Setting up a field to display a pop-up menu, checkbox set, or other control

You can make data entry easier and more consistent by displaying fields as drop-down lists, pop-up menus, checkbox sets, radio button sets, or other controls.

Note  Some control styles display values that come from value lists; they are noted in the table below. You can define a value list before or after you set up the control style. See Defining value lists.

To set up a field to display a pop-up menu, checkbox set, or other control:

  1. In Layout mode, select the field.

  2. In the Inspector, click the Data Data tab.

  3. In the Field area, choose from Control style.

  4. Choose

    To display

    Edit Box

    Field data. This is the default control style.

    To add a scroll bar to the field, select Show vertical scroll bar.

    Drop-down List

    Value list items in a list. Users can use the arrow keys or the mouse or "type ahead" to choose a value. Select Include arrow to show and hide list to format the field as a combo box.

    Pop-up Menu

    Value list items as a pop-up menu. Users can use the arrow keys or the mouse to choose a value.

    Checkbox Set

    Value list items as checkboxes. Users can choose more than one value. Choose the symbol to be displayed in checkboxes (a check mark or x).

    Radio Button Set

    Value list items as radio buttons. Users can choose only one value.

    Drop-down Calendar

    The current date. Users can choose another date from the drop-down calendar, or type one in.

    Concealed Edit Box

    Dots instead of data to conceal confidential information. Data in a concealed edit box is not encrypted; it is only hidden.

  5. For control styles that display data from value lists, choose from Values from, then continue to step 5. For all other control styles, save the layout.

  6. Choose options for the value list, if desired.

    To allow a user to add values to the value list for the current record, select Allow entry of other values. An "Other" option appears in the value list. This option is not available if you selected Drop-down List.

    To allow a user to add or change values in the value list across records, select Allow editing of value list. An "Edit" option appears in the value list. This option is not available if:

    • the control style is a checkbox set or a radio button set you selected Checkbox Set or Radio Button Set

    • the value list you chose in step 4 uses values from a field

  7. Save the layout.


  • To define a field's control style in the Fields tab before you drag the field to the layout, see Defining and changing fields in the Fields tab.

  • The following table describes how the control styles that display data from value lists behave when the Show values only from second field option in the Edit Value List dialog box is selected. For all control styles, when you make your selection, the corresponding value from the first field is stored in the database.

  • Control style


    Radio button set
    Checkbox set

    Only the value from the second field is displayed.

    Drop-down list
    Pop-up menu

    When the list is closed, the value from the first field is displayed. When you click in the field, the list displays values from the second field.

    Note  For closed pop-up menus, to display the value from the value list and ignore data formatting, select Override data formatting with value list. This is useful when, for example, the two fields are different field types.

  • When you format a field to use a value list created from values in a field, FileMaker Pro displays the value list items in alphabetical order.

  • Formatting a field with a checkbox allows users to enter more than one value for a field. If more than one value is entered for a field, on other layouts where the field is not formatted as a checkbox (such as a columnar report), FileMaker Pro displays only the first value. To see all values, make the field larger or click in the field.

  • Text you enter or change in a concealed edit box is entered as roman characters. However, if you apply the concealed edit box control style to a field that already contains text, any text attributes—such as italics or color—or any paragraph formats—such as tabs or carriage returns—will be retained. Although text attributes are lost if you modify the text, paragraph formats are retained. Also, data from a concealed edit box that's used in another field in which text attributes have been applied appears in that other field with the attributes.

  • Scripts and calculations can access data in a concealed edit box if the user has the required privileges.

  • To allow users to begin typing a value and have the system suggest a completion for it, select Auto-complete using value list. See Setting up a field to auto-complete during data entry.

  • If the field you're formatting to display a value list is in a portal and the value list is defined to include only related values, you may need to create a self-join relationship in order for the value list to display the related values properly. See Example of a value list that includes only related field values.

  • To set a default value for a value list field, set up the value list and control style, then choose File menu > Manage Database, and click Fields. Select the value list field, click Options, click the Auto-Enter tab, and select Data. Type the default value, click OK, and close the Manage Database dialog box. When users add a new record to the database, this value will appear in the value list field. Users can choose a different value from the value list. See Defining automatic data entry.

  • To format a field to no longer use a value list, select the field. Then, in the Field area in the Inspector, for Control style, choose Edit Box or Drop-down Calendar.

  • Pop-up menus activate the OnRecordLoad script trigger and OnObjectEnter script trigger differently from drop-down lists and calendars:

    • For pop-up menus, clicking the field displays the pop-up menu first. These triggers are activated only after you select a value in the pop-up menu. However, if you press Tab or use a script to enter the field, these triggers are activated first; then you can click the field to select a value. If your script needs to access the value of the field before the user changes it, pass the value of the field into your script as a parameter. In your script, use the Get(ScriptParameter) function to get the field's value before the user clicked the field. See Setting script triggers for objects.

    • For drop-down lists and calendars, entering the field by any method (clicking the field, pressing Tab, or running a script) activates these triggers first. After the script runs, you can enter or select a value.

  • After users select a value in a drop-down list or drop-down calendar, the focus moves to the next object in the tab order. For all other control styles, the focus remains on the current field object when a value is set. See Setting the tab order for data entry.