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Creating a Data Entry Layout in FileMaker Pro

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Sometimes, the default layout presented by Filemaker Pro will work just fine, but most of the time you'll want to do some customization. This chapter takes you step-by-step through the process of customizing a data entry layout in Filemaker Pro 8.
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As explained in Chapter 2, the default layout created when you define the initial set of fields can sometimes be used as-is. But if you want the database to be attractive and pleasant to use, it's more common to design a custom layout instead. Normally, layouts are created with the New Layout/Report wizard. By starting with the wizard, you can select a formatting theme and colors, as well as specify the fields to use. However, since our default layout already contains the necessary fields, we'll use it as the starting point for Main, the data entry layout. (Note that all changes to layouts are made in Layout mode.)

about layout tools

While some simple layout modifications (such as changing a field or label's size and position) can be accomplished using only the Selection tool (the arrow), FileMaker has many other tools you can use to create and edit layouts.

In Layout mode, the tool panel appears in the status area. To create an object, select a drawing tool, such as the Line Tool. To change a property of a selected object (such as its fill color), select Fill or Pen Tool options.

You'll use commands and options on the Text Formatting toolbar (below) to change the formatting of fields, field labels, and static text strings on the layout. If the toolbar isn't visible, choose View > Toolbars > Text Formatting.

Use the Size palette (View > Object Size) to precisely set an object's size or position. The numbers in the Size palette change to reflect the currently selected object's position, width, and height. To change the object's position or size, type a new number into the appropriate box and press tab.gif or return.gif/enter.gif.

To enable or disable a layout tool, choose its command from the View menu. A View command preceded by a check mark is enabled.

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