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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.
Sometimes when you place a field on a FileMaker layout, it's really just there for display, rather than to allow users to edit the data within the field. A good example of this would be our primary key for any given record in your database. The primary key that we have here, the Customer ID, is not a field that you want users modifying. As a matter of fact, if they do modify it, it could break any relationships that you've got set up between the customer table and any other child table. But as you see here, when I place this field on the screen, by default, it does allow entry into the field. This can be dangerous, since each record should have its own unique value and users should never change them.
If you would like to control the way that the users interact with the data in your field, or whether or not you want to allow them to do so at all, you can do this through something that's called Field Behaviors. Of course, this all takes place in Layout mode, so let's go to Layout mode, into the View menu. And if we select our field, you'll notice under the Data tab of the Inspector - if you don't have the Inspector open, you can do Ctrl+I on Windows or Command+I on Mac, or hit this little I button here - you'll notice that there's a tab called Data, and in one of those sections in the Data tab is something called Behavior.
By default, any field that you place in your layout will allow entry in Browse mode and Find mode. And what's interesting is that you can choose either one of the two modes. So simply put, you can choose whether or not you want your users to be able to click on this field when you're looking at it in Browse, which will allow editing, or allow them to enter the field in Find mode, which means that you can enter a Find criteria in the field. Now, the reason that they are separate is because entering data into a field in Find mode won't actually modify the original field's data, since there is no field chosen when you're in Find mode. So if you want to be able to search by a Customer ID but not allow someone to change one, then in that case what you would want to do is take the check mark off of the box next to Browse mode, but leave the one next to Find mode.
Now, if we go into Browse mode and Save our changes, you'll see that we cannot click into that field on any of the records in our database; however, if we go into Find mode, you see that we can click right into that field, which allows us to enter criteria when we're doing a search. We'll cover more information on Find mode in an upcoming chapter. There's also a couple of other things you can control under the Field Behaviors dialog. Let me go back into Layout mode. You'll see that you can apply Visual Spellchecking to a field.
So, for example, if you have your Notes field selected, you can choose whether or not to apply the Visual Spellchecking, which means as you type you can see a red line underneath it, whenever there's a word that does not match the spelling inside of your computer's dictionary. By default, it's left unchecked, so it's really up to you on whether or not you want to use that functionality. And you'll also notice that there's a Go to next object. We're going to cover something that's called the Tab Order in a later movie, but basically as you're tabbing, you will go from one field to the next, and that's traditionally, by default, done with a Tab key; however, you can change that behavior on any given field.
So, for example, in order to be able to tab out of the CompanyName field, I could change it to the Return character, or Enter. One thing you should keep in mind, however, is that pressing the Enter key will commit changes in a field, so if you turn this Enter key on, it's not going to commit the changes in the field, but instead skip on to the next field that's not yet committed in the record. So you've got this concept of how you save something to FileMaker. If your users are used to just hitting the Enter key, which works on any other field by default in the system, then changing this around might be a little bit awkward. Although sometimes users that are used to working on different platforms might be used to hitting the Return key, which is a Return and Enter key on some keyboards, in order to be able to move on to the next field.
So here you can allow Tab and Enter to move people on to the next field, because otherwise in FileMaker by default, if they hit Return, they are just going to add a Return character or an extra row of spaces inside of whatever field they are in. So I will be making these same types of changes on other layouts, and you will see these in upcoming Exercise Files. And if you want some extra practice, you can go into this file, the 10_04 file, and make these changes in other layouts yourself. Many fields in your FileMaker layouts will have their own independent usage roles, and working with the Field Behavior dialog will allow you to control these, one by one.
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