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In FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training, Cris Ippolite demonstrates the principal features and functions of this popular database software, including creating tables and relationships, managing fields and records, and working with layouts. The course shows FileMaker developers how to find, sort, and share data as well as how to create reports, calculations, and scripts. It also covers brand new features in FileMaker Pro 11 such as the Inspector tool, charting, and portal filtering. Exercise files accompany the course.
In the other movies in this chapter, we've discussed all the different ways that you can use existing relationships to display your data. Actually, previous chapters within the title, we've also talked about different ways to display your data in general, meaning creating compelling reports and list views and layouts and that type of thing. But sometimes the visual display of information isn't able to convey the meaning that may be hard to extract from a text-based report. So, having a text-based report is fine and good, but maybe it's hard for you to visualize trends and things like that.
The new Chart object, which is arguably the most significant feature introduced in FileMaker Pro 11, is therefore an important reporting tool as well. So, we've talked about outputting as a report, outputting calculation results. Now we're talking about outputting visually in the form of a graph. In this movie, we're going to talk about how to generate charts from related records. Now, I want to take a moment to mention that there are many other ways to create a chart in FileMaker Pro 11, but a lot of these are really intermediate development techniques. As a matter of fact, this may be an intermediate development technique, but I wanted to make sure to include this in Essential Training, because charting was such a big deal in FileMaker Pro 11.
For those of you that are watching this as part of the lynda.com Online Training Library, I urge you to go look at the title that's called FileMaker Pro 11 New Features because in there we have detailed examples of every type of chart that you can set up, and we go in and we set up charts for all of these different types and give you very exhaustive detailed review of how you use charts, and data series, and all that type of stuff in FileMaker. For those of you here in this title, whether you purchase it on DVD or on the Online Training Library, I wanted to add this chart information as a bonus, even though it's a little bit outside of the scope or beyond the level of Essential Training.
With all that being said, let's go ahead and add a chart to our layout. So, first of all, charts are layout objects that are drawn using a Layout tool, and all that's done in Layout mode. So, let's go into View > Layout Mode, and let's create a place for our charts, like, for example, let's say we create another tab. So, we'll click on one of the tabs in Layout mode and double-click on it. We see that it's locked. That's what all this gray means. We notice by the four handles that it's grayed out. So, we'll go into our Position, hit Unlock, double-click on it again.
So, we'll hit Charts as a tab name, and we'll hit Create. Pretty simple there. So, now we see that we've got a place to add a chart. So, how do we add a chart to a layout? You add a chart to a layout by going into your Layout tools and you see there is a tool here with the three bars on it and that's called the Chart tool. Clicking on that tool will change your cursor to a crosshair and we're going to select the area that we want to be populated by our chart.
We'll just say the entire area of the Tab panel, and we'll release it. Up onscreen pops the Chart Setup dialog. Now, there's a lot of decisions to be made here, so I'm going to carefully take you through each step. But you can see in the background there's a preview of a chart. That's not actually the chart for this record, but it's just kind of a preview, so you can see the different styles and options that you've chosen. So, let's go through all the different decisions that you need to make. The first decision that you need to make is the chart type. In FileMaker Pro, you have five different charts you can choose from. You see, by default, we've got a Bar chart here.
There is also a Horizontal Bar, which is just a bar chart that comes off from the left, a Line chart, an Area chart, and even a Pie chart. With thought and practice, you'll learn which types of charts are best for which types of data. As with all reports, the primary measure of success is that the chart helps you manage and communicate your data more effectively. So, in this example, since what we're going to do is we're going to plot all of a customer's orders over a period of time and show the total number of orders for different months in different years, what we're going to do is use either the Line or the Area, which really those are good selections to be able to show trends over time.
Bar and Horizontal Bar aren't bad for that, but Pie is really supposed to show a percentage of a whole. So, we're not going to use that one here. How about Area? So you see Area, we can show trends, going up and down, that type of thing. So next, we want to name our chart, and we can specify that name by simply typing in here, or we can use a calculation if we want to. What we'll do is we'll say Calculation, and there's our Specify Calculation dialog window again. I'm going to put in quotations By Month for. Of course, anytime you want to connect text to a function or a field, you have to put an ampersand.
So, we'll say, Invoices By Month for this customer. So, it will dynamically populate that value for us. We'll address the formatting here in a second. But now, here's the really important stuff. This is where this gets kind of intermediate to almost expert in some cases. It's an easy tool, but you've really got to understand your data series before you can use the tool. We have to make decisions on our x axis and our y axis. The x axis is going to be all the data that we see here in these rows and the y axis is going to be everything that's going up the side.
Understanding of data series is really important to wrap your head around this. Again, it's kind of intermediate. For those of you with the access to the Online Training Library, I urge you to go check out the FileMaker 11 New Features, which is an intermediate title, and there's an entire movie in there that describes data series. But if you've used Excel or different things like that, this might actually be more familiar to you than anything else that we've talked about in this video. So, first, what we're going to do for the x axis, we've got various different options here. We can specify a field that contains this data, or we can create our own calculation.
