Greyed out tables in the portal dialog are either the current table your layout is on, or unrelated tables.
You should see a small "unrelated tables" indicator above the list of greyed out tables.
This means you need to create a relationship between the table your layout is pulling from, and the table your portal is pulling from.
You can only use portals to show RELATED data. The quasi-exception to this is cartesian (choosing the "X" under the relationship dialog in manage database). Cartesian will show you all records from the related table. You can then use portal filtering to filter the records you want to show.
Thanks Mike..I had to walk away from the PC a min..and come back..I got it..thanks a bunch.