Dialog boxes are great examples of packing lots of stuff into a small space. Think about how the Layout Setup dialog box (Figure 6-18) works. When you first open the dialog box, you see a tab called General, which consolidates the most popular tools in one place. Two other tabs (Views and Printing) keep those categories of options out of your way until you need them. The Tab Panel tool and its controls help you use these same concepts to organize lots of objects on a single layout.
6.8.1. Creating a Tab Panel
If you want to add another set of fields to hold the work addresses of the contacts in your People database, you have to make the layout bigger in order to hold your new fields. But there are times when you just can't stretch a layout any farther. Maybe some of your employees have smaller monitors and you don't want them to have to scroll to see everything on the layout. Or you may feel you've already created a beautiful layout, with perfect proportions, and stretching it just to add a few more fields would ruin the design you worked so hard to create. Whatever the reason, if you don't want to make a layout bigger, you can organize lots more fields by adding a tab panel (Figure 6-36)
Here's how to use your existing detail layout (in the People database) to create a new layout using a three-tab panel:
The original detail layout was useful for printing, but this one helps you organize the fields for entering data. As your databases grow more complex, you could end up with dozens of layouts used for all different purposes, so painfully descriptive names like Data Entry make a lot of sense.
You're clearing a space for your new tab control.
The Tab Control Setup dialog box appears. Here's where you tell the panel how many tabs it needs and what to name them.
In the Tabs list, the Address tab appears. Repeat this step for two more tabs: Contact and Notes.
Your new tab panel, complete with three tabs, sits highlighted in place on your layout. Notice that there are four selection handles at each corner, and a dark box around each of the three tabs. Any changes you make to the tab panel now affects all three tabs.
Tip: You can change the tab panels individually if you want to. Click outside the tab panel to deselect it, then click the tab you want to change independently of the others. To reselect the whole panel, use the rubber band technique (Section 126.96.36.199).
You can also change the tab panels' font, font size, style and color if you wish.
You're getting ready to move the fields into place on the tab panel.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 to move the Phone and Email fields to the Contact panel and the Notes field to the Notes panel.
Click the panels to see how the fields appear and disappear along with their panels.
There's plenty of room on the Address panel for another set of address fields to hold a separate work address. You can define them now, if you like, and place them on the Address panel. (See Section 3.2 for a step-by-step tutorial on defining new fields.)
All the fields you've moved onto the tab panels are now firmly attached to those panels. If you move the panel, all the fields move along with it, so there's no need for fancy selection techniques. Just drag the panel to your new location, and you're golden. You can even copy the whole panel and paste it onto another layout. It works just as it did in the original location.
Warning: Tab panels are brand-new in FileMaker 8. Although earlier versions can open .fp8 files, some features, like tab controls, don't work in those versions. Folks using FileMaker 7 or earlier can't see your lovely tab panels, for example. Instead, they see a jumble of fields piled on top of one another.
6.8.2. Editing Tab Panels
You can edit a tab panel by double-clicking it to summon the Tab Control Setup dialog box.
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As useful as they seem on the surface, tab panels have a few hidden secrets that you can use to your advantage.
You can nest tab panels inside one another for even more space. So long as the new panel sits entirely inside an existing tab, it behaves just like any other object on a panel. It sits there quietly behind the scenes and doesn't make an appearance until you click its enclosing panel. Then, up the new panel pops, in all its tabbed glory. Download the file People Tab Panels from www.missingmanual.com/filemaker to see this trick in action.
If you make a set of changes and realize you've made a mistake, just click the Cancel button. All changes you've made to the tab panel since you opened the dialog are swept away, even if you deleted some panels, added some and rearranged the furniture while you were in there. But once you click OK, your changes are written in stoneat least until you revisit the Tab Control Setup dialog box.
6.8.3. Deleting a Tab Panel
If you don't want a tab panel after all, just select it and choose Edit Clear or tap Delete. FileMaker warns you that its about to delete all unlocked objects on the tab panel as well (Figure 6-38). If that's the way you want it, click OK. If you need to keep fields or objects on the tab panels, though, click Cancel, then move the keepers off the panel (way to the right of your layout, perhaps) for safekeeping.
Part I: Introduction to FileMaker Pro
Your First Database
Organizing and Editing Records
Building a New Database
Part II: Layout Basics
Advanced Layouts and Reports
Part III: Multiple Tables and Relationships
Multiple Tables and Relationships
Advanced Relationship Techniques
Part IV: Calculations
Introduction to Calculations
Calculations and Data Types
Part V: Scripting
Part VI: Security and Integration
Exporting and Importing
Sharing Your Database
Part VII: Appendixes
Appendix A. Getting Help