This is an unfortunate limitation of FMP that other competing products do not have.
I've wrestled with the same situation for years. The best I've been able to come up with is to use a calculation field that uses ValueListItems ( Get ( Filename ) ; "ValueList1Name" ) to display all the values from a value list that specifies the desired field. The user then copies and pastes from this field to update a custom values version of the same value list. Very ugly and error prone.
Another options is to display the values in a portal and set up the portal rows as buttons that select the desired value when clicked.
Third option: Define a serial number field. Make the value list two column with the serial number field the second column. Set it to sort on the second column. This won't work if you have duplicate values in your table and you end up with customers asking "why is that number in the drop down?"
Thanks all. Both solutions would probably work, but I had started to put things together in a way very similar to this suggestion. It makes sense because the goal here all along was to enter a numeric value for the item a user is selecting. I wanted to put the values in a separate table to make it easier to manage if/when the lists change. All of this could probably be done in differently (better?) but I'm trying to bridge two systems (one wants the numeric value the other wants text) and make it as seemless as possible for the users.
I was looking for how to convert a value list using custom values into a portal so that I can select a value by clicking on a button. While I thought I can use the "Value List Item" function, a self relationship and a global field as the basic components I can't see how to get all the parts together when I ran across this post where Phil mentions: "Another options is to display the values in a portal and set up the portal rows as buttons that select the desired value when clicked" So now I know it can be done can anyone please give me an idea how to do it.
To do this you need a table where each custom value is stored in separate records in this table. You can copy and paste the values one at a time by hand or write a script that loops through your values (you can put your value list items in a variable or global field.) and does this for you.
You need a relationship that links this table to your layout's table so the portal will work--the cartesian join operator (X) will allow you set up a portal that displays all the records from your related table.
Now select the button in layout mode and use button setup... from the Format menu to set it up as a button. You can write a script for your button or you may be able to just specify a single script step in button setup...