Level: Intermediate, Version: FM 13 or later

Conditional Summary Report Header

Recently I received an email wondering…

When printing a multipage report sorted by a sub-summary, is there a way to display the sub-summary heading on the following page when it breaks across two or more pages?

There are various approaches one might take, and I actually buried one of those approaches inside an article + demo file posted on this site back in 2013 (PDF Catalog with Table of Contents). At the time we didn’t have “Hide Object” so I used conditional formatting in conjunction with a special-purpose “helper field” to flexibly display the conditional heading.

Well today we’re going look at an approach that doesn’t require a helper field, and you are welcome to follow along in this demo file if you are so inclined: conditional-summary-report-header.zip


First let’s be clear on the problem. We have a report showing products grouped by vendor, and if we’re lucky, a given vendor’s entries will all appear on a single page, immediately preceded by the vendor name, like so:


…but when that is not the case, because the vendor’s products are split across two or more pages, FileMaker defaults to this on subsequent pages…


…but we’re going to coerce our report into displaying this instead.


Here’s the report in layout mode, with Hide Object configured to conditionally hide the faux vendor header.


In a nutshell, the Hide Object syntax says to always hide the faux header, except when a) previewing or printing, and b) even then, only show it when the vendor subheading has already appeared on a previous page.

14 thoughts on “Conditional Summary Report Header”

  1. Cool technique. I love the simplicity of it.
    The only complaints I would have are due to FileMaker limitations, not a problem with your demo. You have to have the space dedicated to this conditional header on every page, even when it doesn’t display. Since header parts can’t use object sliding to reduce the size of the enclosing part, if it doesn’t show, you are stuck with that blank space at the top. Not that white space is a bad thing in terms of design… but on a report like this, clients are usually looking for ways to cram as much info on a page as we can, and reduce the page count if possible.
    It would be nice if this could work below the header. All of the other sub-summary parts appear below the column headers. The conditional ones are above them.
    But as long as you understand the limitations, this is a great compromise. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Shawn,

      Nice writeup re: the limitations of this technique. I’m thinking virtual list can address the shortcoming of having to reserve horizontal space on every page, regardless of whether one actually needs it on a given page or not. Hmmm…


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