Now you have a blank list layout, but it doesn't have any color. The “Enlightened” theme, which is applied by default to new layouts, uses shades of gray for an elegant and restrained look. You may want to choose a warmer or more vibrant theme for your solution, based on what will suit your users and what you want to communicate about your solution.
A theme in FileMaker Pro is a collection of coordinated styles that determine the color, attribute, and fonts used for layout objects and parts. With a theme, you can control the visual characteristics of your layout, including:
- Background color of layout parts
- Borders and fill of fields and other layout objects
- Text characteristics inside and outside of fields
Themes are a great way to quickly give your layouts a distinctive look and feel. Although each layout in your FileMaker solution potentially can utilize a different theme, a consistent theme will provide a more reassuring user experience.
When you make style changes to individual layout objects, you are overriding the current theme. For example, this happens when you apply bold text formatting or add a border around an object. Because these changes are not part of the theme, they will be lost if the layout is assigned a different theme. Whenever a theme is assigned to a layout, all the layout objects are formatted according to the theme, overwriting any local formatting.
However, you can customize themes themselves, minimizing the need for local formatting. Any change you make to a theme affects every layout in your solution that utilizes the theme you changed. This training will not cover the customization of themes, but it’s a powerful feature that you may want to explore in the future.
Themes include formatting information for objects in different states as well. Generally, there are four types of states available to a layout object in FileMaker Pro:
- Normal: the default state
- In Focus: when a layout object has been activated, for example when you click into a field with the mouse or tap it in iOS
- Hover: when you pause the mouse pointer over the layout object (not available in iOS due to the touch surface)
- Pressed: mostly for buttons - when you click the button with a mouse or or tap it in iOS
A layout object can have one or more states assigned to it, and each state can be formatted independently of the others, meaning that different states can have different style attributes defined. The Inspector allows you to format each state independently.
Choose a theme for your Main List layout (to be used for your other layouts as well).
- Choose the Layout menu > Change Theme…
A Change Theme dialog appears.
- Choose the "Tranquil" theme.
For the purposes of later exercises, please use this theme for now. Later you can change to any theme you like, bearing in mind that the Touch themes are specifically designed for layouts used on mobile devices.
- Click the OK button to dismiss the dialog window.
Here is the result in the example solution. Note that we chose to delete the footer. That’s up to you — in some themes the footer is an integral part of the design.