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New behavior for drop down lists


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I've seen a few people frustrated by this, as I have been, without any really clear answers. So I sat down and figured this out this morning. Hope this helps anyone else who has been stuck on this.

The behavior of drop down lists has changed in FM 7. In FM 6 if you set up a drop down list from a value list, and the value list was set to also show another value, and sort by that 2nd value, then typing in a field would take you to the 2nd value.

For example, if you have a list of ID numbers and Animals, where the value list is sorted by the animal name rather than the ID number:

1 Ape

6 Bat

3 Cat

2 Dog

5 Elephant

4 Frog

Type A and Ape is highlighted. Select it, and 1 is stored in the field. Then you'd put a related field on top of this to display the actual name of the animal.

With Version 7, however, the behavior has changed. Typing 'A' does not take you to 'Ape.' You'd need to type a 1. This is not realistic for lists with thousands of items.

So I came up with a new (for me) way of doing this. The value list is made up of the actual names of the elements, with some unique ID concatenated onto it. (You needed to do this much before. Even if the ID's were unique, if two records had the same second value, only the first would appear in the list.)

Once the name is selected, the the corresponding ID is found via a lookup, and a related field is placed on top of this. It actually works much more cleanly than my old way.

An example file is attached. A simple list of 4 people. Each person has a partner, who is another record in the table. Note how I've used a non-proportional font (Courrier) to make the values in the drop down line up nicely.

Any comments are appreciated.



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  • 3 weeks later...
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You are exactly right! FMP 6 had the "quick scroll" feature. FMR 7 does not... at least not yet. For all of the thousands and thousands of power users out there that have large db's, with say tons of parts, inventory, etc., this is a MAJOR problem. When we upgraded from v5 to v7, I would expect more, not less. I am sending a msg to FMP to put back that functionality in the 7.xv rev.

The more users that respond to this problem, hopefully the faster they will put back the functionality.

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Thanks for the example DanBrill

I do not understand why FileMaker who is known for its ease of use, does not put a width of column parameter in its value lists. In Microsoft Access one of the nice features it had was its flexibility in defining value lists. You coudl make as many columns as you wanted in your value lists and specify the width of each one independantly.

I had made a request in years past for this feature but it appreantly was not implemented.

The quick scroll feature is a must.... as well as assigning the related field you want to a value

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  • 2 weeks later...

I attended the magnificant seven tour and asked this question from one of the filemaker programers. I was told it is a bug and will be fixed, but probably not in time for v2 (this was just before v2 came out). So I assume a fix will be in v3. I can not up grade until this is fixed.

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"if two records had the same second value, only the first would appear in the list"

There is a TechInfo article about this: from memory the workaround/solution is to make sure the second value is not indexed. The easiest way to do this is to make an unstored calc field equal to the second field, and specify this calc field in the value list.

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Thanks Dan for the unique work-around. My solution is much simpler. I am not upgrading the rest of our PCs to version 7 until this bug is fixed. I have found several more major problems that makes me question how well V7 was beta tested prior to its release.

Have you seen this one? If you have a numeric field displayed from another file with a boolian format of "Yes / No", the value (Yes or No)is not displayed until the cursor enters the field.

Another problem (that I fixed) is if I have a script that performs an external script, then stops in a field in a portal that has a value list pop-up, waiting for input, the pop-up list does not display. When I exit the script and go to the field, all is ok. What I had to do was add the "Select Window (Current Window)" script step after the external script. My guess is that since V7 can have multiple windows open, that even though I only had one window open, it didn't know what window to go to upon returning from the external file.

When working with a database with over 150 files with thousands of scripts, these time consuming patches won't work for me. I'm staying with V6.

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