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When you're looking at data in a layout inside of FileMaker, the layout that you are looking at is always going to be based on one table inside of your FileMaker database. So, that means that most of the data that you're seeing on the screen lives inside that table. A lot of times this is referred to as the context of the layout. We discussed this in the Relationship chapter. We'll also talk more about it later on in the title, but one of the things we'll discuss is how you can place related fields on a layout. Given that assumption, if you look at the Invoice List Layout in Layout mode, you see that we've got a field for Contact First.
Although this layout is based on the Invoice Table, Contact First is a field that comes from the Customers table. We will talk more about related fields in the Using Relationships chapter, but what I want to demonstrate here is that when we have fields from two different tables on a layout, when it comes to sorting, we can pick fields from either the Current Layout, the Current Table, but also Related Tables, in order to create our Sort Order. So, let's go back into Browse mode and then go into Sort. You'll see that I already have a sort value in the Sort Order, but I'm going to click on that and Clear it.
And where I got that from was in one of two places. Since I have the related field on the layout, I can choose Current Layout, and then you'll see, towards the bottom, I have a related field in my list, and that's indicated by a table name:: and then the name of the field. That's how you can tell a related field from a native field. So, I can simply double-click on this or click it and hit Move and sort by that value. But a related field doesn't need to be on the layout in order to be able to sort by it. So I could have all these invoices here, and if I didn't have a customer first name or a customer company name on the layout, I could have easily just clicked on this dropdown and gone to the Customer Table and picked from any one of these related values.
The field does not need to be on the layout to be part of the Sort Order, and that's true for non-related fields, as well. But now let's go ahead and hit Sort. We'll see now that all of our invoices are sorted by a related Customer First Name field. So that data doesn't even live inside of the invoice records, but we're able to use it as a Sort Order. So what we are learning here is that you can sort by any field, whether it's part of your layout or whether it's just part of the FileMaker file when you're setting up your sort criteria.
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