FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Formatting fields and applying field attributes


FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training

with Cris Ippolite

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Video: Formatting fields and applying field attributes

If we look at our Customer Detail Layout, and we go into Layout mode, you'll see, just like is the case on all the other layouts in this database, that we placed several fields on the layout. Now when we place these fields on the layout, we don't necessarily have to settle for just their flat, plain-looking feel. You can use some Field Attribute tools to give them a different, and more professional look. So when you are in Layout mode, you can select any field. Let's say in this case, we're going to select the CompanyLogo field that we have in the middle of the screen. And then open the Inspector. If you don't have the Inspector open already, you can hit the i button, or Command+I on Mac ,or Ctrl+I on Windows.
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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

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Watch the Online Video Course FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training
9h 11m Beginner Jun 25, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Creating databases from templates
  • Creating fields in spreadsheet format
  • Creating tables and relationships
  • Defining key fields
  • Adding validation and auto-enter values to fields
  • Managing records, including duplicating, locking, and deleting records
  • Creating and managing layouts
  • Formatting layout objects
  • Finding and sorting data
  • Creating calculation fields
  • Building reports
  • Printing and saving as PDF or Excel
  • Writing and triggering scripts
  • Using relationships throughout a database
FileMaker Pro
Cris Ippolite

Formatting fields and applying field attributes

If we look at our Customer Detail Layout, and we go into Layout mode, you'll see, just like is the case on all the other layouts in this database, that we placed several fields on the layout. Now when we place these fields on the layout, we don't necessarily have to settle for just their flat, plain-looking feel. You can use some Field Attribute tools to give them a different, and more professional look. So when you are in Layout mode, you can select any field. Let's say in this case, we're going to select the CompanyLogo field that we have in the middle of the screen. And then open the Inspector. If you don't have the Inspector open already, you can hit the i button, or Command+I on Mac ,or Ctrl+I on Windows.

You can change the color of the field, for example, by going into the Appearance. So you've got several different options here for modifying the appearance of an object. We've got a field object, the CompanyLogo field selected, and we can change the color if we'd like, by selecting one of these colors, if we want to make it stand out from the rest of the fields on the layout. Or here we can just choose white, which makes it pop a little bit from the gray background. You'll also notice that the item next to it, although it is a selection of several different patterns, these first two here are the most useful.

I'm pretty sure you're not going to use any of these patterns. But you might want to use this toggle here between having a Solid background or a transparent background. So you see even though we have a white color on this field and we apply the transparent background, you can see the gray color come through. In this case, we'll say Solid. That way, it cuts it apart from the rest of the fields in the layout. See, we can actually select a field, and hold on our Shift key, and do the same to all the rest of the fields in our layout, if we'd like.

So I'll make that a Solid color. You see that we've now got contrast between the gray background and the field color. In addition, if we go back to selecting our CompanyLogo, we've got some effects. So by default, there are no effects on a field, or an object. But I could choose a Drop Shadow, for example. If you look very closely, you can see a small, little, 3D-looking Drop Shadow effect, which will get more dramatic if we go to this next line, and we choose Line, and pick, let's say, a thicker line point.

You'll notice now that we've got this gray Drop Shadow effect behind it, we can change the Color of the lines to give it more contrast. So you can see there, it gives it more of a 3D effect, or it appears as it's kind of floating above your layout. Using these same tools, we can also affect the way the text appears inside of a field. For example, if we select the Notes field, you'll see that we've got an option here that allows us to display Text baselines. Those are these dotted lines here that show where each row of the text that's contained within the field will appear.

We can choose to show Text baselines, give them different colors, if we'd like to. We'll just keep them as their default, as you see every one of your fields that contains non-container values has Text baselines by default. We can also make modifications to the text that appears inside the field. So, for example, I can choose a field, and then choose different fonts, if I'd like to, from the Text section of the Appearance tab on the Inspector, or even Highlight the values inside the field, Bold, Italics and such. I can also choose Paragraph Alignment.

You're probably familiar with a lot of these text formatting tools from other applications. They all perform the same way here inside of FileMaker. So I can select a field, or a group of fields, and apply the same Text, or Alignment, or Line Spacing to them at the same time, or I can choose a text object, like the Customer Layout, and do the same, Toggle between Bold and Italic, those types of options. In addition to the way that a field looks when you are in Layout mode, you can also control the way that the data within the field is formatted. For example, if we navigate over to the Product Detail layout, and save our changes on this layout, you'll see that we have a series of fields that represent dollar values, like Price and Cost.

