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Creating and applying dynamic value lists

From: FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training

Video: Creating and applying dynamic value lists

We discussed creating a static value list containing a preset range of values, but there's another way to populate the values in a Value List, and it's called creating a Dynamic Value List. Dynamic Value Lists are automatically created on the fly, based on data that's already in a field. This way the value in the field will be automatically updated each time a new record is added, or the chosen field is updated in an existing record. Then an alphabetized and de-duped list of values will be available in the Value Lists; these Value Lists use something that's called a Field Index to create the lists.

Creating and applying dynamic value lists

We discussed creating a static value list containing a preset range of values, but there's another way to populate the values in a Value List, and it's called creating a Dynamic Value List. Dynamic Value Lists are automatically created on the fly, based on data that's already in a field. This way the value in the field will be automatically updated each time a new record is added, or the chosen field is updated in an existing record. Then an alphabetized and de-duped list of values will be available in the Value Lists; these Value Lists use something that's called a Field Index to create the lists.

For example, if you click into any field in Browse mode and choose Command+I on Mac, or Ctrl+I on Windows, you can see a field's index. So this way, even if you have multiple records that all have the value of Pending or Shipped, for example, the word Pending will only show up once in your Value List. So when you use this field's index as your Value List, in the case of a Dynamic Value List, you will only see these values once, and you'll see them alphabetized. Now, in the Invoice Detail Layout, what you'll notice is that every record in the Invoice Detail is the child record from a Parent Customer.

If you'll recall from the Creating Relationships chapter, a child related record needs to have the Foreign Key field populated with the key field from the Parent. If you need a refresher, it's not a bad idea to go watch those videos again. So in each Invoice record, we would like to show a dropdown of all of the primary keys of the customers stored in our Customers table. This will allow a user to go into the Invoice Detail Layout, create a new record, but still associate this child record with the parent by choosing the right Customer ID and placing that into the Foreign Key field.

In order to show a dropdown of all of the primary key values from the Customer table, we would need to create a Dynamic Value List. Value Lists are created in the Manage Value Lists dialog, which can be accessed under the File menu, to Manage, and Value Lists. In this case, we'll hit the New button, and we're going to name our Value List. Let's call this one Customers. Now, instead of choosing the default Use Custom Values, which would create a static value list, we are going to choose the first option, Use values from field.

When we select it, we see a new window appear called Specify fields for the Value List "Customers". Now, in this first window, you see this dropdown will contain a list of tables. Once we choose a table, we're going to choose the field that we want to base our dynamic value list on. So in this case, since we want to show a list of all customers' primary key values, we'll select Customers. But you see I can choose from any one of the tables in the database. Now we're going to choose the primary key field.

Let's see what that looks like once we assign this to our field. We'll hit OK, OK, OK again, and in Layout mode, we will select the fkCustomerID field, because this is a local foreign key field defined inside of the Invoice record, and it needs to contain a primary key value from one of the Customer records. So when we select it, we see in our Inspector, in the Data tab, that we do have the fkCustomerID's field chosen, but now we are going to select a pop-up menu, and now we choose the Value List we want to show, and we'll say Customers.

And you see the pop-up menu has the option to allow entry of other values, but that's not going to make sense for the task that we are trying to perform here. So now in Browse mode we hit Save to commit our changes, and now we see, when we click in the field, we get a list which represents every primary key from all the customers in our Customer table. The problem is your users aren't going to recognize a customer by their Customer ID, so there's a way that we can modify this Value List to make it more intuitive to the users.

If we go under File, to Manage, to Value Lists, and either double-click on, or click and hit the Edit button on, the Customer Value List we created earlier, we hit Specify Field again, and now you'll notice on the right-hand side, we have the option to Also display values from a second field. What this allows us to do is not only display all the Customer Ids, and by the way, when a user selects one of these options, the value in the left-hand window, or in this case the primary CustomerID key field, will actually be the value that gets populated into the field.

However, if we want to give users sort of a guide, we can pick another field from that same table, let's say CompanyName, and allow the user to see those as well. We also have the option below to show values only from the second field, or to show the values from both fields but then choose which one to sort by. Since the users really don't need to know the IDs, we'll just select show values only from second field. Now we hit OK, OK again, and then one last OK, and now we see, inside of the field, even though the value of the field is actually the ID, what it's showing us is the value of the second field.

Also, when the user clicks on the Value List, all you are going to see are the names of Customers, instead of the IDs. In this case, you'll notice that our list is a lot shorter, and that's because there are only two records in our Customer table that actually contain Customer Name values. So if we wanted to show all of the customers, we want to make sure that for every record that has a primary key in it, it also has a customer name. Now you'll notice by toggling between the two choices, that the related fields that we have on this layout change values.

We'll talk more about related fields in the chapter on using relationships. By formatting a field as a dropdown menu based on a Dynamic Value List, you can still allow users to enter new values, but at the same time allow them to choose from previously entered values. The way that a new value could be entered in this dropdown is by navigating over to the Customer List and creating a new record, making sure of course that the new record you create has both the primary key value and a company name.

