Join Cris Ippolite for an in-depth discussion in this video Touring the interface, part of FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training.
Before we dive into building our database, I am going to first take a moment and give you a brief tour of the FileMaker Pro interface. In addition, I'd like to introduce you to these things that are called FileMaker modes. FileMaker has four modes, and in each of the four modes there are different interfaces that you're going to be working with. When you first open up FileMaker Pro, you're automatically put into what's called Browse mode. You can see that here underneath the View menu, and we've got Browse selected. Browse is the mode that's going to allow you to view your data and edit data, meaning that you can click into different fields, add new records, or edit existing record, or just browse them in a read-only fashion.
In Browse mode, there are a couple of components of your interfaces that you're going to want to be familiar with. Most of the interface that changes from mode to mode can be found in what's called the Status toolbar, which is this gray area across the top of the screen. You'll see on the far left side of this Status toolbar, you've got a couple of tools that allow you to navigate through the multiple records inside your database. Here we've got 1 record in our database, but if we had more records, you see that we can navigate between them using this book icon: Left goes to the previous record, right goes to the next record and so on.
We can even scrub through the entire set of records using the slider bar or just click into the field, and type the exact record number that we want to find by entering in the number of the record. We'll talk about this pie chart area and the difference between Found records and the amount of records in your database when we talk about working with Found sets later in the title. But also on the Status toolbar, you'll see that you've got some default buttons. When you first purchase FileMaker Pro and open up your first FileMaker database, you're going to see these buttons here onscreen. Show All is a button that will allow us to remove a Found set.
Again, we'll talk more about that when we talk about Finds. But we've got the ability to create a new record by simply hitting the New Record button, or to delete an existing Record, and all these options can also be found under the Records menu. Additionally, we can enter a different mode, Find mode, which we'll look at in a second, or sort the records that we have in Browse mode by clicking on the Sort button. You'll also see that you've got the Quick Find fields, which we'll talk about more when we get to the Quick Find movie. If you don't want to have any of these things in your Status toolbar, or if you want to change the things that you have in you Status toolbar, you can go to the View menu and choose Customize Status toolbar.
This pops up onscreen all the different things that you can add to the Status toolbar. Here you see all the different buttons that you currently have in your toolbar, but you also see that your toolbar has become active. So, for example, I could grab one of these buttons and drag it off to the side and release it, and if you're on Mac, you see that Mac effect of the proof effect, and on Windows, it just simply disappears. You can click on an icon, drag it from this area and drop it onto your toolbar to add more functionality. You can add as many of these as you would like, and in addition, you can choose separators, as you see here, or spaces, as you see here, to be able to space out the buttons and give it a little more aesthetic look.
In addition, you can choose to show either Icons Only or Text Only to give yourself a little bit more room. So as you get more familiar with some of these features, you might want to place them in the Status area of your file. This is where you can actually customize each one of them. Keep in mind though that every user will have their own Status toolbar. So as a developer, if you set your Status toolbar in your database and then plan to distribute this database, your user is going to see the buttons that they've set up in their Status toolbar on their copy of FileMaker Pro.
So you don't want to necessarily rely on having those buttons there in a distributed FileMaker database. You can also either hide or unhide the Status toolbar, if you'd like, by going down to this area. And in the very bottom left-hand corner of your screen, you'll notice this icon that, when we click on it, it will hide the Status toolbar completely. So it's optional; you don't necessarily have to have this as part of your FileMaker database. But of course your users could just click on it and reveal it in their own copy of FileMaker if they would like to. There are some things in the scripts that allow you to hide and lock that when you open up a database, if that's something that you desire to do. You'll notice that the second tier of the Status toolbar in Browse mode is what's called the Layout bar.
That's this long gray area here just below the Status toolbar. On the far left, it allows you to choose from the different layouts that you've got inside your FileMaker database, or a way that your users can navigate around the database itself, and also the different Views. In Browse mode, you can view your records either as a Form View, a List View or a Table View. Here we are looking at Form View, which is customarily used to look at one record at a time. So for things like detail views or views that have more information onscreen, you might want to just have it be a Form View that your users are looking at; however, if you want to fit multiple records onscreen at a time, like in the Record List, you'll see that that's what's called a List View.