That's what we're going to do in this case, because if I skip down for a second, before I do these two, you see that we've got an option here to use data from, and we've got three options. You can use data from a Current Found Set, data from your Current Record or a list of delimited data, or in this case, since we're talking about using related data and visualizing related data, we're going to choose Related Records. We have to tell it what table we want to use it from. So, we're going to say Invoices. Now, the key here is that we're looking at data just like we look at it in the portal.
So, every time we go from one customer to another, they're going to have a different total or a different set of related records. Those are going to be viewed in this chart. That's what the option for Use Data From Related Records does. So, we pick the related table or the child table that's going to contain the records that we want to display, and we can also apply sort values to this. So, let's actually say InvoiceDate, so that we can move chronologically across our chart. So, now that we've decided that we're using related data, now let's go back and talk about the x axis.
So, in the x axis, what we need to have are the name of a month and the year of a month. So, we'll say like June 2009, July 2009, so on and so on and so on. So, in order to do that, we're going to use a couple of Date functions that we described earlier in the title in the Date and Time Function movie. We're going to hit Specify Calculation. Let's pull up Date. So, what I want is MonthName and I'm going to pull a value here from Invoices.
You see we can only choose from Invoices, because we've already determined that that's where we're pulling the data for the chart. So, it's made that decision for us already. We'll say InvoiceDate. But I want to combine that now with the year. So, let's say? We'll put a little space there. This is how you put a space between two things in a calculation, right there, nice little tip. Now, we're going to say Year from InvoiceDate. So, it's going to give us the month. It will say like June 2010, for example. So, now let's hit OK and now we've got all the information that's going to show up across the bottom of the chart.
Now we have to talk about the data that's going to be listed in the y axis of our chart. This one we can just specify a name, because imagine a portal. If you look inside a portal, you have four or five fields in a portal. As a matter of fact, if we hit OK and we go over to Financial, to View > Browse Mode and we hit Save, you see here we've got Invoice Dates. Forget all these other three columns. Imagine you just have this one column. This is what your data series would be if I just selected the InvoiceDate field.
So, really, this is what we want. We want a data series that's represented by all of the invoice dates from all our related records. So, inside the chart, I'll double-click on it again and I will choose InvoiceDate. Again, kind of intermediate concept, you can put several different fields here. This can go very deep, but I want to make sure to expose you to some of the charting as it pertains to the related records we're dealing within this chapter. Now, we're going to format this chart a little bit before we take a look at it.
So, if I hit Format Chart, there's a couple of things we can do. First, the Chart Appearance. You see we can choose different types of fields if we want to, just for fun, make it look pretty, and the Chart Title, let's actually make that considerably smaller. There we go. That fits better. You see each one has a style. We can go Flat, or a 3D, or have it be Opaque or Opaque - Flat.
We'll do Semi Transparent - 3D, as that seems to be the most esthetic one. FileMaker also has a series of different color palettes and combinations you can choose from. Let's brighten things up. We'll say Rainbow. Then we've got the background, and we want the background to have a fill or to have it be transparent. In this case, we'll say Transparent, so it matches the color of the tab that it's in. But notice that you've got Gradients that you can use, pick your starting color, and your ending color, and you see it kind of does a gradient there, but in this case we'll just say Transparent.
You could also pick Solid Fill, those types of things. Now, the Legend, if we have a legend, some of them won't have legends, but you can put the text size for a legend if you like to, whether or not you want borders. Here we have the Horizontal Axis, so we can say X-Axis is Month/Year, and we'll make those a little bit smaller, and smaller even yet, okay. Make those a little smaller. Now the key is we're going to have a lot of information across the bottom of our chart.
So, this is a handy thing here, the Label Angle. We can either make it at an angle there like that, or these are going to be long ones. So, we'll just make them straight up and down to make it easier to read this. Here we have Invoice Total. We'll change the text a little bit there as well. Now, Invoice Total is actually the number value for the total for each one of these months in a year. So actually, what we've identified here, now that we hit OK on our formatting, is that our vertical axis is actually going to be InvoiceTotal, not InvoiceDate.
So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go in and specify the name InvoiceTotal. So, that means we get a numeric value or a total of all the invoices. So, it's like you go month by month. You find June of 2009, give me the total of all the invoices from that month, then we say July of 2009, all the totals for that month and so on. So, now after we've made that important correction, let's take a look at this by hitting OK and now let's go into Browse mode, save our changes.
Let's go into Charts and take a look at this chart that we've got here. Pretty cool stuff, actually! Not only is it giving us a really beautiful visual representation of the trends in the ordering patterns of this customer, so you see, for example, that they peak, they have what they call temples in January of 2010 and May of 2010, March of 2010. So you can kind of see what might be going on during those times, but it also is dynamic based on customer. So, we go to the next customer and you see they don't have the same months listed.
It just dynamically grabs those months. So, we see we've got temple there, temple there, and some downtimes. Then we go to the next record, same thing here. So, this customer clearly has a lot more orders than this one, but it dynamically updates layout by layout. So, there are certainly many other things you can do with the new Chart tool. There is tons of them. It's very exciting! But in the context of this chapter and in the context of this title, using related data and related data in calculations to draw your data series, gives you a very powerful way to visualize your FileMaker Pro data.
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