FileMaker Layouts Have An Internal Stacking Order

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

TWITTER: dwaynewright
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A layout is a collection of objects such as fields, text strings, graphics, lines, boxes, buttons and of course portals. Although transparent to the user, objects on a FileMaker layout screen are stored in layers or stacks. So a layout with just two fields has two layers, one above the other and one has one field and the other layer has the other field. You add another field to the layout, you have also added another layer to it.

Each object resides on it's own layer of a layout and is stacked by default on the order of which you placed them on the layout. The newest objects are on the top layer. When you place a new object on a layout, every previous object goes down a layer in order.

Here you can see two buttons that intersect in an area and how one appears above the other.

Objects on the topmost layers get priority on screen refresh operations, so when you drag one layout object onto another, you will see one go behind the other. This illustrates the use of layering.

The Send To Back Command is used to send an object to the very back layout layer. All other objects on the layout will be in front of it. Other commands for moving objects up and down layers include Send To Front, Bring Forward and Send Backward. The Send To Front performs the opposite action as Send To Back. The Bring Forward and Send Backward commands will move an object one layer forward or backward.

You may have be familiar with this by now but there is an exception. Yes, it always works like this until it is different, true FileMaker fashion. When FileMaker 8 was introduced, a cute little feature called Tabs was introduced and quickly took layouts by storm. Objects within tab panels behave in a similar fashion but independent of the other layout objects.

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© 2008 - Dwayne Wright -

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