People Goal 3 - Part 9: Build the main detail screen - Field Formatting

Document created by Kedar on Jan 28, 2015Last modified by communitymanager on May 12, 2015
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You’ve added your portal and arranged the fields inside it, but the fields in the portal haven’t had any formatting applied to them yet. Because so they all look the same, it’s hard to the user to scan the information, distinguishing what’s most important.

 

Conditional Formatting

 

You could improve the user experience by applying conditional formatting to them, directing the user’s attention to specific rows based on specific conditions, such as their status or type.  We touched on conditional formatting in the Learn phase, but let’s look at it more closely now. You can format layout objects to change automatically when they meet specified conditions. For example, you can use conditional formatting to display the status of overdue activities in bold, red text.

 

Conditional formatting settings affect only the way data is displayed or printed, not how data is stored in the database. You can set conditional formatting on fields, merge fields, and text objects (including text-based buttons). You cannot apply it to graphic objects such as rectangles, circles, or images.

 

When you set multiple formatting conditions on an object, all conditions are evaluated starting from the top of the list. Each condition that evaluates “true” is added to (or supersedes) previous format settings.

 

Several Layers of Formatting

 

First you’ll decide what the fields should look like when no conditional formatting is applied. For example, you’ll make the fields white to be consistent with the other fields on the layout. You’ll also make the text color a subdued medium gray. This will contrast with the darker colors applied by the conditional formatting below.


Then you’ll apply one condition to all the fields. It will make the text color black if the record has an important status. This will cause that row in the portal to grab the user’s attention.

 

Finally you’ll apply another condition only to the fields in the first column of your portal. It will make the text color red and the style bold if the record is overdue (or something similar in your solution). Because this is such a strong choice, it would be overwhelming to apply it to all the fields. The first column is enough to get the user’s attention.

 

 

Goal:

 

Apply regular formatting to the fields in your portal, followed by one condition applied to all the fields, and then another condition applied only to the first column fields. The formatting choices are intended to highlight records that need the user’s immediate attention.

 

 

Steps:


Set Default Formatting


  1. Select all the fields inside your portal.

  2. Using the Inspector > Appearance tab > Graphic area, change the Fill color to white.

  3. In the same area, remove all borders (under Line).

  4. Using the Inspector > Appearance tab > Text area, change the font size to 14 points.

  5. In the same area, change the text color to medium gray:
    color palette text gray.png

    Here's how your first portal row should look at this point:
    portal row.png

 

Set Overall Conditional Formatting


  1. Choose the Format menu > Conditional.

    A Conditional Formatting for… dialog window appears.


  2. Click the Add button.

    A condition is automatically created. Now you’ll edit the condition to meet your needs.


  3. Under Condition, change the dropdown from “Value is” to “Formula is”.

  4. In the text box to the right of “Formula is”, enter a logical expression.

    In the example file, the Activity Type field has this formula applied:
    Activities::Status = “To Do”

    When this expression is true, then the formatting will be applied. In this case, we’re going to cause the text to turn black when the status is a certain value.

    What expression would be meaningful in your solution? If you have a status field in your secondary table, consider checking for a value that means the record needs attention.

  5. Under Format, change the Text Color to full black using the color picker.

  6. Click the OK button to dismiss the dialog window.

    All the fields in the portal row will have black text when your formula evaluates as true.

 

Set Specific Conditional Formatting


  1. Select only the first group of fields in your portal (the ones that make the first column).

    In the example solution, these are “Type” and “Status”.

  2. Choose the Format menu > Conditional.

    The condition you just created is displayed.

  3. Under Format, select the Bold option.

    Now these two fields will become bold as well as black when your formula is true.

  4. Click the Add button.

    A new condition appears in the list.

  5. Under Condition, change the dropdown from “Value is” to “Formula is”.

  6. In the text box to the right of “Formula is”, enter a logical expression.

    In the example file, the Activity Type field has this formula applied:
    Activities::Status = “To Do”  and Activities::Activity Date < Get ( CurrentDate )

    This expression means that the activity still needs to be done, but the activity date is in the past. That is, the activity is overdue. When this expression is true, we’re going to cause the text to colored red to call attention to the situation.

    Would a similar expression be meaningful in your solution?

    Note that all true conditions are applied, but if there is any conflict among them, the last one in the list “wins”.

  7. Under Format, change the Text Color to bright red using the color picker.

    You don’t need to specify that the text is bold because that will be set by the previous condition.

    At this point, this is how the dialog window looks in the example solution:
    pasted-image-21.png

  8. Click the OK button to dismiss the dialog window.



Think about whether there are any other conditions you might want to add. Otherwise, your conditional formatting is set up!

 


     

      

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