Best practices for designing layouts
Sketch your layouts
In addition to planning the structure of your database as described in About planning a database, FileMaker recommends you sketch your layouts on paper or onscreen before creating them in FileMaker Pro. A few sketches can help resolve design problems, communicate ideas, and save time. The sketching process can also help you create layouts that are visually balanced and provide a clear path for users to follow.
Use a theme that suits the purpose of your layout
A theme affects characteristics of a layout, such as the background color, field borders and fill, and text attributes in text objects and in fields. The Starter Solutions that come with FileMaker Pro illustrate how themes might be used to produce layouts containing operating system-appropriate effects.
Select a theme in the Change Theme dialog box that best suits the purpose of your layout. (Click Layout Theme button in the status toolbar to display the dialog box.) If your layout will be used with FileMaker Go, choose one of the Touch themes.
If you change the theme of a layout and then undo the change, the new theme remains, but any formatting attributes you applied previous to applying the new theme are displayed. If you undo again, FileMaker Pro returns the layout to the state it was before you applied the new theme.
See Changing the theme of a layout.
Use the screen stencils and positioning tools
Click the arrow on Screen stencil button in the layout bar to display screen stencils that help you design layouts optimally for iPad, iPhone, and several common desktop resolutions. You can have multiple screen stencils visible at the same time. See Sizing layouts for different devices.
FileMaker Pro provides several tools to help you quickly and precisely size, position, and align layout objects. Guides help you align layout objects vertically or horizontally within the same layout or across multiple layouts. Dynamic guides give you visual cues as you work with layout objects. See Using guides and dynamic guides.
Layout with horizontal and vertical guides and screen stencil displayed
Consistently duplicate layout objects
A characteristic of a well-designed layout is a consistent appearance among the layout objects.
You can use:
Test your layouts with a diverse audience
Some common symbols can be misinterpreted in some contexts. For example, a flag icon used as a warning icon may indicate success in some cultures. Test your symbols and images with a diverse audience before putting your layouts into use.
For tips on designing effective layouts, see Tips for designing layouts.