Sorting A FileMaker Portal Row

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

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
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Way back when FileMaker 4.0 came out, one of the new features that brought a long and loud applause from the FileMaker community was the ability to sort portal rows. This feature was added to the dialog box you use to define a relationship. So the sorting of portal rows is not a portal thing but a relationship thing. Since portals use relationships, the sort order applies to them as well.


Here you can see the sort order for a relationship. Unless a different sort order is defined to a particular portal (via it’s dialog box), then any portals using that relationship will be sorted in that manner. It appears over each defined table occurrence in the relationship due to the bi-directional nature of FileMaker relationships.

Then when FileMaker 7 came out, the feature was added to sort a portal based upon the define portal dialog box. So now you can have two portals on a layout using the same relationship. One could be sorted one way and the other portal sorted another.

For example, I have a relationship in a clients file to an invoice file by a client id field. In the client file, I want to have two portals using this relationship side by side. One portal I want reverse sorted by invoice date. This way the most recent invoices show up in the top of the portal. In the other portal, I want the invoices sorted by the highest invoice total to the smallest.


Here you can see the portal sorting setting via a portal sorting dialog box. This setting will override the sort setting of the relationship.

In some extreme cases, portal sorting might slow down the screen refresh as FileMaker goes from one record to the next. This can happen when you have a very large number of records, a sort order that uses unstored values, a slow network or any combination thereof.

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© 2007 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

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