At this point you need a layout for your main list screen. Although FileMaker Pro creates a layout automatically every time you add a table to your file (including when the file is first created), we recommend reserving these layouts for your own development and testing purposes, and instead creating new layouts for your user interfaces. You already learned how to add layouts in the Learn phase, but before you proceed, let’s examine the concept of layouts in more detail.
What are layouts?
Layouts determine how information is organized for viewing, printing, reporting, finding, and entering data. They don’t store your data — they just display it.
Database files can have many different layouts, which in turn can display data in a variety of ways. Within one database file, you can design separate layouts for entering data, reporting summaries, printing mailing labels, displaying data graphically in charts, publishing a database on the Web, and so on. You can change a layout’s design without affecting the data or other layouts for the file. In contrast, when you change the data in a field, the changes are reflected in the same field on all the layouts in the database.
In a layout, you:
- choose which fields to display
- arrange and format fields
- add or modify field labels
- create reports, for example, to group or summarize data
- specify how records are printed
- add graphics and text to add emphasis and interest
You create layouts by using the New Layout/Report assistant, a wizard that guides you through creating the layout according to options you choose, such as the layout fields and the theme.
After creating a layout, you can do things like duplicate, delete, or rename it, or organize layouts into folders. You can also set options to print or preview records in columns, and to control which views are available to view or print the layout.
Pay special attention to the right-hand margin of your layout. It establishes the minimum width of the display area. Everything to the right of this margin cannot be seen by the user. This non-display area is a great place to put notes to yourself as well as things you want to remove from the layout but are not prepared to throw away yet.
What is a “List” layout?
When we talk about “list” and “detail” layouts, we’re really talking about a combination of two independent things:
- Whether the layout is set to display in List View or Form View
- Whether the fields and other layout objects have been arranged to make sense in List View or Form View
In Browse mode, the user can change any layout between Form View, List View, and Table View using the View As buttons next to the Layout drop-down:
However, since its objects have been arranged for a specific view, it’s unlikely that the layout will look good in the other two views. Here is how FileMaker Pro interprets the same layout to produce the three different views:
- In Form View, the body part is displayed once, for the current record.
- In List View, the body part is displayed once for every record in the found set.
- In Table View, none of the layout parts are displayed; instead, each field on the layout is displayed as a column in a spreadsheet-like format, where each record in the found set is represented as a row.
Create your Main List layout.
- Make sure you are in Layout mode.
- Click the New Layout / Report button in the status toolbar. ⌘N or Ctrl-N
A New Layout dialog window appears.
- Name your layout, being sure to start with your main table name.
In the example solution, the main detail screen is called “Contact List”. We suggest you follow a similar naming convention.
- Choose the Computer option since you are designing for desktop/laptop.
- Choose List from the various layout formats (Form, List, Table, and Report).
- Click the Finish button.
A blank list layout is displayed. Note that it has a header, body, and footer but no subsummary part. You’ll add the subsummary part later.