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Chapter 9. Defining Fields > Using Value Lists

Using Value Lists

By offering users a predefined list of field entry choices, value lists save lots of time and aggravation. The more people you have entering data into a database, the more important value lists become in maintaining record consistency and accuracy. Don't worry about locking yourself in: Like so many things in FileMaker, value lists can be altered any time. A quick-and-dirty explanation for formatting value lists is included in this section, but you'll want to read Creating Layouts on page 129 to get a fuller sense of your formatting options for value lists. While value lists often are created at the same time you create a field, they exist independently of any particular field and can be created at any time.

To define a custom value list:

1.
Choose File > Define Value Lists (Figure 9.13).

Figure 9.13. To create a value list directly, choose File > Define Value Lists.


or

Follow steps 1–3 in To set field entry options on page 104. When you reach the Validation panel, select the Member of value list checkbox, then click the adjacent drop-down menu and select Define Value Lists (Figure 9.14).

Figure 9.14. To create a value list while defining a field, press your cursor on the drop-down menu next to the Member of value list checkbox, then select Define Value Lists.


2.
When the Define Value Lists dialog box appears, click New to create a new list or Edit if you want to change an existing value list (Figure 9.15).

Figure 9.15. When the Define Value Lists dialog box appears, click New to create a new list or Edit if you want to change an existing value list.


3.
When the Edit Value List dialog box appears, a generic name will appear in the Value List Name text box and the Use custom values radio button will be selected. Type in a distinctive name for your new value list, then click inside the blank right-hand text box to enter the custom values you want (Figure 9.16). (You can also create a value list using values from an existing field. See the following steps, To define a value list using another field.)

Figure 9.16. When the Edit Value List dialog box appears, choose Use custom values, type your values into the right-side box, and click OK.


4.
Type in your first value, then press (Windows) or (Mac) to begin a new value. When you're done adding values to the list, click OK. To create another value list, repeat steps 2 and 3.

5.
When you've finished creating lists, click Done (Figure 9.17). Though you've made the field into a value list, its display will not change until you change the layout. See To format a value list field on page 114 for a quick rundown. For more information, see Creating Layouts on page 129.

Figure 9.17. When you've finished defining your value lists, click Done to close the dialog box.



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