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The Adobe FrameMaker series offers page layout software that is designed to lay out long, technical documents, such as instruction manuals or scientific and engineering articles. If you are a technical writer, you will enjoy this software series, though the program is not easy to learn. The system lets you work with an XML editor, which simply lets you wrap your information in tags if you want to move it to an HTML editor. If you are working with text, you will find this software useful, but if you want to use graphics or images or to add more general flare, we recommend that you look at the other page designer software in our lineup.

The first thing you will notice about versions from the FrameMaker series is the dull, monochromatic design. Don't let this fool you though, because the page layout design software is more capable than any word processor. These programs are some of the few that lets you work in WYSIWIG mode, rather than plain text. The user interface has a simple look to it, with a ribbon along the top that includes tools such as spell check, text formatting and tables properties. The page also has a character and paragraph designer and a catalog of ways to improve the appearance of your text.

One issue you may run into is that the graphics properties tab isn't part of the default layout, and you can't change that. The graphics tab is generally open or closed, and you have to go into the graphics tab to open the properties. You still have these options, but this is just an annoying quirk about some versions of the software.

FrameMaker has versions of this tool with many templates pre-packaged that you can use to get started on your projects. These templates can also act as a jumping-off point for your creations. Examples of templates include a table of contents for books or catalogues and an index template.

The FrameMaker series isn't known for its ability to work with graphics. The amount of included clipart is minimal, and the software focuses a lot on vector graphics. The graphics properties box has many shapes and lines to choose from and draw, and you can adjust the line width and color and add any gradients. You can upload your own images, but if you want a page layout design software that has more options for images and graphics, this software isn't for you.

What FrameMaker is good at is creating a space that is useful for technical documents. Whether it's catalogues, commercial publications or technical how-to papers, this page layout software gives you the ability to create professional technical documents. FrameMaker gives you more freedom to adjust margins and spacing than you will find in traditional word processors. This freedom also extends to inserting tables, adding rows and columns, and even importing text into a table.

With Adobe products, you get access to some of the best software support resources available, such as a user's community, how-to downloads and even video tutorials. We had to use the forums to find help on FrameMaker, and we received multiple responses to questions within minutes, so you won't have problems getting assistance from other users. This series does not currently offer page layout software for Mac.

The Adobe FrameMaker series interface takes some time to get used to, but if the documents you need to publish are strictly text based, you will appreciate this page designer software. You can customize the layout to fit your needs and use vector-based graphics, though there are almost no shapes or clipart to choose from which is ideal in the best page layout software. We recommend this expensive design software only if you need to create and publish text-based technical documents.