Technical Writing Tip: Favorite FrameMaker Shortcuts

June 6, 2024 Breanne MacDonald

Here at ASCENT, we use FrameMaker to produce our learning guides. Like any publishing program, it includes many keyboard shortcuts to make working with it more efficient. Here’s a quick breakdown of the ones I use the most. 

  • Esc j j – Applies the last-used paragraph style to the current paragraph. This is helpful if you need to convert a document to a new template or need to apply new paragraph styles to a large amount of text. You can also select multiple paragraphs to apply the style to all of them at once. 

  • Esc c c Applies the last-used character style to the selected text. Like the previous shortcut, this is helpful if you need to apply new character styles to a large amount of text. Remember that it always uses the last-used style, so if you find yourself switching between styles often, it may be more efficient to pop out the Character Catalog and select from there instead of using the shortcut. 

  • Esc Spacebar hAdds a non-breaking space. I use this when I want to keep words/elements together within a paragraph (like keeping an icon on the same line as its tooltip). This is a better alternative than using a soft return if you want to bump a word or an icon down to the next line as it won’t cause extra line breaks if you later publish your file to HTML or eBook formats. 

  • Esc - h Adds a non-breaking hyphen. Just like the non-breaking space, this is helpful if you want to keep a term or a file name together on the same line rather than allowing the automatic hyphenation to break it across lines. 

  • Esc g zWith an object selected, opens the Scale dialog box. This allows you to size up or size down your drawings and images proportionally by entering a new scale value, rather than resizing manually using the controls (and risking that your image gets stretched unintentionally). 

  • Esc m p – Resizes the image frame to fit the content. I always use this shortcut after doing any image work to ensure my frame fits the content properly and nothing is being cut off. 

  • Esc g g Groups all the elements within your frame together. I use this once I’m done adding images, drawings, or text callouts to my frame to keep them in place and avoid unintentional shifting. This is especially helpful when precision with leaders and callouts is important or when you want to resize a group of elements together. (Use Esc u g to ungroup them again, if needed.) 

When working with images, I also use the <Alt> + arrow keys to nudge elements in my frames into place, and <Shift> when drawing lines or shapes to maintain certain constraints – I encourage you to play around with these options as well! 

What are some of your most-used FrameMaker shortcuts? 

About the Author

Breanne MacDonald

Technical Editor<br><br>Fueled by her meticulous nature, an eye for detail, and a love of books, Breanne has been an editor for over 10 years. She has been a technical editor with ASCENT since 2019, and outside the office she is an avid volunteer with the Editors’ Association of Canada. Breanne holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University and a certificate in publishing from Ryerson University.

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