Formatting Text Data - File Maker

Now let’s turn to formatting data. Formatting data refers to changing fonts, applying styles (like bold and italic), and inserting tab stops and such into fields in a database to make the data look a particular way. The formatting tools in FileMaker are similar to the formatting tools in many other applications that you’re probably already familiar with.

Text Formats
Go to the Notes field of one the records you’ve created above. Highlight a portion of its text with your mouse then select Text from the Format menu. You’ll see a dialog like this:

Text Formats

You can select from many formatting options including fonts, point size, and color. The options in the Style check boxes should be clear to you for the most part (strikeout, underlining, small caps), but if not check the preview in the Sample area showing how the selected text will appear. Formats are applied to the text when you leave this dialog.

Paragraph Formats
Now click Paragraph to bring up this text formatting dialog:

Paragraph Formats

This dialog allows you to set paragraph options for selected text, including its alignment, indentation, and line spacing. The alignment choices are left (right edge is ragged), right (left edge is ragged), center (both edges are ragged but the text is centered in the field), or justified (neither edge is ragged and the text contains forced irregular spacing between words to make the left and right edges flush to the margins). The Indent options allow you to specify how far the left, right, and first lines of the selected text will be indented from the margins.

Line Spacing allows you to set the height (the amount of space a line of text takes up from top to bottom regardless of its font or point size) and line spacing above and below each line in the currently selected text. Set your specifications by number of lines or by units of measure.

Setting Tabs
Now press the Tabs button and you’ll see this:

Setting Tabs

To add a tab stop, first select its type (left, right, or center aligned). To align a tab on a special character such as a period, select the “Align on” option and enter the character to align on. This option is useful when you want to align something like a list of dollar amounts on their decimal point like this:

$123.45
$112323.456
$44.1
$12.50

Once you’ve selected the tab stop type, you enter the position in your current unit of measure. Finally, you can specify a fill character, in the Fill Character box. You often see fill characters used between tab stops on documents like restaurant menus where a series of characters, usually periods, runs between the name of the item and its price, with the price aligned to the right on the decimal point, like so:

Rusty’s Famous Steakburger...............................................................................$12.95
Veggie Lasagna....................................................................................................$14.95
Crescent Roll ........................................................................................................$1.50
Fresh Frog Torso.................................................................................................$18.95

Modifying and Deleting Tab Stops
To modify a tab stop, select a tab stop from the list, make your changes, and press the Set button. To delete a tab stop, select it and press the Clear button.

Setting Margins and Tab Stops with the Text Ruler
To use the text ruler in browse mode to set up and modify margins and tab stops, put your cursor in any field and select Text Ruler from the view menu. At the top of the screen a little ruler appears that is as long as the field you are in:

Setting Margins and Tab Stops with the Text Ruler

Drag the gray arrows on the text ruler to set the margins and first line indent of the currently selected text.

You’ll also see all tab stops set for the currently selected text. You can tell by the symbol for each whether it’s left aligned, right aligned, or otherwise. To bring up the Tabs dialog for a new or existing tab stop, double-click the tab stop or click anywhere on the text ruler where you would like to insert a tab stop.

Other Format Menu Commands
When you’ve selected text, notice that the top half of the Format menu contains a bunch of options for formatting just one attribute at a time. For instance, you can change the font, size, alignment, spacing, or colors of only the text you select.


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