Previewing and Printing Data - File Maker

In this last section, you will explore briefly how to prepare data to print a particular way to a printer of your choice.

Exploring Preview Mode
Go to Company.fp5 and choose the Report: Summary by City script from the Scripts menu. When the script pauses on the report, note that you’re now in Preview mode, the mode where you get to see the report on your screen exactly as it will appear when it is printed (to a printer, to PDF, to a fax driver, and so on). You’ll see how the page numbering will look, how everything slides up and left (if such settings apply), how the margins look, and how data appears in columns (like mailing labels).

Also, and very importantly, Preview mode is the only mode in which you can see reports that show summarized data properly.

You can’t do anything to the data or the layouts in Preview mode, all you can do is use the book to flip through the pages of the report.

Print/Page Setup
From here, select Print or Page Setup from the File menu. You’ll get a dialog like this, assuming you have a standard laser printer installed:

Print/Page Setup

Nothing too spectacular here; you’re probably used to specifying the printer of choice, picking the page orientation, and so on, yes? (If you change orientations, by the way, the orientation of the layout will change to reflect this back in FileMaker.) Click OK.

Print Dialog
When you’re satisfied with the way the report looks and you want to print it, press CONTROL-P/COMMAND-P or select File > Print. You’ll see the Print dialog:

Print Dialog

Again, this is pretty standard stuff, but note the drop-down menu at the top. Here, you can specify whether to print all records in the found set or just the current record. You can also print the current record as a blank (useful during the development stage, so you’ll see how a layout will look like when printed). Also note that you can print scripts and field definitions, too.

Whether you print the report now or not is up to you. After you’re finished fiddling with this report, click Continue in the status area to go back to the detail view layout.

From the Field: Copying Preview into a Field
You’ll note that if you go to Detail View 2 and enter Preview mode, none of the buttons are clickable; they don’t work. This is usually good, because you don’t want users altering data when they’re expecting to just see a print preview. But what if you want to give users more options than just the Continue and Cancel buttons that appear on the status area when scripting a print routine? Well, you can, but with some limitations.

Go to Company.fp5 and run the Report: Summary by City Enhanced Preview Mode script. You’ll be taken to a preview of the report, but with a bunch of buttons at the top that you can use! Amazing, but how does it work? Basically, it uses an undocumented feature that allows you to do a copy in Preview mode (just like pressing CONTROL-C /COMMAND-C while in Preview mode), which copies a preview of the report to the clipboard.

Next, the script pastes the report into a global field and goes to this special preview layout but in Browse mode where buttons work. But, because all that’s on the layout is an un-enterable global field, the user can do little damage to the database. This is useful when you lock users out of the status area where they could not even see the Continue or Cancel buttons.


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