Formatting Currency Fields On FileMaker Layouts

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

TWITTER: dwaynewright
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On a FileMaker layout, you can assign formatting options for number fields. One of the most popular number formatting options, for the developer, is the display of currency related values. A layout used to show invoice transactions would contain many possible number fields that are currency related and that is a nice example for us to work with.

Here you can see the number fields formatted as currency at the bottom of the Invoicing screen in my InBizness SOHO product.

Here you can see the easiest way to bring up your number formatting options for a field. All you need to do is find that field, right click that field to bring up the contextual menu and choose that option. That will bring up the classic number formatting dialog box.

For the most part, this area is broken down into three main sections that allow the developer to precisely format decimal number location, proper currency notation, various separators and options for formatting negative numbers.

There are a lot of international variations for formatting currency fields. I’m quite naive about international currency, so I’ll have to focus solely upon the US options that I have experience with.

The Fixed Number Of Decimal Digits option isn’t something I’ve used that often. In the US currency display, you will generally want to show 2 digits or none at all. Display 2 digits to show dollars and cents. Use 0 digits if you want to show dollar amount only. Likewise, I have always used the notation options of the currency notation (notably the $ sign) appear before the number and I always leave the “Do not display number if zero) unchecked.

I usually do show the thousands separator. I like the idea of breaking numbers up to be more readable. I have occasions where I will turn ON the Use Color option for negative numbers and go with the default setting of red. That was primarily used on reports and I think conditional formatting is probably a better way to go.

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