Editing Layouts

See the support tutorial for Creating Layouts before reading this guide. Layout editing is NOT available on the Briefcase Starter Editions.

Working with objects on a layout

An object is a discrete element—a field, text, a graphic object (such as an oval or imported picture), a button, a portal (for displaying rows of related records), a tab control, or a web viewer—that you can select, move, resize, delete, copy, format, and otherwise change. Place objects on a layout to enhance its design.

For each type of object you work with, you use specific tools from the status toolbar.

Note: If you don’t see the status toolbar at the top of the document window, it might be hidden. Make sure you’re in Layout mode, then click the status toolbar control button at the bottom-left corner of the document window (or choose View menu > Status Toolbar).

Using the Inspector palette with objects

You can use the Inspector palette to precisely position or size layout objects or you can set objects to automatically resize or move horizontally or vertically when the Briefcase window is resized. Horizontal settings also apply to Preview mode and printing when the page size is wider than the size of the layout being viewed or printed.

When layout objects are set to resize, they maintain a constant distance from the object to which they are anchored. This allows objects to move, expand, or contract when the Briefcase window is resized.

Anchor points are either the layout margin or the container margin in which an object resides. By default, objects are anchored on both the top and left side of the layout or page.

The Inspector palette floats above document windows, so you can leave it open as you work.

Precisely positioning or sizing objects

To precisely position and size objects with the Inspector palette:

  1. In Layout mode, choose View menu > Inspector.
  2. Select one or more objects on the layout.
  3. The Inspector palette fields are updated to show the exact location of the selected objects in the layout.

TIP: You can change the unit of measure used in the Inspector palette and graphic rulers by clicking the unit label for any field in the Inspector palette or by clicking the unit label in the top left corner where the graphic rulers meet.

In the Inspector palette, type a new value in one of the following fields.

Field

Indicates

Object Name

The name of the selected object (optional). You can assign names to objects and grouped objects. Some script steps and functions use these names to specify which object to act upon. For more information, see Help.

left_opt.jpeg

The distance from the left edge of the selection to the left edge of the layout

up_opt.jpeg

The distance from the top of the selection to the top of the layout

right_opt.jpeg

The distance from the right edge of the selection to the left edge of the layout

down_opt.jpeg

The distance from the bottom of the selection to the top of the layout

left-right_opt.jpeg

The object’s width

down-up_opt.jpeg

The object’s height

If you can’t type a value, it means that specific field doesn’t make sense for the selected object (for example, a horizontal line doesn’t have a height), or the selection is locked.

Press Enter, Return, or Tab, or close or click outside the Inspector palette to apply the change.

Note: To precisely position an object while dragging it, note the values in the Inspector palette. The values dynamically update to reflect the position as you move an object around the layout.

Allowing objects to resize or move on the layout

When layout objects are set to resize, they maintain a constant distance from the object to which they are anchored. This allows objects to move, expand, or contract when the Briefcase window is resized.

Anchor points are either the layout margin or the container margin in which an object resides. By default, objects are anchored on both the top and left side of the layout or page.

To allow objects to resize or move when the Briefcase window is resized:

  1. In Layout mode, choose View menu > Object Info.
  2. Select one or more objects on the layout.
  3. In the Inspector palette, select the that indicates the side of the object that you want anchored to the layout or container.
  4. For example, to allow an object to maintain its horizontal position on the layout and expand the right when the window is made wider, leave the default left and top anchors selected and select the right anchor.

Auto-resize setting changes take effect as soon as you specify anchor selections.

Objects located in containers on layouts (such as fields located in tab panels or portals) do not inherit resize settings from their container. For example, if you want fields on a tab panel to resize with the tab panel, you must specify resize settings for the tab panel and fields located in it. If the Briefcase window is made smaller than the size of the original layout, objects set to resize are not reduced beyond their original size.

For more information about setting objects to resize,
see Help.

Selecting objects

To work with an object on a layout, select it in Layout mode. You see small black squares, or handles, at the corners of the selected object.

To select an object, click the selection tool in the status toolbar. The pointer becomes an arrow pointer. Then do one of the following:

Note: If an object’s selection handles are gray instead of black, the object is locked.

To Select

In Layout mode, do this

One object

With the arrow pointer, click the object.
(If the object is transparent, click its border.)

