FileMaker 8 introduced the Tab Control object. It is a fantastic development time-saver and can dramatically reduce the number of layouts you're used to working with in FileMaker solutions.
The Tab Control does one thing: It extends the amount of screen real estate you can provide users by allowing them to flip from one pane to another while remaining on the same layout and same record. For an example, refer to Figure 4.16.
Figure 4.16. These tab objects allow users an intuitive means of working with multiple panes of information and controls.
Adding a Tab Control Object to a Layout
To add a Tab Control object to a layout, click the Tab Control button in the Status Area and drag a rectangular area on your layout. You are then presented with the Tab Control Setup dialog, as shown in Figure 4.17.
Figure 4.17. The Tab Control Setup dialog enables you to create however many panes you require.
In the Tab Control Setup dialog, you can add as many tab panes as necessary and then choose alignment and tab styles. Although the options aren't exhaustive, the simplicity of working with the Tab Control object will no doubt quickly win you over.
Notice that the width of the tabs on the Tab Control will conform to their text labels if you've chosen anything other than Full justification. If you'd like a little more whitespace for your tabs, or want to tweak their look, you can use our low-tech approach of adding spaces before and after the tab pane labels.
Note that in version 8, you cannot programmatically control the names of tabs, unless you lay a text object over the location of the tab in question. This can be a time-consuming workaround: You'd need to do it for each tab pane.
After you close the dialog, you'll remain in Layout mode and will be able to add layout objectsincluding additional Tab Control objectsto the tab pane currently selected.
The Tab Control is operational in Layout mode. If you click once on a tab, you'll flip to the pane it represents. If you want to return to editing in the Tab Control Setup dialog, double-click the Tab Control object. If you'd like to edit the properties of the tab pane (color, line weight, and line color), click a second time on the tab itself. You will see an active rectangle appear.
Be aware that you cannot control what color a non-active tab will display. FileMaker automatically determines that color based on the color of the active pane. An obvious workaround is to lay a rectangular object over the top of the tabs in question.
When you leave Layout mode, the default pane for that Tab Control object will be the last active pane in which you were working in Layout mode.
When you select the Tab Control object, notice that its rectangular area includes its tab space. The negative space next to your tabs when they're not set to Full justification is still space that is considered part of the selected pane. One handy technique we've learned is to place a button or text or even field objects in that space: They appear and disappear just as all objects members for a pane do.
One last feature of the Tab Control object is the capability to add objects to a pane by moving the Tab Control behind them in the stacking order. If you move the Tab Control object to the back and then drag it to a location where it encloses a layout object, that object will then automatically become associated with the Tab Control. This is a nice way to save time when you've got to add a new Tab Control to an existing layout. Simply drag a selection rectangle for the Tab Control object onto a layout, select Move to Back from the Arrange menu, and your object will "slurp up" all the objects higher in the stacking order that it encloses. (The FileMaker team affectionately refers to this feature as "hoovering" objects.)
Working with Fields
Part I: Getting Started with FileMaker 8
Using FileMaker Pro
Defining and Working with Fields
Working with Layouts
Part II: Developing Solutions with FileMaker
Relational Database Design
Working with Multiple Tables
Working with Relationships
Getting Started with Calculations
Getting Started with Scripting
Getting Started with Reporting
Part III: Developer Techniques
Developing for Multiuser Deployment
Advanced Interface Techniques
Advanced Calculation Techniques
Advanced Scripting Techniques
Advanced Portal Techniques
Debugging and Troubleshooting
Converting Systems from Previous Versions of FileMaker Pro
Part IV: Data Integration and Publishing
Importing Data into FileMaker Pro
Exporting Data from FileMaker
Instant Web Publishing
FileMaker and Web Services
Custom Web Publishing
Part V: Deploying a FileMaker Solution
Deploying and Extending FileMaker
FileMaker Server and Server Advanced
Documenting Your FileMaker Solutions