Variables can be a useful way to update a file, but they can also cause a lot of problems.
In FrameMaker, you have system variables and user variables. System variables are maintained by FrameMaker, such as current date or filename. User variables are variables that you define in FrameMaker, such as company name or product name.
Each user variable has a name and a definition. When you change the definition of a user variable, all occurrences of the variable in your document are updated to use the new definition.
You can use the Variables pod (View > Pods > Variables) to insert, edit, or delete system and user variables.
To insert a variable:
To delete one occurrence of a variable, click once on the variable in the text to select it (double-clicking will activate the Variable pod), then press Delete.
To copy or move a variable, select it and choose Edit > Copy, Edit > Cut, or Edit> Paste.
To replace a variable with another variable, select the variable in the text, then double-click a different variable in the Variables pod.
If a variable is on a master or reference page, you cannot edit its occurrence from the body pages.
Select the variable in the Variables pod, click on the Delete icon in the pod toolbar.
Note: Deleting a variable definition from the Variables pod converts all occurrences of the variable in your document to editable text.
If you edit a variable definition, all occurrences of the variable in the document are updated.
You can change the variable name and the variable format from the Add/Edit Variable panel.
You can convert a variable to editable text and then edit the text in the document. If you convert the variable to text, however, the text is no longer updated when the variable definition changes.
It’s easy to update a variable in all the files in a book using Import Formats. Unfortunately, you cannot update just one variable. Import Formats updates all of the system variables as well as all of the user variables. Because we use system variables in headers and footers, this has caused problems in the past. A simple user variable update caused system numbers to disappear from pages in several manuals because it also updated a hidden system variable.
If only used in one file, a variable offers little advantage over using Find/Change to replace placeholder text.