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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.
We've talked about the different types of layouts that you traditionally create inside of FileMaker databases, one of which is a Form layout, which is called the Detail View, which displays all the fields possible onscreen at a time. But there's another field type that's called a List View. List View is not only a way to view your layouts and records, but it's also a way that you can create a layout in order to show the maximum amount of records onscreen at a given time. Perhaps you want to create one of these List Views, or maybe you just want to display the same data with a different look or functionality, but in either case, you'll need to create a new layout.
So, let's say that we want to create a List View for each one of the primary tables in our database. We'll begin by first going into Layout mode. There are various different ways you can enter Layout mode. You can go under the View menu and choose Layout mode, or use the shortcut key, which is Command+L on Mac, or Ctrl+L on Windows. In either case, this will get you to Layout mode. Once you're in Layout mode, you can go under the Layouts menu and choose New Layout/Report. You can use your quick keys for Ctrl+N or Command+N, or hit the New Layout/Report button.
This pops up the New Layout/Report dialog window, which is very useful for creating various different types of layouts. You'll see that on this screen, you've got a couple of different decisions to make. The first one is the most important. When you're creating a layout, the first and most important thing that you need to specify is what's called the context of the layout. This is the term for what table the layout will be based on. Every layout in your FileMaker database has to be based on one of the tables in your database. So, for example, what we're trying to do here is to create a List View for each of the primary tables.
Since we already have a Form, or Detail View for customers, we're going to first start off by creating a List View for customers. So, that means that this layout will need to be based on the table, Customers. So, this is the first time we're seeing in our FileMaker database that we're creating two layouts based on the same table. Again, you can create an unlimited amount of layouts in your database, and an unlimited amount based on any given table. So, in this case, we'll choose Customers, and the next decision we're going to make is what we're going to name the layout. Here, we'll call this layout Customer List, to make it obvious to our users.
Then we're going to choose whether or not this layout will appear in the Layout dropdown list in Browse mode. All layouts will appear in the Layout dropdown list in Layout mode, so that you can access them and manipulate them accordingly, but only some of them will appear in Browse mode, and those are the ones where you have this option checked. We want all of our users to be able to use the Customer List, so we'll leave this option selected. Next, we need to select a layout type. We've got various different layout types to choose from. We've got the Standard form, which allows us to create a Form View or a Detail View layout.
We've got Table View, which allows us to create a spreadsheet type view with multiple records onscreen at a time. Similarly, a List View will also give us multiple records onscreen at a time, but it won't appear as though it's a spreadsheet. We've also got Reports, Blank layouts, Labels, and Envelopes, all of which we'll use in upcoming movies. In this case, we're going to choose List view, since we're creating a Customer List view. We see, as we choose each one of them, our preview option changes on the right. This gives us a little bit of an idea of what our layout is going to look like when we're finished. The other option when you choose List view is whether or not you want to constrain the columns to a page width.
Here, you would have the print driver cutoff area on your layout, and if you choose to constrain, it's going to wrap your List view around and give you multiple rows. In the majority of the cases when you create a List view, you're only going to want to have one row of information. This way, you can maximize the amount of data that you can fit onscreen for either printing off various different records, or just viewing as many onscreen at a time as you can. So, we're not going to choose Constrain columns to page width. We're just going to make sure that we only put as many columns that will fit on one printed layout.
Hitting the Next button allows us to specify the fields that we want to include in our List view. Now, as I mentioned before, it's pretty traditional to create a List view for every primary table that you have in your database. This will be helpful when you're doing things like searching, or printing multiple records, but the key on a List view is that it's only going to have a subset of the fields. It will have enough fields for you to identify whether this is the record you're looking for. Then when you select that record, you can then navigate over to a Form view to be able see all of the fields available. So, when you're selecting fields for your List view, choose fields that will help you identify this record over other records in the found set.
In this case, we'll pick things like AddressCity, and if I select it and hit the Move button, you see it show up in our Fields shown on layout/report. You can also just double-click on a field to easily get it over to the other side. So, we'll click State, Name, or choose NameFirst, and hold down the Shift key in NameLast, and hit Move, and you see both of them go over at the same time, and Title, and let's just say the last one we pick is AddressEmail. Just like other windows that you've seen that are similar, you can choose one of these items, and then grab the handles and move it to the top of the list.
This will be the order in which the fields appear as columns from left to right. Once we've got all the fields, and in the order that we want, we can hit the Next button. Next, you'll see the option for choosing the record that you want to sort by. When you're in List view, you're going to see your records sorted in a certain way, and this is where you choose the field that you want to sort them by. Let's say, in this case, we'll pick CompanyName, and hit Move. Also, while we have the fields sorted, we want to choose whether or not we're going to see them displayed in ascending or descending order.
We'll talk more about sorting options in the chapter on sorting. For now, we'll hit Next, and you see we move on to select the theme. FileMaker ships with many pre-designed themes, but the majority of the time you can use FileMaker's Layout tools to design the layout just the way you like. So, you'll just end up choosing Default or the Standard. In this case, they're both the same, but if I've made changes to one of my existing layouts, it's going to be saved as a default. That way, I can apply that same layout style to any new layouts I create.
For now, we'll just choose Standard, and hit Next. On the next screen, you see we've got something called Header and Footer Information. This allows us to choose different pieces of static data that could appear in our header, which is the part at the top of the screen, or in our Footer, which is a layout part on the bottom. We'll choose Page Number in the bottom right-hand corner, and hit Next. The final option allows us to choose whether we want a script made. We haven't covered script yet, so we'll skip this until a later chapter.
When you're done, you can choose whether or not you're going to view your layout in Browse mode, so that you can see the data, or in Layout mode, so you can make further changes. Let's go into Layout mode, and hit Finish. Now you see that I've got a new layout. The main thing that you'll notice is that the part that's called the body, which is where all the fields exist, is very short, compared to our Customer layout, where the body is much taller. You see in the Customer List, it's very short. This is what allows many records to appear on one layout at a given time.
When we look at this in Browse mode, we can now see that we get multiple different records onscreen at a given time, making it easier for us to view all of the different records in either a Found Set or a printable layout. The other thing that you'll notice is the reason that we do see multiple records onscreen is not only because the body part is so much shorter, but also because we've chosen View As a list. If we didn't have View As a list, we would just see one record onscreen at a time with a very short body. We'll make sure that any List view that we create still has List view associated with it.
In the next exercise file, you'll see that I will have created Product list and Invoice list layouts. You can do the same thing as additional practice, if you like. Because layouts are the primary way that your users will interact with your data, the Layout Assistant is a great way to quickly create new layouts for your system.
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