Tag Archives: Virtual List

Virtual List Table Of Contents

A few years back I did an article on producing a PDF catalog + table of contents, with the TOC based on a vendor table and the catalog entries based on a products table. Today we’re going to use a different approach to generate a table of contents, building on techniques explored in last year’s Virtual List Reporting series… specifically we’re going to generate one big PDF combining nine reports, prefaced by a table of contents.


Demo files: virtual-list-toc-v1.zip and virtual-list-toc-v2.zip


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Virtual List Reporting, part 2

Welcome back for the second and concluding installment in our exploration of Virtual List Reporting (a.k.a. VLR). Demo file: VLR-part-2.zip


To avoid repetition, this article will assume the reader is familiar with concepts and techniques introduced in part 1 (some of what follows may appear to be gibberish if the reader is not)… but to briefly recap, here are some benefits of VLR:

  • Flexible framework accommodates complex reporting challenges
  • Fast performance (we use the Multifind technique in this demo)
  • No need to tamper with schema in your data tables or on the relationships graph
  • Unlike traditional FM reports, you can easily combine data from unrelated tables (we saw this in report 6 in part 1)
  • Under certain circumstances, VLRs can be much faster to develop than traditional FM reports (as per discussion of report 3 in part 1)
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Virtual List Reporting, part 1

Self-plagiarism alert: to avoid repeatedly referring the reader back to earlier virtual list articles, portions of text from those earlier articles are incorporated here.

Welcome to the first installment of a multi-part series on producing reports using the virtual list technique, or more properly, collection of techniques. Demo file: VLR-part-1.zip


Invented and popularized by Bruce Robertson, virtual lists are incredibly flexible, and have made a number of appearances here in the past, including… Continue reading

FM 13: Virtual List Charts, part 2

Picking up where we left off in part 1, today we’re going to take a look at examples 2 through 6 in the Virtual List Charts demo file (the demo has been updated since part 1, so I recommend downloading a fresh copy).

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We covered example 1 and most of the general concepts last time, so today we’re mainly going to touch on specific points of interest, but to briefly recap… Continue reading

FM 13: Virtual List Charts, part 1

4-20-2014 11-18-24 AMToday we’re going to look at applying the virtual list technique to FileMaker charting with the goal of producing a reusable chart “object”, or rather, a series of chart objects. We’ll need more than one because while certain attributes (e.g., chart title) can be set programmatically, others, including type (e.g., column or line), must be hard-coded into the chart object.

We’ve already explored Bruce Robertson’s virtual list on this site a number of times, but briefly, you create a utility table in your solution to facilitate non-standard viewing, reporting, etc., and pre-populate it with “more records than you’ll ever need”. The records in this table will derive their data “virtually”, by parsing it from an array — typically one or more $$variables.

Well it turns out the technique can be applied to charting as well, and today we have a demo file, Virtual List Charts, that contains six examples: three for Web Visits…

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FM 13: Summary List + Virtual List

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

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Conditional Subsummary Report in Browse Mode

Last time we looked at several summary reporting tricks, including a conditional subsummary (when an item’s Status is “Scheduled” it will have a value in the Substatus field — otherwise Substatus will be blank). The challenge was to generate a summary report showing Substatus only where appropriate, without seeing any annoying empty gray rows beneath Pending, Cancelled or Completed. And last week’s report worked fine… in preview mode.

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Outer Joins in FileMaker 12, part 3

I’ve said before, and no doubt will say again, that one of my favorite things about this blog is how much I learn from your feedback and the demo files you send me.

Recently I received a file from Otmar Kramnis of the Hochschule Luzern demonstrating the fastest SQL-based method I have yet seen to solve the challenge we looked at in part 1 and in part 2, and with a few minor modifications, this is the demo we’re going to focus on today:  Outer Join Demo 7

As you may recall, the aim is to show a week’s worth of daily sales totals for all employees whether they had any sales or not.

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Or, to restate the problem in more generic terms: we need to show all values from table A, whether or not there are any matching values in table B. This is known as an “outer join”, or more precisely a “left outer join”, since we want to see all values in the “left” table (Employees), whether or not they have corresponding matches in the “right” table (Sales).

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Outer Joins in FileMaker 12, part 2

Last week in part 1 we looked at four “outer join” reporting approaches. Two of them involved ExecuteSQL, and I ended that section with the plea: Of course it’s possible that you, dear reader, know some FileMaker SQL voodoo to speed things up, and would be willing to share? Well Dr. Osamu Noda of Japan was kind enough to not only respond, but has provided a pair of demos (Outer Join Demo 5 and Outer Join Demo 6) which are significantly faster and which I am sharing with his permission.

Both of the demos are based on my original files from last week, and as you may recall, the aim was to show a week’s worth of sales for all employees whether they had any sales or not.

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Outer Joins in FileMaker 12, part 1

Recently I had an on-screen reporting challenge, and decided to try several different approaches to see which would be fastest. The challenge: Starting with two tables, one containing 20 Employees, and one containing 2,000 Sales records for the current year…

…display daily sales totals per employee in a seven-day grid, like so:

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