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This video is part of

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FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training

94 video lessons · 14862 viewers

Cris Ippolite
Author

 
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  1. 7m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Understanding the FileMaker family
      2m 15s
    3. Using the FileMaker Quick Start screen
      2m 52s
    4. Using the exercise files
      1m 7s
  2. 21m 9s
    1. What is a database?
      2m 26s
    2. Flat vs. relational databases
      2m 29s
    3. How FileMaker works
      4m 48s
    4. Understanding the essential preferences
      3m 13s
    5. Touring the interface
      8m 13s
  3. 11m 44s
    1. Creating databases from templates
      2m 29s
    2. Creating new databases in the spreadsheet-like format
      5m 35s
    3. Importing tables
      3m 40s
  4. 9m 9s
    1. Determining which tables you will need
      5m 10s
    2. Creating tables in the Managing Tables window
      3m 59s
  5. 34m 47s
    1. Understanding relationship types
      6m 58s
    2. Diagramming relationships (with ER diagrams)
      8m 50s
    3. Determining which key fields you need
      5m 18s
    4. Defining primary and foreign keys
      7m 56s
    5. Creating relationships using the relationships graph and table occurrences
      5m 45s
  6. 50m 34s
    1. Deciding what fields you will need
      5m 34s
    2. Understanding field types
      7m 54s
    3. Defining fields
      9m 56s
    4. Using Auto Enter options in fields
      9m 33s
    5. Reviewing field validation options
      8m 16s
    6. Building with container fields
      9m 21s
  7. 14m 8s
    1. Creating and duplicating records
      5m 40s
    2. Editing and locking records
      4m 42s
    3. Deleting records and backing up files
      3m 46s
  8. 21m 6s
    1. Importing data
      9m 57s
    2. Importing records to refresh data
      7m 2s
    3. Exporting data
      4m 7s
  9. 18m 30s
    1. Understanding layouts
      4m 15s
    2. Using the Layout Assistant to create List views
      7m 59s
    3. Using the Layout Assistant to create labels and envelopes
      6m 16s
  10. 27m 11s
    1. Using the Layout Setup dialog box
      4m 54s
    2. Understanding layout parts
      4m 40s
    3. Understanding the new Inspector
      2m 26s
    4. Exploring the Status Area in Layout mode
      6m 46s
    5. Managing layouts and layout folders
      8m 25s
  11. 41m 9s
    1. Arranging, aligning, grouping, and locking layout objects
      11m 5s
    2. Placing and formatting objects, parts, and graphics
      4m 10s
    3. Formatting fields and applying field attributes
      8m 26s
    4. Setting field behaviors
      4m 4s
    5. Using the Tab Control feature
      9m 8s
    6. Setting tab order
      4m 16s
  12. 36m 48s
    1. Using the basic find functions
      7m 31s
    2. Reviewing new requests in the Find mode
      5m 54s
    3. Establishing search operators
      6m 43s
    4. Constraining or extending found sets
      3m 24s
    5. Finding records using date, time, or timestamp criteria
      5m 18s
    6. Using Fast Match and Quick Find
      4m 41s
    7. Working with saved finds
      3m 17s
  13. 17m 28s
    1. Sorting with one criterion
      6m 4s
    2. Sorting with related fields
      2m 18s
    3. Sorting with multiple criteria
      1m 36s
    4. Sorting using custom values
      3m 14s
    5. Sorting using buttons
      4m 16s
  14. 17m 14s
    1. Reviewing Field/Control styles
      5m 43s
    2. Creating and applying static value lists
      5m 20s
    3. Creating and applying dynamic value lists
      6m 11s
  15. 23m 52s
    1. Previewing pages and print options
      6m 20s
    2. Printing in different views
      2m 54s
    3. Sliding objects
      3m 26s
    4. Printing merge letters
      4m 53s
    5. Saving as a PDF or Excel file
      6m 19s
  16. 15m 1s
    1. Building simple reports with summary fields
      4m 36s
    2. Creating subsummary reports
      6m 51s
    3. Creating subsummary reports in Table view
      3m 34s
  17. 52m 19s
    1. Defining calculations
      2m 31s
    2. Exploring the Calculation dialog box
      5m 8s
    3. Using number functions
      12m 41s
    4. Using date and time functions
      4m 58s
    5. Using text functions
      11m 43s
    6. Using get functions
      4m 0s
    7. Using logic functions
      11m 18s
  18. 46m 56s
    1. Understanding scripts and script steps
      2m 23s
    2. Assigning script steps to buttons
      3m 54s
    3. Understanding the ScriptMaker dialog box
      8m 28s
    4. Creating multi-line scripts
      6m 44s
    5. Adding find criteria to a script
      4m 58s
    6. Understanding the If script step
      8m 36s
    7. Using script parameters
      4m 42s
    8. Reviewing the Send Mail option
      7m 11s
  19. 28m 0s
    1. Understanding script triggers
      2m 41s
    2. Using object-based triggers
      11m 58s
    3. Using layout-based triggers
      7m 51s
    4. Using file-based triggers (Open and Close scripts)
      5m 30s
  20. 56m 42s
    1. Using related fields
      7m 18s
    2. Creating portals and using portal filtering
      10m 38s
    3. Using related fields in calculations
      7m 6s
    4. Understanding multi-predicate relationships
      11m 11s
    5. Using the Go to Related Record script step
      7m 26s
    6. Creating a chart
      13m 3s
  21. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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