Several objects at once

Drag the arrow pointer to make a selection box that completely surrounds the objects. (If you press Ctrl (Windows) or 2 (Mac OS) while dragging, the selection box does not have to completely surround the objects.)

Or, press Shift as you click each object individually.

All objects on the layout

Choose Edit menu > Select All.

All objects of the same type
(for example, all text objects
or all rectangles)

Choose View menu > Arrange Palette to show the Arrange palette. Select an object, then click the Select Objects by Type button in the Arrange palette.

Or, click the tool for the type of object to select, then choose Edit menu > Select All. (This method does not work for buttons, fields, and portals.)

All fields

With the arrow pointer, click a field, press Shift (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), and choose Edit menu > Select All (Windows) or Select Same (Mac OS).

Or, select a field, then click the Select Objects by Type button in the Arrange palette.

A portal

With the arrow pointer, click the border of the portal, or any other area within the portal that doesn’t contain a field or object.

Working with fields on a layout

After you create a layout, you can place fields on it, remove fields you don’t want displayed, determine control settings for data entered in fields, and determine the format in which you want data displayed.

Fields on a layout are objects, which you can select, move, resize, and reshape. In Layout mode, each field displays its field name, formatted with its attributes for font, size, style, alignment, line spacing, and colour. All fields except container fields display text baselines to dictate where the data appears in Browse mode and to help you align fields with each other.

Keep these points in mind:

  1. A field that doesn’t appear on a layout still exists in the database, and its data can be used in calculations and summaries.
  2. To set the default formatting, appearance, and behaviour of a field, choose options with no fields selected. Briefcase applies these defaults to all fields added later. (See Help.) You can also specify options individually for each field.

Note: Options that are set in the Field/Control Setup dialogue box cannot be defined as defaults.

Placing and removing fields on a layout

You can place a field anywhere on any layout, as many times as you want. (You can place only fields that you’ve defined.

You get different results by placing the same field in different locations on the layout. For example:

  1. Add the same summary field to a subsummary part to calculate totals for each group of sorted records, and to a grand summary part to get totals for all the records in a table.
  2. Add a field to the header or footer part to repeat data from the first record or the last record on the page as a header or footer. (For example, add a Last Name field to the header in a directory.)
  3. Add the same related field directly on a layout to see the field’s value in the first related record, or inside a portal to see values from more than one related record. (A portal is a layout object that displays records from related tables.)

To place a field on a layout:

  1. In Layout mode, choose the layout you want to work on from the Layout pop-up menu.
  2. Click the Field tool. (Or choose Insert menu > Field.) Then position the cursor where you want the field on the layout.

Holding down the mouse button, draw the field on the layout. You see a border and text baselines to help you align the field with other objects on the layout. Release the mouse button when the field is where you want it.

Alternatively, if you want to display field data in a drop-down list, pop-up menu, check box set, radio button set, or drop-down calendar, use the Field/Control tool (or choose Insert menu > Field/Control). See the next section, ‘Setting up check box sets and other controls on a layout,’ for more information.

Note: If you’re placing a related field in a portal, position it in the first row of the portal. Make sure each field in the portal is from the same related table from which the portal is set up to display records.

  1. In the Specify Field dialogue box, select the field
    to place.
  2. To choose a field in another table, choose the table from the table list above the list of fields. Then select a field from the fields list. Or choose Manage Database in the table list to create a relationship
    or table.
  3. To include the field name as text on the layout, select Create label.
  4. Click OK.
  5. You see the field name in the field on the layout unless you have chosen to display sample data from the current record (by choosing View menu > Show > Sample Data). Fields from related tables appear as ::Field Name (preceded by two colons).

To replace a field with another, in Layout mode, double-click the field, then select another field name in the Specify Field dialogue box and click OK.

To remove a field from a layout, in Layout mode, click the field to select it, then press Backspace or Delete, or choose Edit menu > Clear. Removing a field from a layout does not delete the field or its data from your database.

Where to place related fields

You can place related fields directly on layouts or in portals.

  1. Directly on layouts: Place related fields directly on a layout to display data from the first related record, even when there are more than one related records that matches the criteria of the relationship. (The first related record that’s displayed is determined by whether the relationship specifies a sort order.)
  2. In portals: Place related fields within a portal on a layout to display data from all related records that match the criteria of the relationship. For examples of when to place related fields in portals, see Help.

