Formatting and setting up field objects in Layout mode

Use FileMaker Pro field formats to control how data appears on a layout. The formats you specify don't change the data as it's stored in the database, and you can specify a different format for each time you place a field on a layout (whether it's on the same layout or a different layout). For example, if you enter -5123 into a number field, you can format it in one place to display as -$5,123.00 and in another place as <5123>.

You can also have field formats change automatically when data meets criteria you specify. See Defining conditional formatting for layout objects.

If you don't specify formats, FileMaker Pro displays numbers, dates, and times based on the system formats set in Settings (Windows) or System Preferences (macOS) when the file was created.


  • You can specify number, date, time, and timestamp fields to display data based on the current system formats when the file is opened. For more information, see the Help topics for specifying formats for each field type.
  • You can set specific formats for number, date, time and timestamp fields, but users can still enter data with extraneous characters (like "per pound"). To control the type of data users enter in a field, specify validation options. See Defining field validation.
  • To display sample data in fields formatted with the specified field formats, in Layout mode, choose View menu > Show > Sample Data. FileMaker Pro replaces the field names with sample data from the record currently being browsed.
  • Files created with different system formats for numbers, dates, and times can affect the appearance of data. For example, if you're in the United States and you open a database created in Australia, the database may have different system formats than those currently on your computer. See Opening files with different system formats.
  • To format a date symbol (which displays the current date) or a time symbol (which displays the current time), select the symbol {{CurrentDate}} or {{CurrentTime}} in Layout mode, then use the Data Formatting area in the Inspector to format it as a date or time field. See Inserting the date, page number, or other variable onto a layout.