If you’re a male, do you really need to be asked you if you’re pregnant when you are at a clinic? If your female, do you need a prostate exam? Probably not. There are little nuances to data entry that occur with just about every solution that make it just slightly more tedious to collect information with just a standard tab order. We’re going to remedy that with using a simple layout keystroke trigger.
Dynamic Tab Order for FileMaker 10
In FileMaker there is only one way to navigate the tab order. This can be annoying to an end user who has to tab through a bunch of useless fields to get to the good stuff. The gender question above is a perfect problem to solve using a dynamic tab order in FileMaker 10.
Note: As Mikhail Edoshin points out, this process could be accomplished by attaching a script trigger directly to the field in question. The reason I chose to attach the trigger to the layout is so all tab order changes are centralized in one script. For instance if you had 4 or 5 different modifications to the tab order, you would still only have one script when using the layout trigger. If you were to place a trigger on each individual field you would need 4 or 5 scripts. That was really the main idea of this whole post but I left it out for some stupid reason.
Thanks for the heads up Mikhail.
A better way for our tab order to progress in our example is to just skip fields depending on which gender is choosen. Here is the psuedocode for what I think the tab order should look like:
IF the active field is Gender THEN IF Gender = Male THEN go to the prostate question END IF Gender = Female THEN go to the pregnancy question END END
Finding our Key
RETURN as they are the three keys that filemaker uses to move to the next field.
Note: You can specify one, two, three of these keys to progress to the next field in the Format >> Field/Control >> Behavior...
So using our knowledge from the previous article about keystroke triggers and consulting our ascii tables we know the following will return true if any one of those keys is pressed:
Let( keyCode = Code( Get ( TriggerKeystroke ) ); keyCode = 9 or //Tab Key keyCode = 10 or // Enter keyCode = 13 // Retun )
Overriding the tab order
Assuming that my table name is
TEST and my field names are
PREGNANT, we can write our script.
If[ Let( keyCode = Code( Get ( TriggerKeystroke ) ); keyCode = 9 or keyCode = 10 or keyCode = 13) ] If[Get( ActiveFieldTableName ) & "::" & Get( ActiveFieldName ) = getFieldName( TEST::GENDER )] If[ TEST::GENDER = "F"] Go to Field [ TEST::PREGNANT? ] Exit Script [Result: False] Else If [ TEST::GENDER = "M" ] Go to Field [ TEST::PROSTATE_EXAM? ] Exit Script [Result: False] End End End
Notice on the second line of the script we combined two get functions to determine the table and name of the field and then compared that to the result of
getFieldName( TEST::GENDER ):
Get( ActiveFieldTableName ) & "::" & Get( ActiveFieldName ) = getFieldName( TEST::GENDER )
The reason we do this is to make sure that if for some reason you ever decide to change the name of either the table or field the script won’t break.
You’ll also noticed that I use the step
Exit Script [Result: False] after I navigate to each field. The purpose of this step is to reject the
RETURN key press. If we were to leave the
Exit Script step out, FileMaker would process the keystroke and therefore go the the next field in the tab order after the field I just told it to go to. This would drive everyone crazy!
Once I’ve played with this technique a little more I’m sure it will prove quite useful. It definitely makes data entry a little more user friendly.