Join Cris Ippolite for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the Layout Assistant to create labels and envelopes, part of FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training.
In a previous movie we looked at using the Layout Assistant to create a new List View. You can also use the Layout Assistant to quickly create specialized layouts, like mailing labels or envelopes. FileMaker has labels and envelope sizes built right into the Assistant to make creating layouts very easy. In this movie, we will create customer mailing labels and customer mailing envelopes using the Layout Assistant. So first we are going to start by going to our Customers table and creating a new customer labels layout. In order to do this, we will have to first enter Layout mode, because that's the first step in creating a new layout.
Then we will invoke the new Layout Assistant, in this case by hitting the button in the Status toolbar. And then of course we go through our decisions that we need to make. What's the context of this layout? Since it's going to be customer mailing labels, we will keep it on Customers. Then we need to come up with a name, and we will call it Customer Mailing Labels, and choose to Include it in our layouts. Now we have to choose the layout type. If you notice all the way down on the bottom, we have an option for Labels.
There are actually two Labels in here. Vertical labels is for Japanese format only. So we are going to check Labels, and we see in the preview that this gives us mailing label type layouts. We are going to hit Next, and you will notice that the next view here, we can do one of two different things. We can use custom measurements to determine the total number of columns of labels across, as well as the width and height in inches. We can also manipulate our page margins, if need be. But the most common thing to do is use the label measurement for one of the templates that's stored within FileMaker.
You will notice that FileMaker stores layout default sizes for almost every single Avery label format available. You will see also that you've got options for DYMO labels, as well. DYMO and Avery are some of the leading producers of labels that you can buy at office supply stores. We will keep it on Avery 5160, which is one of the more popular label layout options. Hit Next, and now we are going to choose the fields that we want to have appear inside each label. But this is a little bit different than other layouts that we will create using this Layout Assistant, because when we choose the fields, they're going to appear inside this Label Contents box, which we can manipulate. I will show you.
First, let's pick the fields that we want to have appear. Let's say, first CompanyName, and we will hit Add Field. Now, you will notice something kind of peculiar here. We've got the double brackets on each side of the name. This indicates that this is what's called a merge field. So this entire text area is just going to be filled with merge fields, which is kind of cool, because it allows us to format them as text and also to put different text characters in between the different values. For example, here, we are going to actually hit the Return character on our keyboard to start another line, and then we are going to pick AddressStreet, and we are going to hit Return again.
Then we will choose AddressCity, but this time we will put a comma after it and a space, followed by AddressState, a space and then AddressZip. So in this case what we are doing is we are treating these fields just like they are placeholders, but in text format, allowing us to put spaces, return characters, add commas, and when we get into Layout mode, we can even add text formatting to them. So now we are going to hit Next. And now that we're finished, we can look at this in Preview mode or in Layout mode. Let's go into Layout mode first.
We will hit Finish. Now, you will notice that this is a unique type of layout, because its grayed out the two columns to the right. We've chosen Avery 5160 labels, which is three columns, three vertical columns, and FileMaker only allows us to manipulate the furthest left column, because of course whatever we put in that column is going to show up in the others as well, it just wraps around vertically from column to column. You'll see it's one big textbox and when we double-click on it, we can use our cursor, which is now using the Layout Text tool, to go up and change the format.
For example, we can say Style > Bold for the CompanyName and click outside of that. Now, you will see in the case of the merge field, it looks like some of these fields are bleeding off the side into the other column, but one of the things about merge fields is that they must occupy enough space on the layout to fit the whole name of the field, but when the data is placed in Preview mode, it won't necessarily take up that much space. So let's preview these in Browse mode by going to View > Browse mode and hitting Save. You will see that we've got only one record, and that's because we have to make sure that we are viewing these as a List.
So we will change that to view as List. We see that we've got various different records. Now when we go into Preview mode, by hitting this button here or by going under View to Preview, this will show us what it looks like when we print. So now it looks like Standard labels. Now if we feed Avery 5160 label forms into our printer and print these, they will print in perfect size into these three-column-across label layouts. Similarly, we can quickly create Envelope layouts for customers, as well.
Any new layout starts in Layout mode. So let's go View > Layout. Hit the New Layout/Report button, keep it in Customers, but call it Customer envelopes. Scroll all the way down to Envelope, hit Next, and we will do the same thing here. CompanyName, Return, Street, Return, City, comma, space, State, space, same thing we did in the last example.
We hit Next, we look at it in Layout mode, and you see, again, it's just text, but it's put into a special area into the Layout, because we've chosen envelopes. Now when we go into Browse mode, we can see that we are viewing them as forms, because it's just one record per page; thus only printing one address on every given layout. 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 specialized layouts that use columns or specific templates for envelopes or Labels.
- 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.