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January 22, 2013

Counterfactual ExtendScript history

In the late ’50s, my mom worked for the library at a large Canadian university. One day the library received an official letter from the U.S.S.R. asking the library to please return the Soviet Union’s encyclopedia for “revisions.”
How nice to be able to change history! At times I’ve needed to change my ExtendScript history in FrameMaker.

When you run an ExtendScript in FrameMaker, the name of the script is added to the Script > History list. I find the History a useful place to quickly run an ExtendScript a number of times, without going to the trouble of registering it.

However, I discovered that if you rename a folder or change a path to the script, there is no way to remove the script from the History. If you then run the correct script from its new location, the History list will then contain two entries–both named the same. Because the History list only displays the file name, the two entries are indistinguishable.

If you run a number of different scripts, the misdirected script entry will eventually drop off the list, but there’s no way to explicitly remove a script.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I figured out how to remove an entry from the Script > History menu.

The History is stored in the SCRIPTING.cfg file, which lives in your User Account Preferences for FrameMaker.

I always like to share clever Windows file system tricks. Here’s one that will get you quickly to your User Account Preferences: open Windows Explorer, replace the current contents of the address bar with %appdata%, and press ENTER. Voilà! Now navigate down to AdobeFrameMaker11 (or 10 if you haven’t upgraded).

Before going any further, make sure FrameMaker isn’t running. If you edit SCRIPTING.cfg, then close FrameMaker, your changes will be ignored.

Edit SCRIPTING.cfg in a text editor (Notepad, TextPad, PSPad, Notepad++, Vim, emacs, whatever). Under <HISTORY>, delete the offending line. You can even edit the <HISTORY> contents if you’re feeling frisky. Save the file and close it.

Now when you reopen FrameMaker, the Script > History menu reflects your changes.

It’s not just counterfactual history; you’ve changed history!