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Reviewing Field/Control styles

From: FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training

Video: Reviewing Field/Control styles

FileMaker Pro provides many tools in Layout mode for configuring the behavior of fields that make data entry easier and more efficient. Among these is something called the Field/Control Style, which enables you to define a value list for data entry and then format a field to display the value list as either a pop-up, Drop-down list, series of check boxes or radio buttons. And there are two primary benefits of formatting fields in this way. First, it allows for faster data entry by users, and second, it leads to greater accuracy.

Reviewing Field/Control styles

FileMaker Pro provides many tools in Layout mode for configuring the behavior of fields that make data entry easier and more efficient. Among these is something called the Field/Control Style, which enables you to define a value list for data entry and then format a field to display the value list as either a pop-up, Drop-down list, series of check boxes or radio buttons. And there are two primary benefits of formatting fields in this way. First, it allows for faster data entry by users, and second, it leads to greater accuracy.

Anytime users manually enter data into a field, you run the risk of misspelling or inconsistent entry. Providing a list of values to choose from goes a long way towards ensuring consistent data entry. Users are generally accustomed to working with data entry devices such as check boxes and Drop-down lists from all the other applications and Web sites that they use. In this movie we'll be discussing how to set the Control Style for a field. Typically you'll apply a Control Style to a field that you already have added to a layout. Either way, you have to do so in Layout mode.

So let's go into View > Layout mode, in our Invoice Detail Layout in our exercise file. To add a Field/Control Style, you'll actually have to select the field on the layout. It's also possible to add a Field Control while adding the field to the layout by using the Field/Control tool in the Status toolbar. This will allow you to add a field and apply this Field/Control at the same time. However, most likely you'll be adding a field control to an existing field in the layout, and in order to do so, you need to first invoke the Inspector window.

Under the Inspector window, you can choose the Data tab. So let's choose the InvoiceDate field. Once we have the InvoiceDate field chosen, we're going to go under the Field section, which I have currently collapsed, but if I click on it, I open it up. Now we see that we've got the Invoices:: InvoiceDate field chosen, and I can also hit the Edit button to choose a different field, if I'd like to. But below the field that's chosen, you see there's a Control Style.

There are several different Control Styles you can choose from, but by default, Edit box is chosen for any new field placed on a layout. Edit box simply means a field as it would normally look, allowing users to click inside the field and perform edits. You'll see there are other options available as well, for example, Drop-down list. This style allows the user to select an item from a value list, or to manually enter a value. So it gives them an option to either choose or enter in their own custom value. It's a good option when there are a large number of values to choose from; then the user may use the arrow keys to type ahead or jump to the particular sections of the list.

This list also includes a handy vertical scroll bar when used, and then users can Shift+Click to see multiple values from the Drop-down list. You also have a Pop-up menu which also is like a Drop-down list of sorts, but in this case a Pop-up menu is presented that requires a user to make a selection from the menu, and they cannot overwrite it by clicking outside the field and then typing in their own custom value. This menu will take up as much screen as it needs, so Pop-up menus can be a bit awkward with larger lists. But if you want to make sure that a user picks only from your list, you might want to use a Pop-up menu instead of a Drop-down list.

Checkboxes are a style that presents a value list as a set of check boxes that a user can toggle on or off. The selected items are then stored as a return delimited list in your database in the order that the items were selected. This is a good option when you want to allow your users to select multiple options in the same field. Radio buttons are similar to Checkboxes, except that they are mutually exclusive. Clicking on one Radio button causes the previously selected radio button to be deselected; therefore, only one value is normally selected at a time.

This is something you'd use, for example, if you wanted to have a value list that's said Yes or No. You don't want the user to check both, which they could if there was a check box, but instead you'd apply a radio button. And the final one is what we're going to use on the InvoiceDate. It's called the Drop-down calendar. This Control style allows users to enter a date into a field using a small Drop-down calendar, similar to the ones that you might see online. This option, however, does not require a value list to be created. So let's apply this one under our InvoiceDate field. Now that we have that's selected, let's go into Browse mode.

Hit Save for our changes. And now let's click into our InvoiceDate field. Now you see the Drop-down calendar appear, and you'll notice that the Drop-down calendar will navigate to the date, if there already is a value in the field, and if there is no value in the field then it will navigate to the current date. But if we go back into Layout mode, you'll notice when we select this field that we've got some options when we choose the Drop-down calendar. For example, we can say Include icon to show and hide calendar. Let's see how that changes the behavior when we go into Browse mode.

Now when we click into the field, the Drop-down calendar doesn't pop-up, or if you tab into the field or click into it, you get the same behavior. But if you click on the icon, it will appear. So you might want to use this when your users might only need to use the calendar in some cases, and you have it just there as an option for them. You can turn off the icon if you want every user to pick from a Drop-down calendar. This is just one example of how each one of the Control styles may have different types of functionality for you to choose from, depending of course on the type of data that will be entered in the field.

In the upcoming series of movies, we're going to create value lists and then use all the other Field/Control styles to apply those lists to a field. Providing a list of Control Styles and a list of values to choose from, in any of these options, will go a long way towards ensuring consistent data entry by your users.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training
FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training

94 video lessons · 14890 viewers

Cris Ippolite
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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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