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Known limits and special properties

In most programs the numbers of objects to be handled are limited. The same is true for FrameMaker. Special properties (defaults) are often hard coded … The found restrictive value may have been present since the beginnings, although I have discovered them only in late FM versions.

Readers of this page are kindly invited to provide additional information or corrections to the author.

Property Min / max value FM version Source
Book: number of files no limit   see remark
Border around imported graphic 1/12" = 2.12 mm
This can be modified by some plug-ins
  experience
Case insensitivity of names Marker type   experience
Case sensitivity of names Paragraph format, character format, colour, cross reference format, table style, table ruling style, user variable…   experience
Character formats in catalogue

Maximum length of name: 254 chars
Maximum number of entries: see Document objects

  experience
Commands for all FM Api Clients 2017 (previously, the limit was 250) 7.0P578  
Conditional tab Names are URL encoded in xml, may be up to 256 characters. Special characters, such as blanks, require 3 positions (%20). 8.x f.i.t. 2007
Dictionary, entry length (custom.dct, site.dct)

31 chars including hyphenation dashes. There is no chance to define hyphenation or spelling of the word Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (34 chars) or Überwachungsbedürftigkeit automatically by "learn". You need to delete some of the hyphenation points in the user/site or document dictionary. Special codes (e.g. \x9f for ü) count as 4 characters.

4.x experience
63 chars including hyphenation dashes since FM 8. The coding of the dictionary now is UTF-8. 8.x
Dictionary, personal

Number of entries < 2'000 words.
If exceeded, FM may crash unexpectedly

With FM_9 the dictionary business has been changed completely. The dictionaries seem to be shared with other Adobe applications. See Adobe blog

7.x N. Furia
Document objects The internal context table is a memory construct that holds many types of FrameMaker document objects. The following table illustrates the different entries and their requirements.
element: 2 entries; variable: 2 entries; cross-reference: 2 entries; marker (any type): 1 entry; table: 1 entry; anchored frame: 1 entry; hidden conditional text: 1 entry per block. In FrameMaker 5.5, maximum number of entries is 2^24 (16 777 216)
  Adobe support DB
Elements (structure) 8 millions 5.5 Adobe
Equation (formula) Maximum length of string constant: 61 characters. See note formula strings below. 7.2 experience
File path up to 255 characters according to OS
displayed in object properties dialogue: at most 49
  experience, see note
Font size 2 pt … 400 pt (0.7 … 141 mm)   FM dialogue
Hot spot in graphic URL lenght: 1011 single byte UTF characters or 505 double byte UTF characters
Tool tip length 1023 single byte UTF characters or 511 double byte UTF characters
11 FM-12 Help
Line width 0.015 pt … 360 pt (0.005 … 127 mm)   FM dialogue
Maker.ini Max length of line processed: 255 chars 3.0 f.i.t 3 - see remark
Marker text 255 characters
\ acts as an escape character (attention in hypertext markers with windows-paths!). See also note Markers
4.x ?? www.microtype.com
Master page 100 including Right/Left
More can be defined by importing formats (!)
6.0, 7.0 FM help
Page size

1 x 1" (25.4 × 25.4 mm) … 216 x 216" (548 × 548 mm)
In FM8 documents with A0 size (118.9 × 84.1 cm) have been handled - but I do not know about the printing.

This restriction can only be overcome with reduction of the printer resolution. See Creating a banner with FM and Acrobat. This is not a restriction in Acrobat!

7.0 FM help
Paragraph formats in catalogue Maximum length of name: 254 chars
Maximum number of entries: ???
7.2 experience
Paragraph numbering

Maximum value: 65536 (x10000). Larger values (e.g. set by <n=xxxx) are presented as mod(value, 65536).
For example, if the ¶ format contains <n=136987> then the numbering presents "5915" . Thus it it not possible to create negative numbers by "overflow".

7.2

experience
  The label of the numbering sequence (eg. the A in A:<n+>) may be any printable character from the (lower) ASCII set. I have tested these characters: $ ; : _ + , . | ~ 7 ^ " ` blank
Hence there are 96 possible numbering sequences (including that with no label)
7.2 experience
Running Headers/Footers Unitl FM-7: 4; starting with FM-7.2: 12; starting with FM-11: 18: 11 Adobe
Shading (tint) The minimum tint recognisable depends on the colour depth of the monitor: a system set to display 256 colors cannot display tints below 16% accurately - FM-12 Help
Smart catalogs

Smart catalogs are are lists of paragraph or character styles, elements etc. issued by the short cuts F9, F8, CTRL+1 etc.
In FM-12 the list shows at most10 entries fitting the entered filter characters. In FM-9 to FM-11 the list is limited by the screen
The sort order is influenced by the maker.ini entry SymbolSortingBeforeAlphaNumeric

