FileMaker Discoveries

FileMaker 8: Rearranging Tabs At Will

Entry Screen With Tabs 470

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.

Map Tab-470Px

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.

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3 replies on “FileMaker 8: Rearranging Tabs At Will”

An obvious situation that I’ve run into with tab issues is that in certain cases, an admin or developer wants to hide a tab or password protect a tab to prevent access from low-level users. Obviously, in such a case a Tab control is not ideal. Otherwise, they rock and are a huge timesaver.

Thanks for that tip, Denis. One way to deal with that – kind of a work around – is to put access to those kinds of layouts in buttons and not create a tab for it. If there aren’t very many of those, it might be worth using the tab control for 95% of requirements and just put a button somewhere that the eligible user can use.

Firstly, many thanks for all of the great info you post!
One question I have about tabs is whether the data for every tab panel is collected entirely upon opening the record, or is the data collected only once the tab is activated.
This has major implications if FMP does the former.
For example, say your inventory system has an ‘Item Detail’ layout with some tabs for ‘Manufacturer Info’, ‘Order History’ (which has a portal), ‘Stock Issue’ (which also has a portal), etc. If a clerk simply wants to see the manufacturer part number, it would be a shame if FMP was busy collecting the Order History & Stock Issue data when it’s not needed.
Do you have any insight which method FMP utilizes?
Thanks again for all of your contributions!

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