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Inserting Special Characters in FrameMaker

by Ron Kurtus (21 December 2006)

Special characters are symbols and items used in writing but not available on your keyboard.

A good example is the long dash or em-dash (—) that can separate clauses in a sentence. When you type two dashes together (--) in Microsoft Word, the program automatically creates the em-dash, provided you have that feature turned on. In Adobe FrameMaker, it is necessary to use special keyboard combinations to insert such characters in your work.

You can find an extensive list of special characters in FrameMaker's online help. You also can paste in special characters from Word or HTML.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.



Common special characters

You can insert special characters into your document by using shortcut keys.

Note: The keyboard combinations for special characters in FrameMaker are not very logical. Unless you use them a lot, you really need to have a reference for them.

The following is a list of common special characters.

Character name

Example

Keys

Bullet Ctrl+q Shift+5
Copyright © Ctrl+q )
Ellipsis ... Ctrl+q Shift+i
Em dash Ctrl+q Shift+q
En dash Ctrl+q Shift+p
Hyphen, discretionary   Ctrl+-
Hyphen, non-breaking   Esc - h
Hyphen, suppress   Esc n s
Registered trademark ® Ctrl+q Shift+9
Space, non-breaking   Ctrl+spacebar
Trademark Ctrl+q Shift+8

Finding other characters

You can find a complete list of special characters, along with their shortcut keys through FrameMaker online help. Search for special characters, and then click on Entering special characters. There are three Entering special characters—one for each operating system.

Note: FrameMaker's online help is weak and poorly done. It takes a while to figure out how to find things. But also, I wonder why they do not have a way to insert special characters from their main menu.

Pasting special characters

You can paste text and special characters from Microsoft Word and from HTML.

Word

When you paste text from Word, you need to Edit > Paste Special... as Rich Text Format to retain any special characters in the Word text. Unfortunately, you also bring along paragraph styles from Word. This can be a problem if your FrameMaker catalog is using different styles.

When you special paste as Text, all special characters are lost. Also, quotation marks and apostrophes are no longer “smart quotes” but are the "straight quotes".

HTML

When you paste from an HTML document, you can only special paste as Text. Since quotes, em-dash, and other special characters are codes in the HTML document, they are automatically transferred to the FrameMaker document.

Summary

Special characters are symbols and items used in writing but not available on your keyboard. In FrameMaker, it is necessary to use special keyboard combinations to insert such characters in your work. You can find an extensive list of special characters in FrameMaker's online help. You also can paste in special characters from Word or HTML.


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