You can use a tooltip to provide a hint on what the field requires. In layout mode, select the field and enter a tooltip on the Position tab of the inspector.
Alternatively, if you are using FM13, you can use the hide function to hide some hint text superimposed on the field. I currently use this method. Just create a text label, put it on top of the field you want the hint for, and on the Data tab of the inspector, enter a condition under which you want to hide the hint text, e.g. not isempty(TextField).
You can put a text box overlaying the field. The text would be the “label” you want the user to see, and you can specify any text color (gray, for example) that you like.
Just specify that this text box is to be “hidden” when the underlying field is “not empty”.
The new “Hide object when” feature (on the “Data” tab of the Inspector dialog) in FM 13 is the coolest thing since
Yet another way is to put the hint text behind the field on the layout and make the field's fill-color transparent using custom formatting based on the formula:
Is Empty (Self)
or simply based on the null value for content is equal to
I'm thinking the "Hide object when" might be lighter weight than conditional formatting, since the result of evaluating the formula as True is to do nothing. I've not done any testing to confirm, but this is my sense of the situation ...
Thank you all for responding so quickly. I've just got back in and will try the solutions you've recommended and let you know how I make out. Much appreciated!
I'd be interested in any testing on the relative "weight" of each option.
I also think the "hide" option is slicker, but it's not supported by anything pre-13, while the others still work back several versions, and it's always nice to have options that work with all FMP12 file clients.