10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 20, 2015 9:55 AM by sawhet

    Maintaining vertical spacing between objects

    sawhet

      I'm not terribly experienced with FM, and maybe some of these annoyances will go away with practice.  But I wonder if there is an easy way to set and then copy vertical spacing between objects.  I use that pop-up alignment tool (sorry -- have forgotten its proper name) with the blue arrows that shows when things align or have equal dimensions.  But it often does not show the spaces that I am trying to tweak.

       

      Here's a specific example:  I have a layout with field text labels above the field boxes.   The default placement has too much space between the text and the box, so I have been moving the labels down -- moving each of them separately.  Is there a way to copy the right spacing in one instance and then apply it to all the labels/field boxes?

       

      And taking this one step farther:  I have just figured out how to do a custom theme for printing reports.  Is there a way of adding this label/field box spacing to that custom theme?

        • 1. Re: Maintaining vertical spacing between objects
          Extensitech

          There's not a way to copy/paste spacing. I actually haven't seen that elsewhere, either (though perhaps you have) and I can't imagine what that would look like.

           

          Spacing and sizing of objects also isn't included in theme styles.

           

          You might consider using "dynamic guides" and "gridlines". (Those two phrases will get you a better explanation, in FM Help, than I could give in a post.)

           

          Chris Cain

          Extensitech

          • 2. Re: Maintaining vertical spacing between objects
            sawhet

            "dynamic guides" -- yes, that's the name I couldn't think of.  And I've played with gridlines, which help, though there's a lot of hand-tweaking and eyeballing required if the grid spacing seems too wide.

             

            So it sounds like what I'm doing -- adjusting each label/field box individually -- is pretty much what you have to do?

             

            Many thanks for this. I'm feeling a little less like an idiot.

            • 3. Re: Maintaining vertical spacing between objects
              Extensitech

              I may be using the wrong name myself. I think that when you say "dynamic guides" you mean the blue lines that show when you're moving objects around. I mean the lines you can drag out from the rulers and set onto your layout, and/or share across all layouts. Or is that what you're already using?

               

              Chris Cain

              Extensitech

              • 4. Re: Maintaining vertical spacing between objects
                sawhet

                Hi Chris--

                I've just doublechecked.  The things you're talking about that can extend across layouts are plain ole "guides."  The ones that show when you move stuff around are "dynamic guides."

                 

                Based on your earlier comment, I looked again at grids and discovered that it's possible to make the gridlines even finer. (I went from 8 in an inch to 16).  That, coupled, with zooming in to 400%, makes this easier.  But it still seems as though there should be a simpler way.

                 

                At the very least, I would think it would be useful to have a measuring tool -- the sort of thing you see in navigation software -- so you could measure A to B and then compare it to C-D.

                • 5. Re: Maintaining vertical spacing between objects
                  Extensitech

                  Perhaps. I must confess that FM has been my primary software tool for so long that it seems pretty normal to me.

                   

                  I'd also point out that I pretty much always have the Inspector up when I'm working in layout. I set the measurements to "pt" and pay a lot of attention to the "Position" tab. I also tend to make sizes a nice round number of pts (like my fields are 20 pts tall, or 30 pts, but not, for example, 18) which makes the mental math a bit easier.

                   

                  HTH

                   

                  Chris Cain

                  Extensitech

                  • 6. Re: Maintaining vertical spacing between objects
                    keywords

                    Re: "At the very least, I would think it would be useful to have a measuring tool -- the sort of thing you see in navigation software -- so you could measure A to B and then compare it to C-D."

                     

                    There is the Space tool in the Arrange & Align panel of the Position Inspector—

                    Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 1.18.12 pm.png

                    This goes at least part of the way to what you are seeking.

