Not easily and not for long lists of values or for value lists where you need to use two fields in the value list setup.
There is a way to specify an arbitrary order for your table of values if you can fit the use of your value list within those limitations.
Add two fields to your table of values: Order: a number field and cSortKey, a calculation with this rather unusual calculation:
Substitute ( 10^Order - 1 ; 9 ; " " )
^ is the exponent key so if order = 3, you get 10 raised to the 3rd power or 1000. Subtract one and you get 999. The subsitute function then replaces the 9's with spaces. Thus an order of 5 generates 5 spaces where an Oder of 2 generates 2 spaces.
Set up your value list with the specify field option and choose your value field for field one and cSortKey for field two. now specify that the values be sorted by the second field.
wow... that is a clever work around... i like it! mind if i ask a follow up? this is the first time that i am trying to use a table based value list. my initial thought was to have a single record in this table and a field for each value list that i was going to set up this way. each field would contain the values separated by a carriage return. i thought this would be simple to implement and also allow the user to customize the value list by simply providing them access to the fields in this table as needed to edit directly. however, that clearly will not work with the method you outlined which, if i understand it correctly, would require a separate record for each value? what i don't completely understand (among many things, of course!), is how you structure this for more than one value list. for example, if i have two value lists and one of them has 10 values and the other has 2 values, then there are 8 empty records (or i should say 8 empty fields in those 8 records that are not needed for the shorter value list). are the empty values ignored when generating the list? do you need a separate order field and csort field for each value list related field? it seems like it would also require a moderate amount of scripting to allow a casual user the ability to edit fields? is this how you would implement your technique or is there a better way... i'm assuming you don't make a separate table for wach value list?
You should use separate tables for each such value list. And you definitely want separate records for every value. This way, you can use all of the tools for managing records in your database for managing the values in your value lists. Portals, sorted lists, table views, etc can be very useful methods for managing these lists of values.
You may also want to consider setting up conditional value lists instead of your arbitrarily ordered lists. With a conditional value list, you can select a category in value list a, and then the values shown in value list b are only those values which are members of that selected category.
Forum Tutorial: Custom Value List?
Knowledgebase article: http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5833/kw/conditional%20value%20list
thanks phil... that's very helpful (especially the demo file)!