Your First Layout - File Maker

If you’ve got “Add newly defined fields to current layout” checked on the Layout tab of Application Preferences, as soon as you leave Define Fields after you’ve created all the fields in Company.fp5, you will be left in Browse mode (the mode you use to create, modify, and delete records and data in a database) on the first record (added for you automatically) on a layout called Layout #1 that looks something like this:

Your First Layout

If you didn’t have “Add newly defined fields to current layout” checked, you’ll start out with a blank layout. Check out how to drag fields onto a blank layout so that your first layout looks roughly like the preceding illustration.

Notice that your auto-entry options have already filled in a unique CompanyID, State, and CreationDate and CreationTime automatically. Also notice that cConstant is calculating, and sCustomers is summarizing (there’s only one record in the found set to count!). If you try to click out of the database or exit the current record by clicking somewhere outside any of the fields (like on one of the field labels) you will find out that the validation you’ve set up on CompanyName is also working . . . you aren’t allowed to do anything else in the database at all until you enter a unique value in CompanyName. FileMaker is unmoved in this regard. Go ahead and type a company name, any name at all, and hit the TAB key. The tab order of any new layout always defaults to the order in which the fields exist on the layout from left to right and then from top to bottom.

You should now see your blinking cursor in Address1. Fill in an address. Keep tabbing and fill in all the fields that you want to. You’ll notice that if you try to edit cConstant, sCustomers, or CompanyID (if you checked “Prohibit modification of value” in the field’s auto-enter options) that you are given an error that the field is not modifiable.

In the gComputerShopName field, type [Your Name]’s Computer Shoppe or whatever you would like to call your computer store.

Congratulations! You just created and entered data into your first database record with FileMaker Pro!

Create More Records
Now go ahead and create two or three more new records. You can either type CONTROL-N/COMMAND-N on the keyboard or select New Record under the Records menu. Again, you’ll see a blank record with all auto-entered fields populated. Also, you’ll see the global computer shop name you entered in gComputerShopName. sCustomers should now equal two.

Find a Record
Now let’s try out Find mode. Type CONTROL-F/COMMAND-F or select Find Mode under the View menu. You can also switch modes using the mode menu at the bottom of the screen. You will notice that the will seem to show only one record and all your fields will appear blank. Don’t go nuts, all of your records haven’t just been deleted. You are now in Find mode, where you can query your database by creating one or more find requests to isolate found (sub)sets of all the records in your database. Also notice that a Find button has appeared on the status bar now that you’re in Find mode.

Try typing the name of the first company name you entered into the now blank CompanyName field. Next, hit the Find button on the status bar or just type ENTER/RETURN. If you entered a valid find request, you will now see a subset of all the records in your database . . . probably a one-record subset. If you did not enter a valid find request, you will be asked if you want to modify you find request or cancel and go back into Browse mode.

Try doing several more finds, but, at least once, use the Omit checkbox (which indicates to FileMaker,“For the current find request, show me the records that do not meet my specified find criteria”) and find symbols, in the find symbol drop-down menu.

After you are done exploring Find mode, you can at any time quickly get back into your full record set by switching back into Browse mode and typing CONTROL-J /COMMAND-J or selecting Show All Records under the Records menu.

Layout Mode
You won’t get exposed to Layout mode right now, but you might like to check under the hood of this first layout by going into Layout mode, which is the mode you want to be in when designing a data entry layout, table view, label layout, envelope, report, or any other “view” for your database. To get into layout mode, type CONTROL-L/ COMMAND-L or select Layout Mode under the View menu. Or use the mode menu. All of your field names should show up inside the field boxes, and a slew of layout tools will appear on the status bar. Also, the Records menu turns into the Layouts menu and a new menu, the Arrange menu, appears.

Explore Layout mode and the Layouts and Arrange menus. See if you can’t figure out how to add a circle and a square shape on the layout. See if you can find how to select a field and change the fill color of it or its text color. Use the Format menu to apply text styles to field labels. Try to create a dashed line and type some text on a layout. If you feel brave, try to create a new layout using New Layout/Report under the Layouts menu.

Preview Mode
The only mode you haven’t yet explored is Preview mode, the mode that shows you what the current layout will look like when you send it to a printer. To get into preview mode, type CONTROL-U/COMMAND-U or select Preview Mode under the View menu. Or use the mode menu.

Preview mode looks kind of like Browse mode, except that you can’t enter any data and you can see the page margins on the layout so you know how much room you’ll have around the edges of a layout when it comes out of the printer. If you flip through, you’ll be flipping through pages in this potential printout instead of flipping through records like when you’re in Browse mode.

From here, if you like, you can type CONTROL-P/COMMAND-P or select Print under the File menu and see how the current found set of records looks as a printed document (you’ll need to have a default printer set up on your computer in order to be able to print out of FileMaker).


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