Standard behavior for field labels (in prior versions) is that the labels will change but only if kept within a certain distance of their associated field. IIRC, even then if putting the labels back within close proximity then link remains broken. I have not tested since version 9. The 'stickibility' distance is approx 25 px (guessing).
Changing field label text on a layout will not change field label text on another, but if you open manage | database | Fields and change the field name there, any iinstance of that field on any layout where the associated label text still exactly matches the name in the field definition, will automatically update to show the new field name. I'd actually prefer to have an option on whether to allow or disallow this "feature" as it can change field labels when I do not want them to.
Often, we developers use naming conventions to make the fields easier to work with such as using a lower case "g" (gSearchField) to identify fields with global storage or a lower case c (cLineItemCost) to identify fields that are calculations. We need those names in Manage | database and in the many places where you get a list of fields when designing the database, but you don't want those exact field names to appear on the layout. So when you put a field on a layout, Filemaker adds layout text with the same name as that given in Manage | database unless you opt out in preferences and also in the specify field dialog, but once that text is added, you can edit it however you need to make the name work better for the user and to create a properly professional appearance.
The label will change but ONLY if it has not been moved away from its field ... as in the case of the person posting. That was my point. ;-)
And a good point it is ;-).
but the OP indicates that they changed field names on a layout and then failed to see them change on another--which is exactly what should happen if they are only modifying field labels, not the actual defined name. If that's what Claire did, then it doesn't matter how "close" the labels are, they won't update and shouldn't update as that would really handcuff a lot of our interface design efforts.
Just out of Idle curiosity. I did what I understood Claire to have done:
1) Created a new layout based on the same table as the original.
2) Copied fields with their text object field lables from the original to the new.
Then I did three tests:
1) I changed the field name in Manage | Database. When I did so, the field label text on both layouts updated to the new name as they had field label text exactly the same as that found in Manage | Databse.
2) I then edited a field label on a layout. As expected, this changed the field label text only on that layout and no where else.
3) I then went to Manage | Database and changed the field name again. Because the label text to the layout no longer matched the actual field name in Manage | Database, this did not result in any change in the field labels.
This is how FileMaker is intended to work. The only issue I have with it is that I'd prefer the change in 1) above to be something that I could control on a case by case basis as it sometimes is not a desirable "feature"--changing field labels in multiple locations even though I didn't want that change to take place..
Test 4 ... MOVE the label away from the field and it will quit changing when you change it's name in field definition.
Claire said, "My tab panel needs only to show the field name, not the edit box, so I removed the edit boxes. Will field name changes not update if there is no edit box on the layout? That seems ridiculous."
When the edit box was removed the labels quit changing because it exceeded the ''stickie'' distance I mentioned.
BTW, what you explained is standard behavior as I said originally. Most folks are unaware of the stickie property which will break it if you move a label away. At least now we have all bases covered. :-)