Working Your Way to a Faster Framemaker

Can you use Framemaker without the mouse? While it may not be as intuitive, it certainly is possible, unless you're drawing graphics, of course. Even then, you can keep your actual mouse usage to the bare minimum.

I suggested last time that many keyboard shortcuts in Windows are adaptable for Macintosh by simply substituting the Apple command key for the Control key. This may be the reason why so many, though not all, Framemaker shortcuts start with the Escape key – because they are designed for multi-platforms. In Framemaker, Esc + the underlined letter often functions similarly to Alt + the underlined letter (see my first article Of Mice and Keyboard Shortcuts). For more information on this topic, see the following article:

Most of the shortcuts we will discuss deal with navigating and editing text. Graphics editing is really another subject, which deserves separate attention at a future time.

Working Your Way to a Faster Framemaker

As always, I will document a sample exercise in opening the application. In this case, I recommend that you use an entire Framemaker book to get the full benefit.

  1. Perform the following steps:
    1. Type Start + D to view the Desktop
    2. Navigate with the arrow keys to the Framemaker icon.
    3. Type Enter to open the application.
  2. Perform the following steps:
    1. Type Alt + h, s to open the Samples window.
    2. Select with arrows and the Enter key the following path: Overview>Book>Ecology.Book. The default window appears in Cascade view.
    3. Type Shift + F5 to change the window to Tile view.
  3. Use Shift + down arrow to highlight all files in the book, then type Enter to open them all.
  4. Type Ctrl + Tab until you reach chapter 3 within your book, Solutions for the Future.
  5. Type Alt + PageDown to reach the the end of the chapter.
  6. Type Esc + b, f to place the cursor on this page of text.
  7. Using the down arrow, move the cursor so that it is in front of the words The need for good reconnaissance information…..
  8. Type Shift + Ctrl +End twice, then type Delete to remove the two sentences.
  9. Using the down arrow, move the cursor so that it is in front of the words physiography and geology, the first bullet.
  10. Type Shift + Ctrl +End until all four bulleted paragraphs are selected.
  11. Type F8 to open the Character Catalog and scroll with the down arrow until the tag Green is selected; type Enter to apply it.
  12. Perform the following steps:
    1. Type Ctrl + Tab again until you reach the book tab.
    2. Holding the Shift key, type Alt + Shift + S to save all the files in the book.
    3. Continue typing Enter until all opened files are saved.
    4. Holding the Shift key, type Alt + Shift + C to close all the files in the book.
  13. Type Alt + F4 to close Framemaker.

The above exercise should give you just some idea of the productive possibilities open to someone who takes the time to master keyboard shortcuts. It may take time to learn them, but it's definitely worth it!

A Summary of Keyboard Shortcuts for Adobe Framemaker

The table below summarizes most of the Adobe Framemaker keyboard shortcuts. This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you seek that, check the site below. This includes Framemaker 8's latest shortcuts:

Unlike my previous columns, much, though not all, of this information is unique to Framemaker.

Desired Action


Add row below to a table

Ctrl + J

Arrow (Almost same as Word)

Ctrl + up/down=beginning/end of paragraph

Bold, italics, underline

Ctrl + B, I, U

Cascade windows

Shift + F4

Change case

Alt + Ctrl + C, L, U (for capital, lower and upper case only respectively)

Character designer

Ctrl + D


Ctrl + C

Copy/paste format

Copy special (use context key), then select new text and type Ctrl + V


Ctrl + X

Delete previous word

Ctrl + H

Find/Find Next

(Shift) + Ctrl + F

Goto page

Ctrl + G


Ctrl + K

Insertion point into first text box

Esc + b, f/n

Jump between applications

Alt + Tab

Jump between files of a book

Ctrl + Tab/F6

Jump between table cells (unlike Word tab in last cell jumps back to first cell)

Tab + Shift

Jump to beginning/end of file

Alt + PageUp/PageDown

Jump to next/previous sentence

Ctrl + Home/End

Open, new, close (for a book as well)

Ctrl + O, N, W

Open/close all files in a book

Shift + Alt + F

Paragraph designer

Ctrl + M


Ctrl + V


Ctrl + P


Shift + Ctrl + Z


Ctrl + L


Ctrl + S

Select all

Ctrl + A

Select all files in a book

Esc + e, a

Select from character catalog

F8; type again or Esc to cancel

Select from paragraph catalog

F9; type again or Esc to cancel

Select next/previous sentence

Shift + Ctrl + Home/End

Select paragraphs

Ctrl + Shift + arrows

Selects lines

Shift + arrows

Shrinks frame around graphic

Esc + m, p

Table designer

Ctrl + T

Tile windows

Shift + F5


Ctrl + Z

Unshrinks frame around graphic

Esc + m, e

Next time: We offer Robohelp for the weary mouse user.

I always welcome your comments and suggestions. Please email me at ]]