When we select Cost, the Cost field was defined as a Number field, when we first set this up inside of the Manage > Database window. Therefore, it's going to contain numerical values, but more specifically here, it's going to contain dollar values, because it's the cost of a product; same thing with Price over here. So if we go into the Inspector and choose the Data tab, you'll notice at the very bottom, if we collapse some of these other sections, you'll notice that we've got a Data Formatting section. From here, if I drop down and choose Currency, it gives me various different options that I can use to apply towards the data that's going to be stored within these fields.

So, for example, I'll choose Cost, I'll hold down my Shift key, and also choose Price. Now I'm going to choose Currency again, and it gives me several different options. Here I can choose Fixed number of decimals, and what the leading Symbol will be, whether or not I want to use a thousands separator, and some other international options that I can choose. If it's Negative, what Color do I want to show, those types of things. So now, if you go into Browse mode, save your changes, you can see that the data is stored in here as 2,787.50.

But when it's formatted in the layout, we can see the Dollar sign and a thousands separator in the decimal places. We don't have a value inside of Price just yet. But this helps you format data appropriately based on how it's going to be handled. Now the thing to keep in mind is if there is another layout that also has the Cost field on it, we would have to apply the same formatting to it, in order for it to show this currency formatting, although I could just copy this field and paste it to another layout, and it would carry with it the formatting that I just applied. So keep in mind that applying formatting on the layout is only applying it towards that one field on that layout, unless you copy an already formatted field to another layout.

Same is true for Date fields, by the way. It's not just for Currency. If you look at the Date Created field, you see that we can either format it as entered, or we've got some other options here to show different formats for dates. Now this does not change the underlining data in the database. If you remember, FileMaker is storing dates, for example, as an integer, the number of days since the year 1/1/0001. So it doesn't matter how you view it when you are looking at it in Browse mode, or when you are printing or viewing it in Preview mode. This is just simply a formatting instruction that you are giving it for this field on this layout.

So, for example, if you save our changes as we go into Browse mode, you look, we could change this, for example, from the Standard Formatting to something like this. Now we go into Browse mode and hit Save. You see there are different ways. It doesn't change the underlining data or the way that it was entered, but you see where there are different ways that we can manipulate dates, as well. So there is a whole series of different ways that you can manipulate these. One other one I'll show you back on the Customer Detail is our CompanyLogo.

If we go back into Layout mode, and choose CompanyLogo, you see that this last icon over here in Data Formatting allows us to give different instructions on how the images that might be contained within the container field will be managed. So here we can Crop to frame, for example, or Reduce the image to fit. So if you crop it, then an image that's any larger than, let's see, we've got 325 pixels wide. If you have an image that's let's say 500 pixels wide, it's just going to crop only 325 pixels portion of it.

Reduce image to fit is probably the most general option. It's the default option. That's most likely what you're going to use, because no matter what the image size is that you're putting into your container field, you can make it fit inside of the size of the container field on your layout. Make sure you check Maintain original proportions, in that case ,as well. So here you can align images internally. So nine times out of ten you're going to say Reduce image to fit, Maintain original proportions, and align on your settings. I'll be making these same changes on other layouts in our Exercise Files, but if you're looking for some extra practice, feel free to go ahead and use this version of the exercise file to do the same.

So you've got a couple of different formats that you can choose from there. Even though FileMaker stores data in specific ways internally, you can use the Field Attribute tools, and even some of the ways that you could format data inside your field to give your users a look and the feel that's appropriate to the data that's been stored, or the type of the field that you're placing on your layout.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training .

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Q: In the Chapter 16 tutorial, “Using Text Functions,” the instructor discusses how to calculate the First Name and Last Name from the Full Name. However, the method does not account for names ending with  “Jr.” or “Sr.” or “III,” etc.  How can I account for added suffixes in names?
A: For cases like this, you can create a third "Suffix" field. Then change the FullName calculation to:

NameFirst&" "&NameLast&" "&Suffix 

This way, nothing will appear if the Suffix has no value, but if it does have a value the suffix will appear.
Q: What information is actually on the “Invoice Line Item” table in the examples, and how does it actually connect to the tables that it comes from?
A: The information in each line item is native to the "Invoice Line Item" table. The fields are defined in that table and each record represents "A Product appearing on an Invoice."
Each time a product is used on an invoice, a record in the line item table is created. Many of the fields, for example "Quantity," are native to that table because those values only exists when a Product is used in an Invoice, and not as attributes of a Product itself.
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