3 Replies Latest reply on Apr 20, 2013 3:24 AM by MikhailEdoshin

    The constrained movement mode has degraded (1/2)



      The constrained movement mode has degraded (1/2)


      FileMaker Pro



      Operating system version


      Description of the issue

      In v11 it was fairly easy to move an element strictly horizontally or strictly vertically: you simply hold the Shift key and move it. I actually haven't realized why it felt to simple until today when I did an explicit test. As it turned out, if you inadvertently start moving in a different direction (e.g. you wanted to move the field horizontally, but started the first movement along the vertical axis), you can easily fix this by simply moving the field where you wanted it to be and FileMaker would've switch the constrained axis itself.

      In v12 if you started dragging in a different direction, you cannot fix it during dragging. Once the direction is set, it stays. You have to leave the field where you've dragged it (i.e. in a wrong place), undo the movement, and start over. (And undos are also a pain; if you work over WAN, they're very slow. I'll post it as a separate issue.)

      And since the mouse in v12 is very sensitive, it makes it much more difficult to drag in the right direction from the first time. I myself almost stopped Shift-dragging; I position by numbers, align to objects, or nudge with keyboard arrows.

      Also, there's yet another problem with Shift-dragging; I'll post it separately.

      Steps to reproduce the problem

      In Layout mode select an object, start moving it vertically or horizontally and hold the Shift key to constrain the movement. Assume you've managed to move it along the vertical axis; now try to move the object to the left or right of its original position because you actually wanted FileMaker to constrain the movement to the horizontal axis.

      Expected result

      FileMaker understands your intentions and starts moving the element along the other axis.

      Actual result

      Nothing happens; once you started Shift-dragging an object along one axis, you cannot easily switch to another.

      Exact text of any error message(s) that appear


      Configuration information



      Do not use Shift-dragging and move objects by other means. This is theoretically possible, but much less convenient.

      Besides, the portals and tabs only "own" an object it it has been explicitly dragged into them and ignore objects that got inside a portal because they were aligned with another object, positioned by numbers, or moved by arrow keys. This leaves no alternative to dragging and since Shift-dragging has become nearly useless, one has to either be extra careful when dragging objects into portals, especially if they have the same height or width as the portal row, or temporarily shrink the object, drag it into the portal to get it "owned", and then move it with arrow keys into the desired position and enlarge it back to the desired size. This is not a joke, I had to actually use it several times in production.


        • 1. Re: The constrained movement mode has degraded (1/2)

               I also find I am using modifier keys while dragging a lot less. This is in part due to the issue here but also due to the fact that the guides that pop up often mean that I can align things without having to constrain the drag. (Yes, this isn't perfect due to the many different objects and differernt ways that objects can align to each other but often works quite well for me.)

          • 2. Re: The constrained movement mode has degraded (1/2)

                 Mikhail Edoshin:

                 Thank you for the post.


                 For a full list of the documented changes to Layout Mode in FileMaker Pro 12, please refer to FileMaker's knowledge base article 10260:


            Layout Mode Enhancements in FileMaker Pro

            What are some of the new Layout mode enhancements in FileMaker Pro?


                 The change to the shift-click behavior is mentioned in the article above. Thank you for providing additional clarification. 


                 Additionally, if the goal of this post is to see this change reverted to the behavior in FileMaker Pro 11, then I would encourage you to enter this as a suggestion into our Feature Requests web form at:




                 These web form suggestions are monitored and read by our Development and Product Management departments and then discussed and considered for a future release. Although I could copy your post and paste it into the web form, there are some questions asked that only you can answer.



                 FileMaker, Inc.

            • 3. Re: The constrained movement mode has degraded (1/2)

                   Thank you for this interesting document, but it seems that it is not relevant in this case. The document only talks about using the Shift key when resizing objects; I'm talking about moving objects. (I agree that using the Shift key to resize an object is no longer necessary, because objects now have side handles that do the same job.) The document does not mention constrained movement at all; I think it's an oversight and maybe this explains the sorry state of constrained movement in v12.

                   The document does mention dynamic guides, but these guides are not a substitute for constrained movement mode. The guides snap to other objects; the constrained movement mode is supposed to snap to the original position of the object being moved.

                   The document also mentions plain guides, and yes, these can be used to facilitate constrained movement, but this is way more complex. Assume I want to move an object strictly along the vertical axis. In v11 I simply drag it and hold the Shift key at any time to enter the constrained movement mode; this takes a fraction of a second. To use guides for this I have to do the following: show Rulers (a visit to the menu or a four-key shortcut), carefully drag a guide out of a ruler (carefully, because guides do not snap to anything, I need to position them precisely) and then start moving the object. Even if the rulers are already visible, dragging out a guide and positioning it exactly where I want it to be can take seconds and this is exactly what I'm takling about: in v12 I have to spend much more time to achieve the same result as in v11. First I thought twice as much, now I think more along at least four times as much.

                   Now let's assume FileMaker designers has planned a clever way to move an object strictly horizontally or strictly vertically and just forgot to tell us, and we, being far less clever, just fail to realize what it is. But the old way still kind of works! If you press the Shift key you do enter this constrained movement mode, except that it's much harder to do this the way you wanted! And if the old way is still sort of there and it is much worse than it used to be, how can it be not a bug?

                   I can submit this as a feature request, but a feature request must be something you're proud to talk about. Would you be proud to announce that you brought back something that otherwise haven't changed since v3? Some feature.