If you are using filemaker 10, you could set script triggers on the fields set to fire "onObjectEnter" that check for the lock condition and then use show custom dialog to inform the user with the message you want them to see.
Thanks for the reply.
Am I right in thinking that I could replace the privilages completely with multiple onObjectEnter scripts. one would 'bounce' them back out of the object after showing the custom message 'you cant do that...' another would either allow them to continue (enter the field) or bounce them out with a 'this record is locked' message. I guess the main difference is that the privilages are global but the script would have to be applied to each field.
Thanks for your help it will make the database much more friendly.
You'll have much better security if you keep the access privileges. With script triggers, you have to be completely consistent from layout to layout and this can make future updates a real nightmare in many database solutions.
To make it work I found that I had to keep the privileges as the popup did not show untill I clicked out of the field (I checked that I had not set the on exit by mistake) I modified the custome message so that they can select either OK or Unlock from the pop up so now they are atleast told why they do not have the privileges afert they close the error message and the can unlock the record from the second message.
Two clicks insted of one but they would have had to close the first error and realise that the record was locked then click on the unlock buton on the layout before so we have improved a bit.
Thanks for your advise.