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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 137 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 112. 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 122 for a quick rundown. For more information, see Creating Layouts on page 137.

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



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