FileMaker Value Lists Outside Data Entry

From Dwayne Wright PMP
Certified FileMaker Developer

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Value lists are a powerful method of adding data and help minimize the risk mistyped information. Many general developers may not realize the power that can be leverage in using value lists in other areas. The goal of this post is to help introduce a couple of those areas to you.


Field level validation is a safe guard process against typos, inconsistent data entry, duplicate records and other database editing process that can hurt the overall integrity of your data structure. When data is entered into a field with validation options set, if the data conforms to the validation settings, nothing will happen.

One of the validation options is to make sure the data entered matches to the options that are available in a particular value list. To do this from your field validation dialog box, you simply click the checkbox next to the words "Member of Value List" and then pick from the value list pull down menu. If the value list is not there, you can create one on the fly by choosing the Define Value Lists selection at the bottom of that list. You can even edit an existing value list the same way.

To add even more power and flexibility to this validation option, a value list can be composed of data within a field. I've used this when I want to have a separate table of values that I want to use as a validation option. This makes the list dynamic and can be updated constantly. The field used for the value list can even be filtered by a relationship. That is to say, the value list is only made up of data in a field only for the records that match a relationship setting!


A sort by value list can be very helpful in the crafting of reports that might have grouped totals based upon a sub summary part. To sort a field by a value list, you click the field you want in the sort order. Next you click the radio button for Customer Order Based On Value List. From the pull down menu from that selections right, choose the value list you want to use.


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