This has a smaller size of a record and therefore allows us to not only view multiple records onscreen at a time, but print multiple records onscreen at a time, as well. In FileMaker Pro, if you're still used to working with data in a spreadsheet, you can click the Table View option, which will turn your FileMaker Pro layout into a spreadsheet-looking view, which allows you to sort by different column headers and move different fields around onscreen. Back into the Record Detail and in Form View, you see that we've got other options here, as well.
Clicking on these two double As will show and hide what's called the Formatting Bar. So you see you've got even a third bar. Just like in other applications, a text Formatting Bar allows you to choose different fonts, sizes, and some of the different formats that you can apply, as well as some of the alignment. You can toggle between showing and hiding that by either clicking the Aa button or not. Finally, you have two buttons that allow you to switch to different modes. The next mode that we are going to look at is what's called Layout mode. You could navigate to Layout mode by going under the View menu and choosing Layout, but you can just hit this button here in your Layout toolbar called Edit layout.
This takes you into a mode that looks just like your Browse mode, but this is the mode where you are going to create your layouts and make modifications to the layouts. You'll notice here in the top of the screen that your Status toolbar has changed, as well. In this case, instead of navigating from record to record throughout your database, you're navigating from layout to layout. So you see all the different layouts that are configured inside your file. You'll notice here in the Status toolbar, in Layout mode, that you've got all these different layout tools. We'll be working with those in the various layout chapters later in this title.
But also in Layout mode, you see you've got some similar things like being able to navigate to the different layouts and invoking your Formatting toolbar, a lot of the same things that you saw inside the Browse mode. The next mode that I want to introduce you to, under the View menu, is Find mode. Find mode allows you to enter in different search criteria, allowing you to create something called a Found set, which are different subsets of data that have been stored inside your database. Your Found set will match whatever criteria your users are entering into these fields. We'll be working a lot with Found sets and search criteria in chapters involving Finds.
So as a result of changing into Find mode, you see that our Status toolbar buttons have changed again. In this case we are navigating through something called a Request, of which you can have many inside of each Find. You see then that the buttons change from New Record to New Request, and also the ability to Perform a Find or Cancel a Find. The last mode to review is Preview mode. This view is meant solely for seeing what your layouts are going to look like when they're either printed as a hard copy or saved as a PDF. This way you can kind of line up your margins and even use this as a way to design your layouts, if they are going to be something that users are going to print.
From this view, you see that you have an option to Save as Excel or Save as a PDF. But you can also print directly from Preview mode or access the Page Setup dialog, allowing you to choose different print drivers or paper settings. So now that we're familiar with what everything is called onscreen and where we can find them, it's time to start using some of these tools to create our own FileMaker database.
- Creating databases from templates
- Creating fields in spreadsheet format
- Creating tables and relationships
- Defining key fields
- Adding validation and auto-enter values to fields
- Managing records, including duplicating, locking, and deleting records
- Creating and managing layouts
- Formatting layout objects
- Finding and sorting data
- Creating calculation fields
- Building reports
- Printing and saving as PDF or Excel
- Writing and triggering scripts
- Using relationships throughout a database
Skill Level Beginner
Q: In the Chapter 16 tutorial, “Using Text Functions,” the instructor discusses how to calculate the First Name and Last Name from the Full Name. However, the method does not account for names ending with “Jr.” or “Sr.” or “III,” etc. How can I account for added suffixes in names?
A: For cases like this, you can create a third "Suffix" field. Then change the FullName calculation to:
NameFirst&" "&NameLast&" "&Suffix
This way, nothing will appear if the Suffix has no value, but if it does have a value the suffix will appear.
Q: What information is actually on the “Invoice Line Item” table in the examples, and how does it actually connect to the tables that it comes from?
A: The information in each line item is native to the "Invoice Line Item" table. The fields are defined in that table and each record represents "A Product appearing on an Invoice."
Each time a product is used on an invoice, a record in the line item table is created. Many of the fields, for example "Quantity," are native to that table because those values only exists when a Product is used in an Invoice, and not as attributes of a Product itself.