FileMaker Custom Menus In The Wild

From Dwayne Wright PMP
Certified FileMaker Developer

TWITTER: dwaynewright
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Say that you want to give your users a custom menu at the top of your FileMaker solution? I do this all the time. In fact, sometimes I want to have a custom menu available for each main entity within a solution. If the user is in a layout that is using the clients table, I want a Client menu at the top with available operations specific to client data. The same can be true for layouts using the invoice table, the inventory table or the correspondence table.

The ability to create custom menus is a FileMaker Advanced feature. Before custom menus, you could have custom features available under the Scripts menu but you couldn’t dynamically control what scripts would show under what conditions. As of FileMaker 9 Advanced, you cannot dynamically control custom menus either but by scripting you can change what custom menu is being used at any point in time.

So before you start creating the menu, how about a little planning first? Think about what you want to see under the new menu. Let’s say that we are going to create a custom menu with the user is within any of the layouts that are using the invoice table. Here are some ideas of things you might want to add ...

New Invoice
Duplicate Invoice With Line Items
View Related Inventory Items
Print Current Invoice
Print Invoices In Found Set
Apply Payment To Invoice
Create Related Credit Memo
Create Related RMA
REPORT: Invoices With Balances
REPORT: Invoices Past Due

Wow, that would be custom menu that many professionals that have to work with invoice data may really appreciate! A lot of your former FileMaker users might be used to the New Record command (and its associated keyboard shortcut) that resides under the Records menu. You can create a scripted new record operation, remove the default New Record command from under the Records menu, substitute your New Record command and assign it the traditional keyboard shortcut. So the fact that users will be running your New Record script instead of default New Record command is totally transparent to the user.
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