1 2 Previous Next 17 Replies Latest reply on Oct 21, 2011 10:56 AM by Snafu58

    << >> function



      << >> function




      I am a relatively inexperienced Filemaker Pro user who has taken over maintenance of a database for work.

      In one of our invoicing layouts, there is a text object that contains "Unit # - <<Unit #>>"

      This shows the unit # on the invoicing layout. 

      For some reason I can not understand, this text object does not show up on certain invoices.

      I understand that I could replace the text object with an inserted field.

      However, for my own knowledge, I would like to know exactly what the <<  >> modifier does and why it doesn't work all the time.

      Also, I can not find information for these modifiers (<< >>) in my Filemaker Pro Bible!  Does anyone know where there is a list of these?



        • 1. Re: << >> function

          Those are for merge fields.  They allow you to insert the contents of a field like Unit# in line with layout text and have it automatically adjust to the length of that text.  When you insert a field you define its size and the position of the surrounding text (unless you set the sliding options.  So if you make the field large enough to contain a long word and then enter a short word there will be blank space on one side of the field, conversely if you make the field small and enter a large word the word would get truncated.

          The reason that nothing shows up in some instances would indicate that the field is empty in that record.

          • 2. Re: << >> function

            Thanks for the response Mark.


            Unfortunately, the field in that record is not empty.  It does contain a value.  However, on this particular record neither the value or the text (Unit #) shows up.

            The text is "Unit # - <<Unit #>>" and on the other 35 records for this batch, everything shows up.  For this one record, neither the text nor the merge field shows up.

            • 3. Re: << >> function

              Try placing the actual field next to it on your layout. Then, in browse mode, try clicking into this field to see the actual data in your field. This may give you a clue as to why the data in this field is not appearing in the merge block. Tells what you find and we'll see if we can't explain what you've encountered.

              • 4. Re: << >> function

                The data in the field is "X 8273" and it shows up in the field.

                I can't understand why the text part isn't showing up either. 

                If the Unit # field is left blank, the text "Unit #" still shows up in other records.

                This record does have data in the field, but neither the merge block nor the text shows up.


                • 5. Re: << >> function

                  is there any conditional formatting set?

                  • 6. Re: << >> function

                     No, there is no conditional formatting set for that text object in the layout.

                    • 7. Re: << >> function

                      I have being using this same file for over 2 years now and this is the first time I have seen it do this.

                      Completely boggled.

                      • 8. Re: << >> function

                        Can you upload a screen shot of this layout while in Layout Mode so we can see it?

                        • 9. Re: << >> function

                          Here a screen shot of the layout in layout mode.

                          Edit: Removed company info from screen shot

                          • 10. Re: << >> function

                            Hmmm, I thought maybe I'd see that this text touched or crossed a part boundary, but this is not the case here as far as I can see.

                            If you can place the Unit field on this layout and it shows the correct data (and you did say that even the "unit #" layout text was not appearing), but the rest of the layout appears to display normally, I have to think that maybe the layout has become corrupted.

                            Create a brand new layout based on the same choice in "Layout Setup | Show records From" as this layout. Then use the layout tool to add "Unit 3" to your layout and use the insert menu to insert Unit # as a merge field. (do not duplicate the original layout and do not copy anything from it to this new layout) Enter browse mode and see if this works correctly on this new layout. If so, you'll need to replace your layout or revert to an undamaged back up copy of your file.

                            You may also want to run a recover on this file to check for issues.

                            Things to keep in mind about Recover:

                            1. Recover does not detect all problems
                            2. Recover doesn't always fix all problems correctly
                            3. Best Practice is to never put a recovered copy back into regular use or development. Instead, replace the damaged file with an undamaged back up copy if this is at all possible. You may have to save a clone of the back up copy and import all data from your recovered copy to get a working copy with the most up to date information possible.
                            • 11. Re: << >> function

                              It does work correctly if I create a new layout.

                              So basically I need to create a brand new layout?  Because this old one only gave me this trouble for this one record.

                              Could it be something with the record?

                              As for recovery, I have to recover the file we're currently working on and then import the records afterwards to a back up copy?

                              I'm not sure when this layout became corrupt though?

                              • 12. Re: << >> function

                                The recover will report on the problems found and then try to fix any such. I frequently use Recover as a kind of "cat scan" of my files to check for problems--using back up copies in place of the original if any problems are reported. Thus, I'd run recover to see if any other problems are found. If no problems are found or only problems with this layout, then you may be able to just recreate this one layout and go forward, but "best practice" is to replace files with any such damage with an undamaged back up copy as it's impossible to know for sure what damage really exists and what changes the recover process may have made in producing the recovered copy.

                                There's a small chance that you just need to either delete this one record and re-enter it's data or re-index your file. Rebuilding the indexes doesn't change any other part of your file so this is pretty safe to do with advanced recover options.

                                If you have FileMaker 11, you can use Advanced Recovery options to rebuild your file's indexes:

                                1. With the file closed, select Recover from the File Menu.
                                2. Select "Use advanced Options"
                                3. Select only: "Copy File Blocks as-is" and "Rebuild Field Indexes Now".
                                • 13. Re: << >> function

                                  Thanks for all your help! 

                                  I'll be attempting to do an Advanced Recovery once I boot everyone off the system at the end of the day!

                                  I'm assuming its best not done while the file is being shared and used.


                                  • 14. Re: << >> function

                                    You can't do it even then if it is hosted by Filemaker Server, but if you have a backup copy, you can pull the back up copy across the network to your development machine and run the recover on it. (We use server to generate backups every hour and then use a different server schedule to do a verified backup every evening after business hours...)

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