Recently a question came up on the FMP Experts list re: the possibility of displaying a found set of customers in 3 columns in browse mode in FileMaker 13. While FileMaker doesn’t naturally display data this way, there are various ways to trick it into doing so, and today we’re going to look at a method that combines the new-in-13 Summary List field type with the Virtual List technique.
Demo file: FM 13 Summary List + Virtual List
If you need a refresher on the new Summary List field type, we examined it a couple times last month:
Bruce Robertson’s Virtual List technique has made a number of appearances here in the past, including…
- Exporting Data to iCal, Outlook, Google Calendar, etc.
- Long Documents in FileMaker 11
- User-Friendly Excel Exports, part 5
- Conditional Subsummary Report in Browse Mode
…and the MightyData blog has a nice 2-part writeup on it here:
Briefly, the idea is that you create a special utility table in your solution to facilitate non-standard exporting, reporting, printing, PDF-ing, and/or viewing requirements. The records in this table derive their data “virtually”, by parsing it from an array — typically one or more $$variables.
In the Customer found set shown above, the summary list field returns a stack of IDs, which are pushed into a variable, $$listOfCustomerIDs, when the “3 Column List” tab is clicked.
Note: the order of the IDs returned by the summary list field mirrors the sort order of the customer records. If the customer records are re-sorted, the summary list field contents will automatically update.
The fields in the virtual list table are defined like so:
The $$listOfCustomerIDs variable is parsed into columns by the virtual list table…
…and each “idCust” field has its own relationship to Customers…
…which facilitates displaying the correct related customer mail label in the appropriate column.
This demo makes use of a couple new-in-13 features on the 3 Column List layout:
1. The “current record indicator” has been turned off:
2. Conditional invisibility is applied to the little navigation arrows, so they only appear when there is a related record to go to.
Assuming there is, and you click the arrow, you will be taken to the detail view for that customer.