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Working with Fields in Layouts

When you're working with layouts remember: Adding a field to a layout isn't the same thing as creating a field for the database. Layouts are simply differing views of the same data. Add a layout or delete a layout—either way the database itself isn't changed. The same notion applies when adding a field to a layout: It's just a view of a field that's already been created within the database.

For information on how to create a brand new field, see To define a field on page 110. Once you've created a field, you can easily add it to a new layout directly without having to define it again. In fact, however, it's common while designing a layout to discover that you need to define a new field. Just keep straight the difference between defining fields for the database versus adding a field to a layout and you'll be fine.

To add a field to a layout:

  1. To add already defined fields to a layout, click on the Field button in the left-hand Layout status area and drag the resulting field where you want it within the layout (Figure 10.65).

    Figure 10.65Figure 10.65 To add an already defined field to a layout, click on the status area's Field button and drag the resulting field to where you want it.

  2. When the Specify Field dialog box appears, click on a name for the new field (Figure 10.66). You can add a field defined in another database by clicking on the Current File pop-down menu above the field list and navigating to the database with the desired field.

    Figure 10.66Figure 10.66 Selecting the Field button will open the Specify Field dialog box, allowing you to select a field definition (and add its name if you leave the bottom box checked).


  3. If you want a field label to appear in the layout, also check the Create field label box below the list.

  4. Click OK. The layout will reappear with the added field. If you want to further format the field, see Formatting Fields or Objects on page 189.

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If you want to redefine the just-added field, stay in Layout mode and just double-click on the field. The Specify Field dialog box will reappear, allowing you to pick another field definition.

To delete a field from a layout:

  1. Make sure you're in Layout mode ( in Windows, on the Mac). Select the field you want to delete by clicking it.

  2. Press .

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Remember: Deleting a field from a layout merely removes it from that layout. The data and field still exist in the database and, so, can be used in other layouts as you need them.

Resizing fields

Sometimes you create a field and only later realize that it is too small for the intended text. (Figure 10.67). In that case, the text will be cut off. Resizing solves the problem.

Figure 10.67Figure 10.67 To resize a field in Layout mode, click on the field and drag a corner. Once back in Browse mode (bottom), the field's text is no longer cut off.


To resize a field:

  1. Switch to Layout mode ( in Windows, on the Mac).

  2. Click on the field you want to resize and hold down your cursor. The corners of the field will become small black boxes, known as handles.

  3. Drag the handles to make the field larger or smaller. When it reaches the size you want, release the cursor.

  4. Switch back ( in Windows, on the Mac) and you'll see that all the field's text now shows. Getting the field big enough may require some toggling between Layout and Browse modes to check your progress.

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To cleanly enlarge a field horizontally or vertically, click on the field and press just before you drag the handle. The field will then only expand in the direction you first drag it, whether it's horizontal or vertical.

Adding scroll bars to large text fields

Sometimes enlarging a field isn't practical, either because your layout doesn't have the room or because the field has so much text that it would overwhelm the rest of the layout (Figure 10.68). In such cases, adding a scroll bar to the text field is the best approach.

Figure 10.68Figure 10.68 Consider adding a scroll bar when a field has too much text to fit within your layout.

To add a scroll bar:

  1. Switch to Layout mode ( in Windows, on the Mac) and click on the field to select it (Figure 10.69).

    Figure 10.69Figure 10.69 Switch to Layout mode, then click on the field to select it.


  2. Choose Format > Field Format (Figure 10.70). The Field Format dialog box will appear.

    Figure 10.70Figure 10.70 Choose Format > Field Format to open the Field Format dialog box.

  3. Inside the Field Format dialog box, choose the Standard field radio button, and then check Include vertical scroll bar. Click OK (Figure 10.71).

    Figure 10.71Figure 10.71 Within the Field Format dialog box, choose the Standard field radio button, check Include vertical scroll bar, and click OK.

  4. Back in Layout mode, the field now has a scroll bar. Switch to Browse mode and you'll see that the scroll bar not only allows you to scroll through all the text but also offers an immediate visual cue that there's more text than what shows (Figure 10.72).

    Figure 10.72Figure 10.72 The field after a scroll bar is added.

To set the field tab order:

  1. Switch to Layout mode ( in Windows, on the Mac), then choose Layouts > Set Tab Order (Figure 10.73).

    Figure 10.73Figure 10.73 To change the entry order for your fields, choose Layouts > Set Tab Order from the menu.

  2. The Set Tab Order dialog box appears, along with a series of numbered arrows indicating the current tab order for your fields.

    If you want to just slightly alter the order, click on the tab number you want to change and type it in. If you assign No. 1 to an arrow, you'll also need to renumber the original No. 1 arrow (Figure 10.74). If you want to completely change the order, click on the Create new tab order radio button in the dialog box, which will eliminate all the tab numbers. Then just click on the arrows in the order you want the tab order set (Figure 10.75).

    Figure 10.74Figure 10.74 To slightly alter the existing tab order (A), click on the arrow you want to change (B), and type in the new number (C).


    Figure 10.75Figure 10.75 To completely change the tab order, click on the Create new tab order radio button, which will erase all the previous numbers (A). Then click on the arrows in the order you want the tab order set (B, C).


  3. When you're done, click OK. The new tab order is now set.

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Each layout can have its own tab order, allowing you to customize each layout for its intended users.

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