10 Replies Latest reply on Jun 12, 2012 8:31 AM by DrewTenenholz

    Variable field sizes


      Dear fellow FileMaker developers.


      I am doing a database, where I would like fields to change size according to a value field of with and hight.

      I am using FileMaker Pro 11 - does any know if this is possible?


      Table looks like:



      Parameter Name

      Parameter Value Type




      So if I have a Parameter Name i.e. "Remarks" I would like to be able to have a size of this field i.e. 8 cm with and 3 cm hight..


      Hope you understand...


      Thank you in advance,


      Morten Reitoft

        • 1. Re: Variable field sizes

          You can't change the size of the field in a FileMaker layout, but you can variably change the field formatting including size if you want.  The Text formatting functions are at:  http://www.filemaker.com/help/html/func_ref3.33.90.html

          • 2. Re: Variable field sizes

            In other environments like "livecode", "hypercard" or "flash" the position of fields, their size and attributes are dynamically set by the programming and can be altered during use.


            This ability is sadly not present in FileMaker. And in many cases it would probably be difficult to work with, since altering the size of one element would very often implement moving all other elements accordingly. This could turn out to be a very complex exercise.


            Please write a little more about what you want to accomplish. Maybe there is a way around it that will give the result you want, although not with the method you thought of?

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Variable field sizes


              Thank you for your answer - I was aware of your link to text formatting functions - however these can't help me much :-)


              @Carsten Levin

              Also thank you for your answer.. I am doing an inquiry form, where number of fields are relative to what product is inquiried - I am in print business, so i.e. an inquiry for a book has another set of parameteres than inquirying a magazin. Since I previously made all inquiries in the same layout with a fixed set of parameters I could layout the fields, so print layout (PDF) and screen was the same - easily!


              However in my new database I have a table of inquiries, a table of products, a table of parameters and a table of parameter values - all related to a language/translation layer table and some fields I only need to have a physical length of i.e. 2 cm wide and 1 cm high and other 8 cm wide and 8 cm high - so 'input' layout can look similar to the PDF that is finally generated. Normally when I create the print design I am using the the move up/down slide functions - which are fine when data content has been entered......


              Well I don't know if this give you any thoughts about what I am looking for... Maybe I can explain in Danish to you instead?? :-)



              • 4. Re: Variable field sizes

                Hi Reitoft,


                Just some fast thoughts on this:


                Model 1:

                Use a portal to display the information for the type of product (Magazine, Book etc.), based on table B. Have a background table A with sets of attributes for each type.

                Onn creation also create of a new main record also create the records in table B (copies of the relevant records from table A).


                Model 2:

                If there are only a limited number of main product types, consider having different layouts, or maybe easier invisible but automatically shown tabs (scripttriggers). This is probably the way to go if there are less than 10-15 main product types.


                Is this usefull?


                Best regards


                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Variable field sizes

                  Just one more input - a bit to the sophisticated side:


                  You can actually create nearly any UI setup you want based on the webviewer. It would of course take some coding, probably with at least some of theese methods: html/php/javascript.

                  Then you can use scripttriggers to ensure that you are not leaving the record without fetching the values of the webviewer.


                  OK, I am not an expert on those methods, but you will find a lot of people who are. At my company at least 3 or our developers will be able to do things like those mentioned here - so it is not rocket science.


                  Best regards


                  • 6. Re: Variable field sizes

                    @Carsten Levin

                    Thank you very much.. I am of course using a Portal now for showing the fields from the other tables. To use different layouts was also one of my considerations - however I came to that conclusion that it would be "wrong", since I don't know the number of inquiry types I could end up with. In my previous version of my database, this was exactly what I was doing...


                    Regarding programming and using web-viewer I am unfortunately not skilled at all - but I your response can probably help me in the right direction.. Once more, thank you,



                    • 7. Re: Variable field sizes

                      Morten --


                      Two ideas, I don't know if either might be helpful:


                      1) Maybe you could 'graph' the user's input.  If you used bar chart, maybe you could get something that approximates the display you are looking for that would dynamically adjust to the user's input.


                      2) Long before we had webviewers or charting, people had figured out ways to create a 'progress bar' effect using only FileMaker-native (and by now, ancient) methods.  Something like setting up a field in which you stored a character that would display (in a particular font) as a solid box, or container fields with repetitions that you could set to a solid color (from a global container field) that are arranged on the screen so that they give the effect of a bar changing from 'empty' to 'full'.  I could see an array of such repeating elements in a fixed area of the screen that your could 'fill in' based on calculations from the user's input.  For example, you could set up a grid of 11 x 22 squares that could cover everything up to a 11 x 22 cm page.  A bit tedious to set up, but should cover the requirement.


                      Of course, this won't scale, and if the input is beyond the pre-defined range, you can't display properly.  A bit more complex would be a 100 x 100 square array and some calculations that scale the user's input and then fill in the appropriate squares.


                      Instead of containers, you might be able to use conditional formatting for the display, but either way, you'd want a nice set up calculations to create the array of 'boxes' to fill in.


                      -- Drew Tenenholz

                      • 8. Re: Variable field sizes

                        Dear Drew,


                        I understand what you mean, but what I need is actually the size of the text boxes - i.e. if you ask for a title of a job - it makes sense that it is 8 cm wide. When you ask for size of paper (w x h) logically it makes more sense to place these two fields next to each other with "x" in between and "mm" in the end :-)


                        However since the fields are not fixed but variable according to product type I would need to define the size of the text box dynamically ...


                        The database I am setting up is to me a new way of doing FM databases, since I want data, business and perception to be made in a way, so it is easier for our programmers in India to re-do the database in .NET platform at a later stage...


                        Maybe it doesn't make sense, but I am not at all into PHP and IWP is not good enough in my opionion (out of the box), so I need to offer a client/server based solution to our customers - at least for a start!!




                        N.B. But thank you for your answer and most appreciated...

                        • 9. Re: Variable field sizes

                          Hi Morten,


                          If the solution is for web display/web access, then it is much easier to vary the layout depending on content. Web pages are - now - much more flexible and dynamic than desktop applications like FileMaker ...


                          But to avoid misunderstandings: I did not state that web-applications would be easier to work with or more userfriendly. Just that you can controlle the display/hide/show/resize the fields.


                          Best regards



                          • 10. Re: Variable field sizes

                            Morten --