What Is a Layout?

If the tables form the heart of a database, layouts give it a face. When you design a layout, you feel like you're working in a graphics program: You can change the fonts, paste in your logo, make the background light fuchsia, and drag the fields around as though they're little onscreen Lego blocks. A single database may look like a White Pages, a "Hello! My Name Is" name tag, a glossy brochure, or a library card catalog index card. FileMaker displays the same informationbut how it displays that information is up to you.

Better yet, a single database can contain as many layouts as you want; each shows the data in a certain way for a specific purpose. Figure 4-2 shows the People database with two layouts.

Figure 4-2. This is the People database, too. It has the same fields and the same records (it's even the same file). Only the layouts have changed. Now it has two of them (one is shown in each window), and they've been gussied up a bit. The one in front is a detail layout. The other one is a list layout.


4.1.1. Types of Layouts

You can make layouts for just about anything. Most databases start off with a few common kinds of layouts for the most basic needs. Then, over time, you usually add more layouts to meet specific needs. When thinking about layouts, you should be thinking about how you'll want to see the datawhat kinds of information should be onscreen at the same time, for exampleand how you want to print your data (printable lists, name tags, special forms, envelopes, statements, reports, and so on). Here are some common kinds of layouts:

  • Detail layouts show all (or nearly all) fields on the screen for one record at a timea full employee profile, for example. You use detail layouts for most, if not all, of your data entry. If you have a lot of fields, you can even create more than one detail layout: Contact Info, Emergency Info, and Payroll Info, for example.

    Tip: You've already encountered a detail layout. Every FileMaker database is born with one starter detail layout. It always looks like the one in your People database in the previous chapterdownright boring.
  • List layouts show multiple records at one time, in a scrolling list. They usually show less information from each record than a detail layout so that more records can fit on the screen.
  • Table layouts are designed to work best in Table view (see Section 2.1.2). Like a list layout, they show lots of records at once, but unlike a list layout, it doesn't matter how the fields are arranged on the layout itself, since Table view always looks like a spreadsheet.

    Views and Layouts

    FileMaker learners often confuse views and layouts. Both affect the way FileMaker displays your data. You can switch from layout to layout or view to view with ease. And you hear a lot about lists, tables, forms, and so forth when talking about either. So what's the scoop?

    First of all, in every FileMaker window, you have a layout and a view selected at all times. Each layout is usually designed to work best with a certain view. Detail layouts are usually shown in Form view, while list and report layouts usually use List view. For instance, if you have a Client List layout, you typically use List view.

    Most of the time, the layout tells FileMaker how each record should look on the screen: where different fields appear, what fonts, sizes, colors, and pictures show up, and how much space it all takes up. When you pick a layout, FileMaker uses it to decide how things look.

    The view, on the other hand, tells FileMaker what to do with the layout. In Form view, it shows one record, using the layout to decide how that single record should look. In List view, it shows all the found records, each below the one before it. The layout dictates how each of those records should look, and you use the scroll bar to zip through them. In Table view, FileMaker ignores the layout almost entirely. It pays no attention to how fields are arranged, or what colors or pictures you've used to decorate things. Instead, it shows a clean, simple list just like a spreadsheet. The only say the layout has in how things look is in which fields you see, and how FileMaker formats each individual field.

  • Report layouts are designed for printing (see Section 2.9). They usually show multiple records in a list form, often with a title at the top and summary information at the bottom. Reports can even have groups of data and intermediate summaries or running totals (see Section 6.9).
  • Envelope and Label layouts format the data so that you can print it directly onto an envelope or a sheet of peel-and-stick labels. This layout makes addressing envelopes to people in your database a breeze. FileMaker can automatically create layouts for many envelope sizes and common label formats.

Very often, you create both a detail layout and a list layout for each table in your database. The list provides an easy way to scroll through records and find what you're looking for without getting data-overload. When you're ready to see all the data, you switch to the one-at-a-time detail layout.

Part I: Introduction to FileMaker Pro

Your First Database

Organizing and Editing Records

Building a New Database

Part II: Layout Basics

Layout Basics

Creating Layouts

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

Advanced Calculations

Extending Calculations

Part V: Scripting

Scripting Basics

Script Steps

Advanced Scripting

Part VI: Security and Integration


Exporting and Importing

Sharing Your Database

Developer Utilities

Part VII: Appendixes

Appendix A. Getting Help

FileMaker Pro 8. The Missing Manual
FileMaker Pro 8: The Missing Manual
ISBN: 0596005792
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 176

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