9 Replies Latest reply on Jun 1, 2013 7:42 AM by philmodjunk

    Value lists limited to 30000 characters?



      Value lists limited to 30000 characters?


           I use FileMaker to organize my notes on books and articles. I assign my own subject headings to records--reflecting my specific research interests--and since I can't keep hundreds of headings in my head, I enter them into a static dropdown value list. Then whenever I want to search for all my notes on a given topic, I can scroll down, see exactly what heading I gave them, enter it, and pull them up. That the list is static ensures that I keep my headings consistent.

           However, on recently trying to update a value list, I received the message 'The length of the selected text cannot exceed 30000 characters'. That's going to become a problem. Since I read new things, I regularly add new headings to the value list (just as library catalogues must add new subject headings to reflect new topics).

            There appears to be only one discussion of this problem in the forum, dating back to 2006: http://fmforums.com/forum/topic/39688-value-list-text-parameters/. I'm not sure I understand the advice that was given to the original poster, but it doesn't appear to me that it would solve my problem.

           Is there any way to go beyond 30000 characters? If not, can you suggest anything else? It might solve the problem--though it would be a bit cumbersome--if I could assign two value lists to the same field. Then I could divide my headings into one list for A-L and a second for M-Z. But so far as I can tell, that's not possible.

           Thanks in advance for your advice.




        • 1. Re: Value lists limited to 30000 characters?

               Use the records in a List view window that can remain visable and sortable.  Create a button on each row of your List to select and go to... just like your use of Value Lists.


          • 2. Re: Value lists limited to 30000 characters?

                 Here's a demo file for name based lookups that may be helpful:

                 FileMaker 12 users: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/78737945/SimpleNameLookupDemo.fmp12
                 Pre FileMaker 12 Users: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/78737945/SimpleNameLookupDemo.fp7

                 And here's a method for getting the values from your custom values box into individual records of a table: Converting a custom value list into a table based value list

            • 3. Re: Value lists limited to 30000 characters?

                   Hello, both,

                   Thank you for your help. Could I ask for a little more?

                   Jim, your suggestion sounds promising, but I don't understand quite what you have in mind when you suggest I 'create a button on each row of my List to select and go to'. Could you tell me a little more, or point me to a webpage that explains it?

                   PhilModJunk, I've opened your demo, and it looks to me as if it employs value lists like the one I'm already using. Is there something about these ones that would help to solve the problem of the 30000 character limit?

                   Maybe it will help to say a little more about what I am doing. I use a subject field in my database that functions like the subject field in an online library catalogue. The difference is that while with a library catalogue you often have to guess what subject terms the librarians have assigned, and so searching can be hit-and-miss, I keep a value list of all the subject headings I've assigned to records. Thus the value list starts:

                   Act-omission distinction
                   Agent-relative ethics
                   Aggregation  Consequentialism
                   Aggregation  Consequentialism  Indirect
                   Aggregation  Consequentialism  Indirect  Rule consequentialism

                   If I want to find all my notes about aggregation, I perform a 'Find', open up the dropdown window in my subject field, and select simply 'Aggregation'. If, one the other hand, I want to find only notes that deal with aggregation and rule consequentialism, I enter 'Aggregation  Consequentialism  Indirect  Rule consequentialism'. Having a value list linked to the subject field has two advantages: (a) when entering new records, I can simply select and click, rather than typing in the subject heading each time; and (b) it ensures I keep the subject headings I've assigned consistent. 

                   This system allows me to perform searches of greater or lesser specificity. It's a great way to organize my notes. But, as you can see, it's character-intensive. By the time I get to the W's, I'm already pushing the 30000-character limit.

                   Thanks, Matthew

              • 4. Re: Value lists limited to 30000 characters?

                     My value lists are not custom value lists, they are based on the values taken from data stored in a table.

                • 5. Re: Value lists limited to 30000 characters?

                       Dear Phil,

                       I'm afraid I'm still not getting it. The data in your value lists may be derived from a table rather than entered in in a custom fashion as I have done, but as long as they are in a value list, aren't they still subject to the 30,000 character limit? Or is there some way of getting around this?

                       Thanks, Matthew

                  • 6. Re: Value lists limited to 30000 characters?

                         I think I understand....

                         1) You are making multiple notes with a subject heading

                         2) You can make multiple notes with the same Subject

                         3) You do a Find on say.... Ag*   or type ahead ... Select the item in your list to find your note(s).


                         4) Create a new Note with the selected Subject heading...

                         If true...

                         1) create a Table of Subjects with 2 fields  SubjectID [number type, serial sequence, unique]  and Subject [text  type]

                         2) Use the SubjectID to relate to your Notes table as the fkSubjectID.


                         each record in the newly created Table is like a line in you Value List, but not character limited.   You then create a Layout in List Format and each row or line in that layout is a Subject..  You can Find, Sort that list as you need.  

                         The difference is the is NO ACTION when you click on desired Subject , where your Value list has a "selected action".


                         You create a scripted Button and place it on the line of your List Form layout.  In  browse you will see that button repeated for each Subject.

                         Click on the Desired Subject's Button and do the action in the button script that your Value List did.surprise

                         Phil is saying the same idea and he probably has a good example of what we both are suggesting.


                    • 7. Re: Value lists limited to 30000 characters?

                           Phil is suggesting a simple work around.  Mine is complex.  He creates the same new table and points his Value list to the New table Subject field.

                           The 30M char is the limit of a SINGLE TEXT field.  Phil's list is Compounded from a single records.


                           As long as a Single Subject field is less than 30M you are ok.yes


                      • 8. Re: Value lists limited to 30000 characters?

                             Success! Jim's 2:16 comment finally made me understand what Phil was proposing with his simple workaround. I followed his directions at  Converting a custom value list into a table based value list, and it's done what I need it to do.

                             Thanks, guys!

                        • 9. Re: Value lists limited to 30000 characters?

                               Also note that with a table based value list, you can organize your values into categories and use a conditional value list to prune your list of values down to a more manageable size. With a conditional value list, you'd select a category from a value list of categories in field 1 and then your conditional value list only lists values from that category.