Now that you’ve learned how to create and format objects on layouts, you’ll learn the sometimes-tricky topic of sliding and printing.
Sliding and printing are settings you can specify for an object or group of objects by selecting the object(s) and then going to the Sliding/Printing item under the Format menu. The dialog looks like this:
Before you learn what the buttons and checkboxes do, you should know that sliding and printing mostly affect how reports will look when printed. For example, sometimes you have a report layout with navigation buttons that you don’t want to print. There’s a setting here to control for that. The sliding settings basically help you get rid of extra white space on a report.
A layout in Company.fp5 for a summary report will help you visualize the benefits of using sliding and printing options on a layout. Here it is in Layout mode:
The layout looks pretty much the same as the Summary by State report that you created earlier, with a few differences. For one, you’re summarizing by state, of course. Second, it includes a Notes field that may contain vital information.
The problem is, sometimes the Notes field has many lines of text and sometimes it has none. How do you accommodate this variance on a printed report without either cutting text off by making the field too small or wasting space by making the field too big?
First, let’s take a look at what this report looks like in Preview mode with no sliding or printing settings used, as shown in the following screen. You’ll notice a couple of problems: There’s a lot of extra white space because most of the records in this database have no notes. And the Main Menu button at the top, used for onscreen navigation, is a distraction on the printed report.
We’ll set sliding and printing options to tighten up this report and reduce the amount of wasted space.
Below you’ll see the same report with its new settings applied. The Main Menu button no longer prints, and the extra white space has been eliminated.
The other settings available in the Set Sliding/Printing dialog also allow you to slide objects to the left to remove space, which is quite useful on the city, state, zip code line of a mailing label. Also, when sliding up, you can choose to have the selected object(s) slide up only to the object directly above it (useful when a layout has a column-type scheme to it) as opposed to sliding up to the next object above it on the layout. The drawings in the dialog that illustrate these two different “up slides” will help you visualize the difference.
Here are some tips to make setting sliding options more trouble free.
Sliding and Portals
Often people have trouble with sliding when there are portals on the print layout. The trouble is, portals were not really designed to be printed, and in many cases it’s possible to just go the related records first and print a summary report of those records instead.
If you must have a portal on a print layout, there are some restrictions: If set to slide up, it will slide through empty portal rows. However, if a portal row field is tall enough for two or more lines of text and there’s only one line of text in a certain portal row, the row won’t shrink up even if you want it to.
Sliding left in a portal doesn’t really work either, but you can get around this by creating concatenated calcs to place in the portal row, instead of trying to get a bunch of related fields to slide properly in a portal.
Blank Space on a Layout
If you leave space on a layout, FileMaker won’t remove the space. Make sure each layout part in a report is as short as can be by dragging the parts as close as possible to the tallest object contained in the part.
What If Not All Objects Slide Correctly?
For sliding to work exactly right, you’ve got to make sure that the objects you want to slide are aligned correctly. None of their edges should overlap, and there should be no transparent objects behind them. The Object Size palette can help you to align objects precisely when every pixel counts.
Fields that are specified to slide left won’t slide unless the field is left aligned.
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