FileMaker List View To Browse View Methods

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

TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

Going from list view to the form view for a particular record can be handled a number of different ways. Now if you allow your users access to the layout pull down menu, they can navigate layouts from there. This is one of the methods that works just fine with simple databases. Sometimes FileMaker databases mimic teenagers and seem to grow up overnight. I don’t think they will ever ask you for the keys to the car but they can outgrow your earlier methods to deal with them.

In this case, the layout list menu can get a little crowed when a FileMaker database evolves to the state where it has a lot of layouts. It is not uncommon for every table to have separate layout for a form, list and print view. So a button / menu activated navigation system is quickly created by the FileMaker developer to overcome the need to navigate a long list of layout.

Another advantage to developing your own method of layout navigation is that you can flavor the experience. For example, you can have the layout window resize, give it a custom name in the title bar or perform some other background action. So here are some designed variations I've used or seen.

Now I want to steer this discussion to the moving from a list view to the form view techniques. However, the technique of moving from a portal row to the related record is quite similar and most developer use the same implementation for both.

One very simple technique is to put a button in the header that goes to form view. So the user needs to select which listed record they want first and then click the form view button.

My favorite method is the button icon (typically a magnifying glass icon, but more about that debate later). I put the button along the left side of the screen. Clicking upon it will take you to form view from that particular record. In some ways, using a magnifying glass icon is confusing. Many times that icon is used to illustrate a search procedure and I use it as a "drill down" indicator. I just have never seen an icon better than the magnifying glass icon.


Now I was watching one of the training videos from for FileMaker 10, given by longtime developer / trainer John Mark Osborne. The second to last movie in the Final Touches series, John illustrates how to make the entire line of the list view into a button.

FYI ... I’ve really enjoyed the FileMaker 10 VTC training series lately. I've been watching the Advanced version with runs about 12 hours in duration. There are also Beginner (15 hours) and Intermediate (15 hours) FileMaker 10 training series.


I'm not sure how I would do it but there may be a technique in there somewhere. Going back to the VTC training movies for a moment, there is a movie called Navigation in the Event Driven Scripting section of the same FileMaker 10 Advanced VTC Course. It uses a variation of an old value list pull down layout navigation. Before FileMaker 10, you had to click a "Go To" button. Script triggers take away that limitation and really makes you start thinking about navigation in new ways.

More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at

© 2009 - Dwayne Wright -

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.