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Up: Creating Frames for Use with the flowfram Package  Next: Defining the Typeblock  

The flowfram Package: A Brief Summary

The flowfram package is a LaTeX2e package that allows the user to construct frames in a document, such that the document text flows from one frame to the next in the order that the frames were defined. The mechanism is much the same as that used to create the columns when using the standard two column mode, but the columns are of arbitrary width, height and position.

Imagine that you have a number of rectangular sheets of transparent paper. You start writing on the first sheet until it's filled, then you put it aside and start writing on the next until that one's filled as well, and so on. When you've filled all the sheets, pick up the first one and glue it onto your page in your desired location, then pick up the next one and glue that onto the page, and so on. If you've glued one sheet down so that it overlaps another, the text on the top sheet will obscure the text on the lower sheet.

There are three types of frame defined by the flowfram package: "flow" frames which are the main type of frame. These are the frames in which the document text is placed and they are analogous to the transparent sheets of paper example described above. The other two types of frame are called "static" and "dynamic". The contents of these frames has to be set explicitly using one of the commands or environments provided by the flowfram package.

The contents of the static frames are typeset once (when the contents are set) and it remains unchanged until the user explicitly resets the contents. (Static frames have an associated box defined via \newbox in which the contents are stored.) The contents of the dynamic frames are re-typeset on each page for which the frame is defined. (The contents are stored in a macro rather than in a box.)

So, for example, if on page 1 of your document, you set the contents of a static frame to contain the command \thepage, the contents of that frame will always display a 1 (no matter what page it appears on), since that was the value of \thepage when the contents were set. If, on the other hand, you use a dynamic frame, the contents will be re-typeset on every page, so it will display the relevant page number.

Each frame has an associated label which uniquely identifies it for a given frame type, and the frame can optionally have a border. Frames also have an associated page list indicating on which pages the frame should appear. The page list can be one of the keywords all, odd, even or none, or it can be a comma separated list of pages or page ranges (e.g. <4,7,9,10-14,>20). By default, the flowfram package assumes these numbers refer to the decimal value of the page counter (so 9 means the frame is visible on page 9, on page ix, on page IX, or even on page nine, if you've redefined \thepage to use a number string). The flowfram package provides the option pages=absolute, which indicates that the page lists refer to the absolute page number rather than the value of the page counter. So if your document pages are numbered, say, 1, i, ii, iii, 1, 2, 3, then the absolute page 3 is the page numbered ii, since it's the third page of the document.

The flowfram package stacks the frames on the page in the following order: static, flow and dynamic, each in the order in which they were defined. For example, if you define a flow frame called left, then define a static frame called title, then a dynamic frame called header and lastly a flow frame defined right, then the flowfram package will stack the frames in the following order: title, left, right and header. This means that the static frames can be used for background effects.

When exporting to a package or class file, FlowframTk will define the frames according to its own stacking order. However, it will allow you to position, say, a static frame above a flow frame when displayed on the canvas. The object with the static frame data may obscure the other object when viewed in FlowframTk, but it will appear in the background when displayed in the document.

To clear all data relating to the flowfram package, select the menu item TeX/LaTeX->Flow Frames->Clear All.

See also:

Up: Creating Frames for Use with the flowfram Package  Next: Defining the Typeblock  

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