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Imposing documents with FM 6

As the question of imposing documents was raised a few months ago, I
explained a way to use any PDF-friendly DTP software as an imposing tool.
The method was, roughly, to import separate pages from a "Source.pdf" file
into a "Target" file containing an imposing template as needed for the job's
purpose (for example, booklets, offset spreadsheets, etc.); then, once the
template was proven working, the user had just to replace "Source.pdf" with
any new pdf file bearing the same name, and the imposed file was updated
automatically through its links to the source.

As we were then using a version of FrameMaker that was not able to import
pdf, our sample program was InDesign. But some Framers asked me to inform
them if all this would work in FM 6 once we upgraded.

Well, we've upgraded at last, and I tried some of my tricks with FM

Here is a brief comparison with the former software :

1. FM 6 handles pdf quite well, and more quickly than InDesign.
2. FM requires far less RAM for the same job.
3. One can use the same program throughout the whole prepress chain (from
raw text to imposing and printing).

1. InDesign allows immediate and direct reexporting to pdf, which means that
you may easily store imposed spreadsheets (signatures) as a backup or for
later use.
2. FM still has a preindustrial interface for graphics handling, which
forces you to use a calculator to resize imported documents (unless there is
a secret shortcut to proportionally adjust contents to a box, I'll be
grateful to the one who knows it).
3. ID can show the original files in high resolution, by default or locally.
4.In ID, the link paths can be edited as text, which avoids you the usual
wandering through dialog boxes.
5. The layers (ID) are very useful to store any info that should not be
printed (explanations to users, danger signals, layout limits and marks,
etc.). You hide and show them by simply turning a layer on or off, which is
far simpler than conditional text (FM).
6. By default, an imported pdf page in FM has a white background, so that it
recovers the template's crop marks. You have to set manually every page's
background to "none" if you want it to be transparent.

Well, I know that these two programs are not designed for the same crafts,
nor for the same users. My intention was to show that, unless one has heavy
professional needs, FM can also be used as an imposing tool. Knowing that
such stuff is quite expensive, I think occasional users had better set up an
imposing workflow with FrameMaker and Distiller alone.

Nota Bene
All this is performed on MacOS 9, with an awful and persistent bug : FM
crashes every time it is selected from the Applications Chooser ! (Got no
answers from Adobe about that).

If there are still people interested, I wish them very much pleasure and

Slobodan Despot

E D I T I O N S  L'A G E  D'H O M M E
Rue de Geneve 10   CH-1000 Lausanne 9

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