Once you have FileMaker Pro 8 or 8 Advanced, it won’t take you long to create a tab control to stash away extra information for a record. Creating a control with several tabs takes all of about 30 seconds. The instant gratification quotient is off the charts.
But my favorite part about the tab control is that once you’ve created the tabs and put fields and objects onto them, you can change your mind and instantly rearrange the tabs to an order that suits you or your client by dragging the tab labels up or down in the list. You can experiment with the order without penalty.
The reason this works so well, is that all the fields and objects put onto a tab panel automatically attach themselves to the panel. This gives you the ability to drag the whole tab control around on your layout and also lets you rearrange tab panels without having to take extra time moving the contents of those panels!
I decided to experiment with 8 using my own FileMaker system that runs my business. I took a layout that was just too darned big and decided to use tabs to allow me to take things off the layout and keep them somewhere very handy.
Above is an example which is still in progress as far as the redesign of the layout goes. Now that I have all this room, I want to re-think the layout and make it more attractive. I’m very much experimenting, but here I’ve got one big tab area and a smaller one for little stuff.
The big tab area gives me room for wide portals for things like invoices. It also gives me room for notes and big graphics like the maps I use.
Besides the shear speed of doing nice-looking tabs in your designs, another thing I like is the speed of switching between tabs. These things fly. There’s minimal overhead.
Now my only problem is deciding when to use a tab control and where to actually create layouts. FileMaker says use them to expand what you can put on a single layout. I would love to hear your thoughts.