Create a List View - File Maker

Now we’ll create a simple list view for Company.fp5. A list view (also called a columnar report if you intend to print out the list you are creating), is essentially a long list of records on one screen that you can scroll through. Generally, you have one row of fields lined up next to each other, with the field labels positioned in a header above each field, and a footer layout part that contains, in the case of a printout, the page number or date.

In the case of a navigational list view (a list that is not meant to print out) you usually put buttons in the header or footer to add instant functionality to the view. Navigational list views also generally have a button on each row or line in the list view so that you can quickly navigate from a line in the list view to the onerecord- per-screen view of a detail view.

To create your first list view:

  1. Enter Layout mode and create a new layout.
  2. When the Create a Layout/Report screen comes up, name your new layout “List View” and select “Columnar list/report” in the layout type list. Go ahead and check the “Include in layout” pop-up menu box for this and all future layouts because you want to be able to easily access all of your layouts in Browse, Find, and Preview modes while you are learning how to create and build layouts. Then click Next. You will see the following screen:
  3. New Layout report

  4. As you can see here, this wizard allows you to create either simple lists or reports that contain grouped and summarized data for complicated reports. For this layout, because it is a “data browsing” list view, select the “Columnar List/Report” radio button. If you like, check the “Constrain to page width” box if you want the fields to stretch only as wide as the currently defined page width. If you don’t check this box, FileMaker will align the fields, left to right, when it creates the layout, no matter how long the list of fields you choose to add to a layout, and even if it takes two feet to include every field. Click Next.
  5. Now you will see the same Specify Fields dialog that you saw when adding fields to the detail view. For this simple list view, simply move the following fields, in this order from top to bottom, to the right-hand list of layout fields:
  6. CompanyName, Address1, City, State, and Zip. Click Next.
  7. The next dialog that comes up is the Sort Records dialog. This dialog is really only important when building columnar reports, especially summary reports, so you won’t specify any sorting for this screen list view. Because you’re not adding a sort order, just click Next. (If you did want to sort a list view by certain fields, you would specify that here by clicking a field in the left-hand list, selecting the sort order for that field up or down, alphabetically, or in a custom-defined manner and then moving it over to the righthand Sort order list.)
  8. You are asked to select a theme. Select the Soft Gray Screen theme and click Next. You are presented with this dialog:
  9. New Layout report

    This is the Header and Footer Information dialog where you tell FileMaker to display different bits of text like a page number, date, or report title in the header or footer of the list view. You can specify particular bits of text to appear at the top left, center, and right (in the header) and bottom left, center and right (in the footer) of any list view. You can display a page number, today’s date, the name of the current layout, a small or large custom string of text, or a graphic image such as a logo.

  10. For your list view, select only “Large custom text” for the “Top center” position (use the text of Company List) and nothing else. You don’t need a page number to show up because this list view is meant only to be viewed on screen, not printed. (You could have a list view that serves both purposes as long as you make wise color choices.) Click Next.
  11. Create-a-List-View

  12. This dialog allows you to create a script for this layout. This allows you to navigate to the layout by clicking a button elsewhere in the database to run the script. Because we’ll build our scripts manually later on, we won’t specify a script for this layout now. Just click Next.
  13. New Layout report

  14. This last dialog tells you that you are finished specifying our new layout. It lets you start off with the new layout in Layout or in Preview mode. For our purposes, select “View the report in Layout mode” and click Finish.
  15. You should now have a layout that looks something like this:
  16. Create a List View

Note that the field labels appear across the top of the layout in the header, and the fields appear side by side. The Company List title appears at the top.

Now if you switch into Browse mode, you’ll see all the records in your database in one long list. You can change or add data in the fields or add records here in the list view, or scroll through the list using the arrows on the side of the database window. (The header layout always appears at the top of the layout no matter how much you scroll. This is a good thing, because you can put buttons or instructions in the header, preventing a user from ending up in no man’s land.)

List View Tips
In a list view, you can always tell which record you are on by looking for a thin, vertical black bar to the left of the body layout of the selected record. You’ll see such a bar in the following list view next to the words “John’s Gas.”

List View Tips

When building list views:

  • Usually it’s a good idea to make your screen list views only as wide as your monitor, at your preferred resolution. This way, a user will only have to scroll up and down to browse records, without having to scroll left to right to see more data for a given record. (If fields hang off the view to the right, users may not know to scroll over there to look.)
  • Don’t try to put too many fields on a list view. It’s usually best to put four or five of the most important fields for a given database on the list view, unless you’re using a high screen resolution, in which case you could try using more fields. If you set up your navigation properly by defining each line on a list view as a button, for example a user can always get much more detail on a given record by clicking the record in the list view and switching to the Detail View layout.
  • It usually isn’t a good idea to have more than one row of fields in the body of a list view, especially for a screen list view. This can make a list view very hard to read and makes it difficult to tell where one record stops and another begins.

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