if you put that in as the leader for
the second tab in the paragraph format. You will also want to set the
second tab to be a "right" tab so that all your numbers line up on the

Read the FM online help about tabs. They don't work the same as in MS Word.

Paul Pehrson wrote:
> Hello fellow Frame users,
> This is my first post to the list; I joined yesterday. I've been using
> Frame
> for about two years, but I only recently started a job where I'm a lone
> writer, in charge of all documentation for my organization.
> Previously, I've
> been using Frame, but my supervisor was the one who created/updated all
> templates, formats, etc., so I didn't really learn to use a lot of
> Frame's
> features.
> I'm excited to be on this list and to learn from your collective
> experience.
> Today I come with two questions. First: is there a way to use an external
> formats document similar to a CSS style sheet using unstructured Frame?
> I have four books that I'm developing concurrently. The average book
> has 6
> chapters, so I've got a good number of individual .fm documents I'm
> working
> with. As I go, I'm encountering new format needs. I modify the format
> accordingly, but then I have to import that document's formats into
> all the
> other documents I'm working with. I'd like to know if Frame has an
> external
> formats document that can be referenced, such that formats changed in
> that
> document are automatically reflected across all documents that link to
> that
> formats doc. Does that make sense? Do you know any way to make Frame do
> this? (I'm stuck with Frame 7.0 for now.)
> Second: When you build a TOC, is there a way to get Frame to insert a tab
> between the heading text and the page number? I'm having to do this
> manually
> every time I build the book files (which is daily, because I'm making my
> in-process work available to our internal developers and support people).
> I'm just sure there must be some place where I can tell Frame that I
> want a
> tab between the heading text and the page number. I just can't find
> it. Any
> help available?
> Thanks. I look forward to participating in the Framers online community.
> Paul Pehrson
> Midvale, UT
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