Creating A FileMaker List View Via The Assistant

From Dwayne Wright PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
Certified FileMaker Developer

TWITTER: dwaynewright
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A list layout is the most simple type of report and creating one is very easy in FileMaker. So I thought that I’d cover it quickly before we go too deep into all the different aspects of FileMaker’s report design options.

Step 1 - Open an existing FileMaker file or create a new one from scratch. Make sure the file has a few fields in it that could be used in a list. This can be something as simple as first name, last name and phone number. Make sure you have 3 or more records worth of data in the file as well.

Step 2 - Next we need to put FileMaker into layout mode. This can be done a number of ways. You can choose layout from the View menu, use the keyboard shortcut ( Command L for Macs ) ( Control L for Windows ), you can use the pop up menu in the lower left corner of the screen or you can even execute a script that has the Go To Layout Mode script step within it.

Multiple Ways To Enter Into Layout Mode

Step 3 - When you enter into layout mode, you will notice that you now have a Layout menu option. From here, select to create a new layout by selecting the first option of New Layout / Report. In the following dialog box, select the Columnar list / report option and click the Next button.

Step 4 - The next window in the assistant allows you to create a simple list or a report with grouped data. The grouped data option uses the sub-summary layout part that we discussed briefly earlier. We won’t go into that option now but will explore it in detail ( maybe more detail than you really want ) later on in this guide. So from here, select the first option of Columnar List / Report. There is one option to this setting of Constrain to page width. This means the fields will only extend to the defined print limits of a page. This is great for layouts you know that are going to be printed and not so necessary for view only lists. We haven’t covered this yet but you can have 2 layouts with the same data. One for viewing and one for printing. You can write a script that will print the layout best suited for printing from the layout the user is viewing. Depending on the printer you are using, you can use smaller font sizes that a user can view comfortably from a computer screen.

Step 5 - The next window in the assistant allows you to specify the fields you want in the layout. You can select the fields you want from the list on the left, click the move button and the field will appear in the list on the right. The list on the right reflects the fields that will be on the layout in the order they will appear. You can move these fields up and down in the list to change the order in which they will appear. We should also mention that you can use fields from a valid relationship as well in this layout. The related fields can be found from the pop down menu right about the left hand list.

Step 6 - The next window will allow you to choose a sort order for the report. This doesn’t really mean anything unless you have a script attached to this sort order. FileMaker will not sort a found set of record by simply going to a particular layout. This option can be valuable for reports using sub-summary parts with their necessary break fields. Using the assistant, you can create a sub-summary type of report, specify the sort order and build the script all on the fly. This isn’t necessary for this discussion but we will cover it when we are covering those types of reports. For more information on sort options, check out all the posts we have in my found set blog.

CHAPTER 3: Sorting The Found Set Explored (17)

Step 7 - The next window is used for you to choose one of the provided FileMaker themes. Some of these themes may seem to be a little odd to you and not that business like. However, it should be noted that some of these themes look great when used with the Instant Publishing option of the Web Companion. On the internet, many of these themes look stunning. If you know XML, you can create and save your own themes.

About The Layout Assistant And Themes

Step 8 - The next window is very cool. It allows you to show information in the header and / or the footer that tell the user something about the list / report. Some of this information can be seen when you are viewing the layout in browse mode and some of it can only be seen when in print preview or when printed out.

Step 9 - The next window allows you to create a script on the fly for going to this layout. This can be very useful for complicated reports that have multiple steps. The script that is automatically created for you is very basic.

Step 10 - The final step asks you what mode you want to be in when the assistant ends. You can be in preview mode for those complicated reports using sub-summary parts. However, most of the time you will want to be in layout mode. This allows you to add any customizations you want on the newly created report.

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© 2008 - Dwayne Wright -

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