As you've seen throughout the last few chapters, FileMaker field controls can take on many forms. In this section you'll learn exactly how each of these works, and how you can configure them to get just the behavior you want. Each control described here is accessible via the Inspector's Data tab when in Layout mode. If the Inspector isn't onscreen, choose View→Inspector or type Ctrl+I (⌘-I).
Most of the fields you've used so far have been Edit Boxes. These fields are the click-and-type variety that normal people call a text box. Distinctive as always, FileMaker has its own moniker. No matter what you call it—Edit Box or text box—this sort of control isn't limited to just text. You can use an Edit Box with number fields, date fields, and so on.
When you select the Edit Box format, you have the choice of turning on the "Include vertical scroll bar" checkbox. You saw this option when you added a scroll bar to the Notes field on Field Control. If you anticipate that a field will hold lots of information, a scroll bar can be a good idea, as Figure 7-19 shows.
This field type looks just like an Edit Box. But when you click into the field, a list of available choices appears just below it (see Figure 7-20).
The items in the list come from a value list. When you pick the Drop-down List type, you get a "Values from" pop-up menu. From this menu, choose the value list to use. You can also open the Manage Value Lists window by clicking the button with the pencil icon just to the right of the pop-up menu.
If you don't apply borders to a Drop-down List, then the show/hide arrow appears only when the field is active. Add field borders (at least a right border—see Controlling field borders) to make the arrow show.
Figure 7-19. Top: FileMaker fields can hold a lot of text. If you don't have a scroll bar, then when you click in the field, FileMaker increases its size to show all the text. Bottom: When you tab or click out of that field, FileMaker shrinks it back to its original size, leaving no clue that more text might be hiding below the fold. If you know you're expecting lots of information, you should usually add a scroll bar.
Figure 7-20. A drop-down list like the one showing cities here gives you a list of choices to save you the trouble of typing the one you want. Just click an item in the list, and FileMaker enters it into the field. You can also use the up and down arrow keys to select an item in the list. Finally, you can type the first few letters of an item's name to select it. Once you have an item selected, press Enter (Return) to accept it.
Drop-down Lists look just like Edit Boxes until you click them or tab into the field. Then the list drops down for your data-entry pleasure. But it can get annoying to have lists flashing at you just because you happen to be tabbing through the data in a record, so FileMaker lets you stop the list waving by choosing "Include arrow to show and hide list". Now the list is a little more polite. When the field is active, the list doesn't drop down until you click the arrow. If you make a choice from the list, it disappears. Or, if you don't want to enter anything into the...