FrameMaker Tips | Mysteriously Changing Cross-References

Posted on: July 20, 2020 / FrameMaker Tips /

FrameMaker Tips

Mysteriously Changing Cross-References

Every now and then, someone brings me a file with cross-references that change when the file is closed. The writer inserts a cross-reference, saves and closes the file, but when they reopen the file, the crossreference has a different value. Yikes! Gremlins are hacking into my files!

Category: Using FrameMaker

Relevance: All Manuals

In the figure of one IPC, the callouts for items 20, 30, & 40 all changed to 10.

We usually build cross-refs using the source type “Paragraph Tags”. This source type will show a list of the paragraph tags in the document and the text that uses the chosen paragraph tag.

In this case the list showed the correct item numbers. Unfortunately, the cross-ref actually “connects” to a marker, not to the text. When the writer created the parts list table entries for the items, he copied and pasted the row containing item 10. Item 10 had a cross-ref marker already in place with a value of “10”. When the cross-ref was created to item 20 it showed up as 20 in the figure callout because FrameMaker used the paragraph text, but when the file was closed and reopened, FrameMaker reset the cross-ref using the marker instead. This is some of that “helpful” behind-the-scenes action that makes FrameMaker users go nuts!

By choosing Marker Type as the source type in the Cross-Reference window and Cross-Ref from the list, you can see the marker info that FM uses. The marker info is in the format “paragraph tag: paragraph text”. The example on the left below shows the correct marker info, the example on the right shows marker info that will result in all the cross-refs appearing as “10”.

The fix for this mystery was to delete the bad markers and create new ones.

Of course it’s never that easy, first you have to find the markers. In most IPCs, the item numbers are aligned along the right side of the table cell, which hides the marker symbol. To be able to see the marker symbol, you have to temporarily change the paragraph tag to align along the left side of the cells. Once you can see the marker, it’s easier to delete. Don’t forget to set the paragraph tag back to right aligned!

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