There are many ways, but the easiest is just to create a table just for that purpose. You can call it the 'Menu Table'. You may want to add some global fields to it, to allow user-specified interaction. Some people use a specific 'Globals' table for that purpose, but there's no reason for you not to use that table for that purpose.
Go ahead and drop all your main navigation and search buttons on there, and your 'Dashboard' portals and counts and totals of key live data, etc.
You can set that Menu to be the 'form' the user always sees first by specifying a script that runs at file-launch.
Filemaker released a run time called Campus Productivity Kit in 2007, it used such a Navigation Main Menu.
You can download the Win and Mac version on Cnet
Runtimes have a file often called XXX.usr - if renamed XXX.fp7 (in this case) it can be opened or converted by FMP.
The Business Productivy Solution ver 3 also uses it, but I can not find a download link (FMP ver 11 kit)
The free template, Starting Point uses the Main Nav Portal.
List of several free things http://www.filemakerfree.com/
It is just a series of buttons with GoTo scripts attached and each layout has a Home button.
You can also use this method:
- Open Manage | Database | Relationships
- Click any table occurrence "box" in this window, then click the duplicate button (two green plus signs).
- Go to your main menu layout, open layout setup... and select this new table occurrence in Show Records From.
- Return to Manage | Database | Relationships and delete the table occurrence you created by clicking the duplicate button.
- You now have a layout that is not based on any table in your database.
Creating a blank "Splash Screen" can be useful when you use different devices and also can be used to let your user know you are doing stuff so please be patient. Blank screens are also useful in script steps since they don't cause a delay when producing actions.
Any table can be used to create a blank form. There may be an advantage to using a table with no or few records over one with a million, and maybe not.
Filemaker should update their dialog for selecting the type of layout since monitors now are more than 400 pixels high or wide. The Blank form option is just below the line and you need to scroll down one to see it.
The blank layout will have no fields or you could just delete the fields from the Form layout to create a blank layout.
Creating a blank layout in a designated table has the advantage of letting you create portals in that menu such as a self linked portal...or not.
A blank menu can be changed to any table at any time with no affect on anything.
Sometimes its convenient to create a folder for Table X and place all the forms for table x, including the menu, in that folder.
Other times a Menu Folder will store all of your menus.