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Several of the field control styles - Drop-down list, Pop-up menu, Checkbox, and Radio button set - require that you specify a Value List first for the values that will be presented to the user using those styles. Value Lists exist independently of field control styles, but they are closely affiliated. A given Value List can be associated with any number of fields in your file, even on a number of different fields in the same layout. Value Lists are defined in the Manage Value List dialog, which can be accessed from the File > Manage > Value Lists.
And in this window, you see we've already got one from our sorting chapter. Here we'll select the New button to create a new Value List. You'll see, from the Edit Value List window, that we've got three different options for setting up a Value List in FileMaker. We're going to concentrate on the option called Use custom values, and that's commonly referred to as creating a static Value List, because here you'll just enter in some static values, of course, and that will make up your Value List. The rest of these options are more dynamic, and we're going to cover those in a later movie.
In this example, we're going to create a Value List for the Shipping Status field. This field can contain either one of these three values: Pending, Processing, or Shipped. So first let's name our Value List something that will be easy for us to retrieve later, Shipping Status, and we'll type a return delimited text list in the order we want these to be presented. And we'll put Pending, Processing, and Shipped.
Now, when we're done, we'll hit OK, and we'll see this list appear in our list of Value Lists, and we'll also see a preview of the values that we're assigned. Now, we can dismiss this window by hitting OK. If we go into Layout mode, let's choose the Shipment Status field, and then looking at our Inspector in the Data tab, we can see that we've got the Invoice Shipment Status field selected, but we can also click on a Control style, and in this case, we're going to choose Drop-down list.
Once you choose Drop-down list, it requires that you choose a Value List. Here we can click on the Drop-down and choose Shipping Status, and you'll also note that if you haven't yet created a Value List, you can just hit the Pencil icon, and it will pop up the Manage Value List window for you. The Drop-down list style that we selected allows the user to select from an item from the Value List, or to manually enter a value if they don't want to choose one of your options, and this list will also include a handy vertical scrollbar, so it's best used for very long Value Lists.
You'll notice the option to Include arrow to show and hide list will affect the display of the field, and determines whether clicking into the field will trigger the list to appear. So let's look at it first without this option selected. We'll go into Browse mode and hit Save to save our changes. And now we notice that we can either tab into a field or click into the field, and you see by clicking into the field, it invokes this Drop-down list. But also notice that if I click outside the field or click twice into the field, I can still add my own value.
That's one of the features of a Drop-down list. If I go back into Layout mode, select the Shipment Status again, you see we have two different options: Include arrow to show and hide list, and also I'm going to choose Allow editing of value list. Back in Browse mode, after we've saved our changes, you'll notice now that by just clicking or tabbing into the field, it doesn't invoke the Drop-down list. When the icon appears, the user will have to click the icon, and now you'll see, in addition to having our three fields from the Value List that we chose, there's also an Edit option.
When a user clicks on the Edit option, a window pops up allowing them to edit the Value List that was created. You want to be careful when you select that. Possibly you don't want users to add values to the Value List, because what you're trying to achieve is data entry consistency, and they may make the same mistakes when editing your Value List as they would by just adding values to the field. You'll probably only show the icon if you want the Drop-down list to be an option, or sort of a helper option of different values, rather than a required value to select from.
So let's go into Layout mode and quickly add another type of a Value List. Let's say, for example, we click on the Taxable field, and we're going to go into a Control style here, and we're going to choose Radio button set. But we don't yet have a Value List to choose from, so we're going to click on the Pencil icon and hit New, and we'll call this one Yes No, and we'll just choose Yes, Return, No, and hit OK, and OK again, and now we see that that's been applied to the Taxable field.
If we go into Browse mode, Save our changes, we'll see now that a Radio button has mutually exclusive options. A user can either select Yes or No, but not both at the same time. By creating a Value List, you can provide your users with the options to choose from, rather than have them try to figure out what data to enter into the field. You'll want to use a static Value List when the values you wish to present to users will barely ever change.
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