Value list

What is a value list in FileMaker?

A value list in the FileMaker environment is a list of values that can be used within the FileMaker solution, for example in drop-down lists, pop-up menus or checkboxes. A value list can consist of either predefined static values or dynamic values generated from the database itself. The definition of value lists in FileMaker is done under the menu item [File > Manage > Value lists].

Managing value lists in FileMaker

Static value lists in FileMaker

Static value lists are used if all values of a value list can be defined in advance without problems. This is the case, for example, if certain status fields should contain a certain value or not. The following example shows a corresponding value list for a status field “Auto Post”.

Static value list in FileMaker

To create a static value list, the last option [Use special values] is selected and the corresponding values are entered into the displayed text field. You can also insert hyphens in a static value list by simply creating a line with a hyphen (-).

Inspector: Allow editing of the value listIf this value list is now used, for example, with a checkbox, radio button or drop-down list, it can be specified for the respective field object in the FileMaker inspector whether the value list can be modified and extended by the user. When selecting the field and setting up the field type with value list, an additional entry [Edit…] appears, after which the user can edit and extend the entries in the respective value list during the runtime of the database. For this purpose, a new dialog appears on the screen for editing the value list.

Dynamic value lists in FileMaker

Value lists can also be set up in FileMaker to contain dynamic data from connected databases. For this purpose, the option [Use values from field:] is selected when defining the value list, and the following dialog appears:

Definition of dynamic value lists in FileMaker

In the left column, you define which field of a related table should be used to fill the value list. Below this you can define whether the value list should contain all values of the field of the related table or only related values based on an existing relation. This can be necessary, for example, if only data related to the called customer should be displayed in the value list.

In the right column you can define a second field, whose data should be displayed in addition to the first field. If the option [Show values only from the 2nd field] is selected in the lower area, only values from the second field are displayed. Note: With this option, the result is still the value of the first field!

With the option [Re-sort values based on:] a different sort order can be selected for the value list. By default, value lists in FileMaker are sorted alphabetically (text), which means that numbers are also sorted alphabetically and not numerically.

Value lists from another file

With this option, a value list can be created based on a value list from another file. In this case, the value list from the other file is “transferred” to the current file and displayed.

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About Author

Markus Schall
Development of FileMaker databases since 1994, modification and extension of FileMaker solutions, conversion of FileMaker databases from .fm, .fp3, .fp5 (FileMaker 2-6) or .fp7 (FileMaker 7-11) to .fmp12 (FileMaker 12-17), interfaces to third-party systems such as online shops, CMS or other databases. Development of individual FileMaker database systems based on the gFM business framework with personal advice from Oldenburg. Operator of the online specialist portal, developer of the CRM and merchandise management system gFM-Business. Member of FileMaker Business Alliance, FileMaker Developers Subscription and FMM Expert. Winner of an FMM Award 2011, awarded by the FileMaker Magazine.