All this talk about how fields look and work is well and good, but what if you want to change how the data inside them looks? A price and a weight both go in a Number field, but they're different types of values and should look different. FileMaker provides a series of formatting options for the data inside fields, giving you loads of control over how numbers, dates, times, and pictures look.
FileMaker has special formatting for each kind of data a field can hold: Text, Number, Date, Time, and Container. (Timestamps are just a date and a time together, so you can format both parts separately.) You've already seen where these settings live—the old familiar Inspector's Data tab.
Select a number field, and turn your attention to the Data Formatting section on the Inspector's Data tab. Click the button with the ".01" on it, as seen in Figure 7-29, to activate the number formatting options. You can use most of these in any combination, so the possibilities are vast.
As with most layout settings, if you modify the formatting without selecting a field, then FileMaker lets you edit the default formats. In other words, the settings you pick apply to every number field you add to the layout thereafter.
Figure 7-29. FileMaker has four top-level number format settings: "General", "As entered", "Boolean", and "Decimal". If you choose either of the last two, you get still more choices. If you're looking for the kind of number formatting options you're accustomed to in a spreadsheet program, then turn on "Format as decimal" and go to town.
If you don't tell it otherwise, FileMaker assigns the General format to any new number fields you create. Usually, this format means, "Show numbers the same way someone types them." But if your number has too many digits (either a very large number, or a number with lots of decimal places), then FileMaker rounds the number or uses scientific notation to shorten it.
If you don't want the automatic rounding and scientific notation you get with General Format, then choose leave data formatted As entered instead. FileMaker leaves your numbers alone, so they appear exactly as typed.