9  
Table sort order Seems to depend on Windows locale   experience
Table

Maximum width of table or column: 40"=1016 mm = ;
Maximum height of row: 14" = 355.6 mm =
Maximum number of columns: 256
Maximum number of rows: > 3600 (tested with 256 empty columns)
Maximum 'overhang' of table over the current text column width, before the table is aligned at the next 'higher' text column: 1/6" = 4.23 mm (see note table-overhang)

7.0 experience
Text flow Name of a text flow can be very long. I have tested with 64 characters. However in the status line the name may be truncated 9.0 experience
Text frame Height minimum: 1/8" (9 pt, 3.175 mm); maximum 216" (15552 pt, 548 mm)   Adobe support DB
User String object FP_UserString can contain up to 1038 bytes of string data. The main problem is sharing the strings between plug ins.   www.zenserve.co.uk
Variable: contents

Until FM 7.2: up to 255 characters including meta-notations (such as <Default ¶ Font> or \t - this counts as 16 resp. 2 characters).
From FM 8.0: up to 2023 Windows Codepage characters or up to 2022 UTF-8 characters.

See important note Variables below.

7.0
 
 8.0

experience,
Arnis Gubins

Special remarks

Files in a book

FrameMaker does not limit the number of files you can place in a generated book. Adobe has tested placing several hundred files in a book without consequence. Though you can create a book of this size, generating or updating the book requires enough memory and disk space to open and save every file.[Adobe Support DB]

f.i.t 3

The company itl in Munich arranges FrameMaker Information Days since 1992. At the 3rd event 1995 a collection of questions and answers concerning FrameMaker on Windows (3.1) was presented. The source of information was Frame Technolgy's Frame News etc. The collection was distributed by itl as FrameMaker Help (FrameViewer format).

File path

The object property dialogue does not display the full path of an imported object, if the path name is too long. The middle part is replaced by an ellipsis:

G:\VeryLongFilenames\Level02\...\TheImage.png
E:\VeryLongFilenames\L...03\Level04\TheImage.png
..\..\Samples\Glossary...s\Graphics\TheImage.png 

Relative paths are used only up to a certain level of directories. I have not yet found out what this level is. In the above examples the path for the document containing the image is E:\FM-specials\Tips\GraphicsFiguresEps\Path-of-graphics.fm

Find out the full path name by 're-importing' - just opening the import dialogue for the selected image. In the Import dialogue expand the Look in drop down list to see the full directory hierarchy.

If you have the extended Send to function implemented in Windows, you may get the full path with the Send To Clipboard function on the selected file:

G:\VeryLongFilenames\Level02\Level03\Level04\Level05\Level06\Level07\Level08\Level09\Level10\TheImage.png

If you don't find this useful tool anymore on the MS-site, here is a copy of W95powertoy.zip. Unzip and right-click on SENDTOX.INF and select Install. It works fine in Win NT4, W2K and XP.

Formula strings

Markers

Lynne A. Price reported the possibility for an Index Marker to be much longer than 255 character. My findings are these:

Variables

When defining variables in MIF, the length of the contents is practically unlimited (Arnis Gubins has tested up to 2510).
However
, as soon as you use the GUI with dialogue Special > Variable… for that variable (even just looking at it), the content will be truncated to 255 (up to FM-7.2) or 1022/1023 (starting with FM-8) characters.

To save characters use </> as replacement for <Default ¶ Font> .

Valid characters in variable contents
In MIF a blank must follow this code! In Dialogue
Hexadecimal
notation
Meaning Display after import Insert as Count
\x20 … \xfe Displayable characters blank ! " # $ % & etc.
(some may not be displayed correctly, because they are not in all fonts)
similar or directly via keyboard 1
\x04 Optional hyphen blank, functional \x04 1
\x05 Suppress hyphenation blank, functional \x05 1
\x08 Tab bank, functional \t 2
\x09 Newline \r \r 2
\x0a Paragraph end blank, no function    
\x0b Flow end blank, no function    
\x10 Numeric space \s# \s# 3
\x11 Non breaking space \§ (§ depicts a blank) \blank 2
\x12 Thin space \st \st 3
\x13 En space \sn \sn 3
\x14 Em space \sm \sm 3
\x15 Non breaking hyphen \+ \+ 2

Table overhang

A table is placed in the same text column as the table anchor is. The table is aligned at a different boundary if it is to wide for the current text column:

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 URL:  Created: 2004-04-20  Updated:
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