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One of the benefits of FileMaker Pro is that you can print any layout that you can view onscreen. So this way you don't have to have any special print layouts, but there are some ways to approach printing that can help you get better results. If you use some of the tools that FileMaker provides to you to visualize what your layouts will look like when you print them, you can then design your layouts to look more like print layouts. The first tool that you can use is called Preview mode. We've been talking about the various different modes - Browse, Find, Layout; there's also a mode called Preview mode, which can be invoked while in Browse mode by hitting this Preview button.
I'll show you Preview mode in just a second, but the first step that I want you to take is to go into Layout mode, and when in Layout mode, I wanted to bring to your attention this little dotted line here that we see. This line is what the page edge is going to look like while we're still in Layout mode. The idea here is so that you can see where you're printing will cut off and therefore develop around it. You also have a line in the bottom of the screen where the height of your page will end based on the print driver you have selected. If I were to print this, it would cut off half of the Shipment Status field value.
It's also important though to look at where these lines come from. These lines are coming from the print driver that I have selected on my computer. Since all print drivers are different, the size might fluctuate a little bit, even if you've designed your layouts based on the print driver you have installed as a developer. This isn't a platform issue, so it's not a Mac or PC thing; it's a driver issue. So in a perfect world, you want to make sure to include all of the print drivers on your development machine that will occur in your user's environment. Generally, you can get an idea where things may print and where they won't print, because really they're all kind of based on an 8.5 x 11 document, for the most part, and that serves as a good guide.
Also, you'll notice, if we go under the File menu and we go to Page Setup, and I choose Landscape instead of Portrait, you'll see that the line has moved. Of course, in that case, the print edge will change because we are printing in Landscape. So it's important that you make sure, before you design all your layouts, that you choose Portrait or Landscape, so you can design around those sizes. Back in Browse mode. If you want to see what something is going to look like when you print it, you'll press the Preview button. Hitting this button enters you into Preview mode, which can also be achieved by going under the View menu.
When you switch to Preview mode, you see the layout as it appears on the printed page. You cannot enter or edit information in fields while in Preview mode, nor can you click any of the buttons that you have onscreen, but it's just solely here to preview what your printed document will look like. Also in Preview mode, you'll notice, in the upper left-hand corner, that where we normally have Record navigation or Layout navigation or Found Set navigation, we now have navigation between the number of pages that will print based on the current Found Set that you've chosen. It's important to remember that anytime you invoke a Print, a Save as Excel, or Save as PDF from within Preview mode or Browse mode, FileMaker will always print the records in your current Found Set.
So this way Preview mode gives you an idea how many printed pages it will take to print your Found Set. Variable information supplied by FileMaker Pro, such as page numbers or the current date like we use here, may not be available in Browse mode, but will definitely be available in Preview mode. In the case of current date, it's available in both. You can also use Preview mode to see things like Mailing Labels, which have multiple columns. Of course, in Browse mode they will only show one record, but in Preview mode you'll see all the columns wrapped appropriately.
When you print a layout, which you can do in many different ways, you can either hit the Print button that's only in the Status toolbar when you're in Preview mode, or you can go under the File menu and choose Print, or you can use the Quick Key option, which on Mac is Command+P and on Windows is Ctrl+P. Once selected, you'll see the Print dialog box appear. Keep in mind that the Print dialog box is going to look different on every computer that has a different print driver installed. Some of the features are going to be the same, but it will be organized in a little bit different fashion.
Besides just selecting the printer you want to use to print, you can also choose the copies and number of pages for your document. And then you'll also notice that you'll have a FileMaker Pro option. It will be located in various different places, depending on your print driver, but once selected, it will allow you to choose your starting page and then give you three important printing options. You can choose from the Records being browsed, which means your current Found Set, or you can choose Current record, which means that no matter how many records you have in your Found Set, it's only going to print the active record, or you can just choose a Blank version of the current layout that you're on - no records, but just the fields.
And a lot of times this might be useful if you have a form or something like that that you want to print and allow people to fill out by hand, for example. On both Mac and Windows, you can choose from a variety of other settings common to all application Print dialogs, as you can see some of those here. There are very few areas where FileMaker performs differently in Mac or Windows, but print setups are one of them. For example, if you choose the Page Setup icon in the toolbar, which is also available under the File menu, you'll see the Page Setup dialog appear.
Now I am working on a Macintosh computer right now, so the dialog is actually called Page Setup; however on Windows, it's called the Print Setup. Inside of a Mac and the Page Setup dialog, you have the ability to choose the scale of the document you'll print; that is, for example, 100%, 75, 50, that type of thing. But on Windows, only some, but not all of the print drivers will have the ability to scale the document you want to print. FileMaker Pro initially uses the Windows default Printer and Paper options as its default, but you can specify a different default Printer and Paper options when you print in FileMaker Pro.
The default Printer that you choose in FileMaker Pro is an application setting. So all files that you print in FileMaker will print to this printer, unless you choose a different one. The Paper and Orientation options that you choose in the Windows Print Setup are going to be file-specific settings; therefore, when you need to, you can choose different Paper and Orientation options for each different FileMaker Pro database. However, in the case of the Page Setup dialog on a Mac, FileMaker Pro prints to the Mac OS default printer, unless you specify a different printer when you print.
For the most part, printing in FileMaker Pro is similar to printing in any other application; however, getting familiar with some of the unique printing tools and options in FileMaker Pro can help you take all the guesswork out of the way your layouts will look when they print.
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