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FM - Ideas on More Efficient Navigation?

Posted on 2013-01-30
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Currently, we have numerous buttons in the headers of our layouts to navigate around.  However, as your FM db has grown, we are running out of room.  Can you provide a couple of ideas for navigating - drop-down menu?  pop-up menu?  radio buttons?  Have one drop-down for layouts across files/dbs and another for reports just in that file/db?  Looking for best practices and consistent look across layouts and databases.

P.S. - Currently down to 4 files/dbs and about 12 main layouts with hundreds of other layouts and reports.
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Question by:rvfowler2
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by:Andrew Angell
Andrew Angell earned 664 total points
ID: 38836299
First, you could simply clean up your layout list and make sure to only display layouts that you'll actually be using on a daily basis.  Then the built in FM layout list sort of becomes your drop down.

You could create a value list with your layout names and then write a script to change to a layout using the layout  name as a script parameter.  This way you could bind that to buttons, drop down lists, etc. and have it switch to the correct layout based on the name that you pass in from the button/field choice.
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by:rvfowler2
ID: 38836788
Cleaned up layouts already in the layout list, grouping them, etc., however, needed buttons because most layouts need a certain found set and sort, etc.  I like your 2nd idea; I've already used that once for a group of reports in one of our files.  Do people usually prefer drop downs to a grouped set of buttons?
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by:Andrew Angell
ID: 38836814
I think that would depend on the particular layout and the device being used.  You may want separate layouts for standard computer and mobile experience, for example.
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by:Will Loving
Will Loving earned 1336 total points
ID: 38837053
Since you have Filemaker Advanced, I would strongly recommend you consider creating a Menu using the Custom Menus function the includes reports and other special functions. If you have a lot of reports you can have a "Reports" menu as well as "Special" or "Functions" menu. Custom menus can also be specific to a particular layout, so that you can have a "Reports" menu on each layout but have it show different reports depending on where the user is. It's also possible to make the appearance of reports conditional based on a calculation or privilege set, just use the Specify Calculation option when specifying the Menu Item's name to define if and when it actually appears in the menu.

Finally, you can also create sub-menus for for example I sometimes have a large number of custom exports that are needed but only once every few months. I create a submenu for them and put that at the bottom of the Reports menu.

Using Custom reports will allow you to recover considerable screen real estate and put lesser used function where they belong.
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by:Andrew Angell
ID: 38837082
I was not aware of the Custom Menus options in FMPA.  Thanks for pointing that out.  I would offer the same advise now that I took a quick look at them.

Thanks willmcn.
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by:rvfowler2
ID: 38837108
Seems really convenient, except for needing a script to go to a particular found set or sort criteria.  You could easily set a Script Trigger OnEnter of the Layout, but I have found that often causes more problems when I need a different found set or I forget about the trigger.  How do you solve that issue?
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Will Loving earned 1336 total points
ID: 38837179
Custom Menus Items are usually tied directly to a script, though they can also be made to perform standard functions as well. I often create a "Find" script and substitute that in for the standard - "just go into Find mode" - menu function. So when the user selects "Find" or type Command-F or Control-F, I take them to a special "Find" layout and then I process the results to take either say "No  records found, try again", show them a form view if one record was found or a list view if there are multiples.

You can take any existing menu item and change what it does or attach a script instead and you can create infinite new menus and menu items to do whatever you want.
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Author Closing Comment

by:rvfowler2
ID: 38837401
Thanks, it helps.  Though I do research this type of stuff, I always want to double check with the experts to see if I have the most efficient, effective, and even artistic solution.  Thanks to you both.
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