Sliding FileMaker Layout Objects

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

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The term “sliding objects” refers to a combination of things including a menu command, a layout setting and a printing activity. The idea is that you don’t want to have a lot of dead space when you are printing a layout.

FYI ... It is important to make the distinction between sliding and auto resizing (a feature added with the release of FileMaker 9). The Layout Auto Resize feature allows the developer to change how a FileMaker layout behaves when the user adjusts its window size while in browse mode. Layout objects do not have a shrinking action based upon anchors, simply the ability to enlarge or shift to open space if the window is enlarged.

Back to our discussion of sliding, generally speaking, dead space on a layout may have to do with a field (merge or otherwise) that is missing information or does not have enough information to fill the space allowed for it on the layout (and the later printed page). Without a sliding event, you would have a hole of missing information in your printout.

This option is available in layout mode under the Format menu.

To use this feature, you select objects in layout mode that you want to shift (if possible) if there is open space to the left, to the top or within the object itself. The within object may deal with a large scrolling comments field that you want to collapse to print just the part that has the data within it.

Also within the same dialog box that you use to coordinate your printing / sliding options, is the ability to choose not to print the object(s) at all. So you might have fields (or other objects) that are there for data entry but you wouldn’t print out for a client to see. This saves you from having to create a data entry layout and a printing layout for this purpose.

When you are in layout mode, you might want to see which items are sliding and which ones are not. One of the easiest ways to do this is via the Show sub-menu from under the Layout menu. Here you can choose to highlight various aspects of layout objects including the ones set for sliding.

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