I'm working on a book about software with many graphics (screenshots of the software that I work on it, and some vector graphics) with the heavy body text. I guess the book will be finished about 600 or 700 pages. I know Adobe InDesign is the #1 option for layout and design a book with graphics.

But If I work on my book in InDesign, I should create many books files in the Book Panel. This is great, but I need to see whole the book (text and graphics) at once in a long document and search and check to avoid some errors or repetitive parts and etc. This is possible in InDesign, but need powerful hardware that I don't have it unfortunately and seems I have to create many books files in the Book Panel and just work on a few and close the others, unless my machine will face a bad crash. Also If I have a powerful machine, I'll have to switch or open and close the documents in the Book Panel, again and again, that is boring and time-wasting tasks.

MS Word is that a bad idea clearly and it's a joke for my case, and it's suitable for a short article not a long document with lots of graphics.

I consider Adobe Framemaker, but I haven't any experience with it yet. As I said before, at first I need to have and see whole book body text and its graphics in one long document (not many book files like in Adobe InDesign) and then import and divide to proper chapters in the third software for layout and design (I'm sure; It would be Adobe InDesign). Do you think Adobe Framemaker is a good option to create a long heavy document in my case without a crash, slowness while I have a weak PC (2 cores CPU, 4GB Ram!)?

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    Quark XPress is also a candidate for long or complex projects as is Tex, and LaTex.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 17:18
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    FYI for MSWord - The maximum file size is limited to 32 MB for the total document text only and does not include graphics, regardless of how the graphics image is inserted (Link to file, Save with document, or Wrapping style) into the document. Therefore, if the file contains graphics, the maximum file size can be larger than 32 MB. According to support.microsoft.com.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 17:25
  • @Stan, It could be, but I prefer to work in Adobe inviornment for better import/ export compatibility. Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:15
  • @Stan, didn't know the size, cool! but my case is full of graphics with many pages (more than 500 pages). That's huge duty for MS Word, specially in automatic saving time that I need to save in short cycles; short pauses are on the nerve and slow down the task. Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:25
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    Oh dear, one would only use framemaker if you make a tagged document. So if you use the xml panel in indesign then you might consider Framemaker. But then you could just keep your data as xml
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 0:16

2 Answers 2


FrameMaker is specifically designed for things like manuals and text books. It has more robust cross-referencing, indexing, etc. needed for such projects. That's the entire point behind FrameMaker.

While I have not directly worked with FrameMaker, I would be inclined to download the trial and try it. FrameMaker would be the next logical step if the InDesign Book features are too cumbersome.

I don't think anyone here can comment directly on hardware capabilities. Beyond it would seem to be inevitable that at some point, with 4GB of RAM you may hit slow downs which you'll have to live with or upgrade to improve.

  • That's correct. I don't use FM for the whole project, just for draft stage. I want to see all the pages in just a document and after finishing all typing, inserting graphics, checking, proofing, etc. Then import into InDesign and create chapters, index, TOC, and all things the book needs to complete for exporting and final output. Agree with you about my super weak hardware, but I have to keep and live with it! Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:33
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    I don't believe you need InDesign with FrameMaker. It's my understanding FrameMaker has most or all the InDesign features as well as more robust manual features.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:43
  • maybe I don't have any experience with FrameMaker. Need to try it soon, but I would be happy, if experienced users who familiar with both FrameMaker and InDesign share their experiences here. The most important thing I want to try FrameMaker is just to know; if it'll be work smooth and run just a document with many pages or not. If this work and answer for this and has most InDesign features, would be great and maybe don't need to import and continue the job into InDesign. Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 20:59
  • I have extensive (old) FrameMaker knowledge, but have only used InDesign a tiny bit. FrameMaker can do everything you need. It's dated - because Adobe have largely sidelined it since acquiring it - but Apple themselves used to use it for all their manuals. It's the whole thing, not an entry point. The world needs an updated FrameMaker.
    – Andrew E
    Commented Apr 12, 2020 at 7:37

I will weigh on on this one as books, manuals etc have been and are my bread-and-butter in many ways, as I'm (amongst other things) a technical writer.

For what you're proposing, I'd look at DTP tools like Affinity Publisher or Adobe InDesign as my first choices.

FWIW, I've been an Adobe Suite user for decades, but have actively been transitioning to Affinity the last few years, and with the recent release of Publisher, I feel like the Affinity offerings are well developed, mature, interlinked better than Adobe, faster and cheaper - they are not as ubiquitous as the Adobe Suite, nor is there the depth of plug-in developers as of yet, and the feature lists are shorter - both due to a lack of the long-term bloatware effect and due to there still being a few things left on the development roadmap.

If your end target is not only a printed book (print-targeted .pdf) but also a responsive HTML 5 website as well as a print-ready .pdf, you may be better off looking at HATs (Help Authoring Tools) like MadCap Flare, or the online service based cheaper equivalent Paligo: they both allow for single-source, topic-based writing, and multi-target output, which allows you to develop docs which will work for print-ready and on-screen .pdfs, and simultaneously publish to responsive HTML 5.

Hope that helps.

  • 1
    I guess you right. I installed FrameMaker, but it doesn't seem that I need and it won't fulfill my needs, also is not a similar UI like InDesign and I'm not comfortable with it. It's almost confusing for me. I'm familiar with Affinity Disigner, but I've not any experience with AP yet. Try it soon and guess AP or InDesign are my last options. In my case, I should have all content of my book in a long file to avoid unnecessary parts, paragraphs, by search/find/delete/edit, etc, This process in a just document is easy, but not in some documents or files. I hope Affinity Publisher works for my job Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 7:15

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