I know some folks may disagree with my approach, but I'll share it in case
it might work for you.

For the online help version of content, I do remove chapter numbering. I
number tables and figures 1 through x throughout the whole "book" in both
the print and help. 

I retain the table and figure numbers in the help, so that I can refer to
them. Sometimes, I need to refer to a table or figure that is not below
(it's in another topic, and I don't want to include the same table or figure
multiple times). This helps to keep topics short and helps not bloat the
total size of the help. It also makes the content easier and faster to
maintain, by not having as much conditional content what you described. My
clients appreciate that.

I've never had anyone comment on the numbering in the help. I know many in
our field say we should not number figures and tables in help, but I don't
think users know the difference or care. If users can find the information
they want, and a link with a table or figure number takes them to
information they need, they're happy.

Just food for thought.

Linda G. Gallagher
TechCom Plus, LLC
lindag at techcomplus dot com
303-450-9076 or 800-500-3144
User guides, online help, FrameMaker and
WebWorks ePublisher templates

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:framers-bounces at] On Behalf Of Nancy Allison
Sent: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 7:54 AM
To: framers at
Subject: Conditional text for single-sourcing

This is a lengthy, nitty-gritty explanation of one oddity I'm encountering
as I rework a manual in Framemaker for conversion to a .chm file. So, if you
like nitty-gritty stuff, read on. If you find such discussions unbearably
tedious . . . you might want to read something else!

Because I started with an existing manual, I couldn't create clean standards
that would make conversion easy.

Example: the manual has introductory sentences like "Figure 3.12 shows a
waveform generated by an Open test." It is followed by an anchored frame
containing the figure, and then a caption with autonumbering that says
"Figure 3.12. Open Test Waveform"

In the online help system, this topic can be reached from any direction; as
a result, chapter and figure numbers have no meaning. Therefore, I mask them
using conditional text.

Translation standards say that it is best to create an entire, alternative
sentence, rather than creating conditional phrases. That's because the
grammatical structures of other languages may not accommodate the
alternatives that make sense in English.

Therefore, I apply my PDF condition tag to "Figure 3.12 shows a waveform
generated by an Open test." and to the entire caption.

I create this sentence: "The following figure shows a waveform generated by
an Open test." and apply my Online Help condition tag to it.

The PDF has the original sentence, the figure, and the caption.

The Online Help has the new introductory sentence, the figure, and no

OK, well and good.

However, when I try to apply the same process to Table titles, I can rewrite
the introductory sentence just fine and apply conditional tags to the two

But, the table title autonumber is built into the Table Title somehow. If I
select the Table Title and apply the "PDF" condition tag to it, and display
only the "Online Help" conditional text, I still get the autonumber in the
Table Title. The actual title text is gone, but the autonumber remains. It
seems to be hard-wired into the table itself.

It appears that my only recourse is to set my table formats to No Title in
the Table Designer, and then insert a free-standing autonumbered Table Title
paragraph, which can be completely masked with conditional text.

This means redoing a lot of tables (in a 400+ page document), and in the
template I am creating, and I am not looking forward to it.

Have you encountered this problem (the non-disappearing table autonumber)?
Do you have any other technique for doing this?

Thanks for reading all this.

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