                    • 7. Re: Maintaining vertical spacing between objects
                      MaxEh

                      I find what really helps me is making sure all selected fields are the same size height wise using the resize tool in the inspector, then I check to make sure all the selected objects have the text going to the same part of the field: top, bottom or center. Once that's done for groups of fields  I align top or bottom and drag to the right height/location using the static guides and use the arrow keys to nudge and if absolutely necessary type in  decimal point sizes if that helps line it up better. The dynamic guides are a godsend for getting stuff into the right area quickly. I always use points and like Chris try to use 'round numbers' in both directions.

                       

                      Martin

                      • 8. Re: Maintaining vertical spacing between objects
                        sawhet

                        Wow-- you guys have already been so helpful!  Thank you!

                         

                        I switched over to points -- which helps a lot.  Between points and viewing at 400% (a trick I picked up from other messages here today), I can now get the label/field spacing down pretty easily and with accuracy.  BTW -- when I switched over to points, the grid in the Inspector went to 72, which makes sense, so I changed the "minor grid steps" to 18 (as a multiple of 72).  Does that make sense?  What do you use?  Can't say that what I've done makes the math any easier, which I can see now is a laudable goal.

                         

                        So now I can move the label/field boxes around easily.   And with spacing/alignment and the dynamic guides, I can space things reasonably well in clumps.  But I haven't figure out how to do this:  On this layout,  I have a group of three or four fields together at the top. (All of these fields are arranged vertically.)   In the middle of the page (this is for a print layout), I have another three or four.  And below that, there's another cluster of three.     I would like the vertical spacing between the fields to be the same.    That doesn't show up with any consistency over the whole page with the dynamic guides.   Is there any easy way of doing that, apart from counting spaces on the grid?

                         

                        Also:  I've noticed that the dynamic grids pop up and then disappear pretty quickly.  Is there a way to get them to stay onscreen so I can analyze them better?  If the dynamic grid lines stayed on screen longer, I suspect I could resolve a lot of my issues.........

                        • 9. Re: Maintaining vertical spacing between objects
                          SteveMartino

                          One trick I learned for spacing is to create one field (and one label if needed).  Hit Ctrl +D (duplicate).  Without clicking on the field, use the arrow keys to move it where you want it.  Nine clicks (points-FM 12) will line it up either vertically or horizontally.  Then again with that field still highlighted, continue to hit Ctrl +D for as many fields as you need.  This will put them spaced exactly apart.  Then go back and double click and change the field references.

                          For moving groups of fields a couple of times, lasso them, group them, move them.  Clicking on any of the highlighted fields moves the group.  When you have them where you want them, ungroup them.

                          If you have a number of fields in a portal or tab control, hold down the Ctrl key outside the portal/tab control, then drag into and around all the fields you want to move to highlight them.  This will eliminate also dragging the portal/tab control.

                          • 10. Re: Maintaining vertical spacing between objects
                            sawhet

                            Hi Steve--

                            Thanks for this!  I'm not sure that I got exactly the results you described but I think I'm on the way to an OK workaround  (absent the apparent lack of a 'match this dimension' function!).    Each click of Ctrl-D creates a duplicate on top of the original, slightly offset.   But what I discovered is that if I use duplicate-size fields and lined then up to create a equally spaced group of, say, four, I can then lasso that group of four and use Ctrl-D to create another equally spaced group of four.  (And of course, I can do this with just two fields as well.)   And then, using the dynamic guides, it's pretty easy to get those lined up nicely with the first group. 

                             

                            I suspect you had something even easier in mind when you said <<Then again with that field still highlighted, continue to hit Ctrl +D for as many fields as you need.  This will put them spaced exactly apart. >>   I only got overlapping, slightly stagggered, fields.  (I'm on FM 13......don't know if that makes a difference.)

                             

                            And -- an offering back to any other FM neophyte who is following this -- I discovered a trick for keeping those dynamic guides on screen long enough to see what's going on:   Hold down opposing arrow keys at the same time (i.e up and down arrows or left and right).   It might be a little tricky to hit them simultaneously, but it works.