About Merge Fields

Use merge fields to combine field data and text in documents like form letters, labels, envelopes, or contracts. You create merge fields in text blocks, which allows you to use static text and field data together.

Merge fields shrink or expand to fit the amount of text in the field for each record. For example:

  1. When the merge field <<First Name>> is between the text Dear and a colon, (as in Dear <<First Name>>:), Briefcase displays Dear Charles: in Browse mode or Preview mode if the First Name field contains Charles.
  2. When a merge field is on a line by itself (such as an empty Address Line 2 field in a mailing label), Briefcase removes the blank line from the
    text block.

Briefcase uses merge fields to create Labels and Envelope layouts.

Formatting field data on a layout

Use Briefcase 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 different formats 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>.

Briefcase applies field formatting in the following precedence:

  1. If you don’t specify formats, Briefcase displays numbers, dates, and times based on the system formats set in the Regional and Language Options control panel (Windows) or the International pane in the System Preferences (Mac OS) when the file
    was created.
  2. In Briefcase, you can specify display formats for text, number, date, time, timestamp, or container fields with no objects selected. Briefcase applies these default formats to fields you place on layouts later. For number, date, time, and timestamp fields, these display formats override the system formats.

Specifying text formats for fields

In Layout mode, you can specify a set of text character attributes for each field. All the characters in that instance of the field (including all repetitions of repeating fields) share the same font, size, style, colour, line spacing, tab, and paragraph settings.

Note: You can also format characters in text fields in Browse mode (for example, italicize or underline a word for emphasis). Unlike text formatting specified in Layout mode, this formatting is stored with the data, and you see it in any layout that displays that field.

  1. In Layout mode, select one or more fields, then choose Format menu > Text.
  2. Or, to set text formats for fields you place later, start with no fields selected.
  3. In the Text Format dialogue box, select the formats you want to use.
  4. You see examples of the options you choose in the Sample area.

Specifying formats for fields containing numbers

You can control how Briefcase displays the values in number fields, calculation fields with numeric results, and summary fields.

  1. In Layout mode, select one or more fields that display numeric values.
  2. Choose Format menu > Number.
  3. In the Number Format dialogue box, select the formats you want to use.
  4. You see examples of the options you choose in the Sample area.
  5. Click OK.

Specifying formats for date fields

You can control how Briefcase displays the values in date fields, and calculation fields with date results.

Note: To avoid confusion when using dates in fields, Briefcase recommends that you always format date fields to display four-digit years.

  1. In Layout mode, select one or more date fields or calculation fields with a date result.
  2. Choose Format menu > Date.
  3. In the Date Format dialogue box, select the formats you want to use.
  4. You see examples of the options you choose in the Sample area.
  5. Click OK.

Specifying formats for time fields

You can control how Briefcase displays time values in fields.

  1. In Layout mode, select one or more time fields, or calculation fields with a time result.
  2. Choose Format menu > Time.
  3. In the Time Format dialogue box, select the formats you want to use.
  4. You see examples of the options you choose in the Sample area.
  5. Click OK.
  6. If you want to format the seconds component to display fractional seconds, continue with the
    next step.
  7. Choose Format menu > Number.
  8. In the Number Format dialogue box, select the formats you want to use.
  9. Only two options affect the display of the seconds component: Fixed number of decimal digits and Decimal separator. The remaining options have no effect.
  10. Click OK.
  11. Click OK again.

Specifying formats for timestamp fields

You can control how Briefcase displays timestamp values in fields. You format a timestamp field by separately formatting its three components: date, time (excluding the seconds portion), and seconds (including fractional seconds).

  1. In Layout mode, select one or more timestamp fields, or calculation fields with a timestamp result.
  2. To format the date component, choose Format menu > Date.
  3. In the Date Format dialogue box, select the formats you want to use and click OK.
  4. To format the time component (except the seconds portion), choose Format menu > Time.
  5. In the Time Format dialogue box, select the formats you want to use and click OK.
  6. To format the seconds and fractional seconds component, choose Format menu > Number.
  7. In the Number Format dialogue box, select the formats you want to use and click OK.
  8. Only two options affect the display of the seconds component: Fixed number of decimal digits and Decimal separator. The remaining options have
    no effect.
  9. You see examples of the options you choose in the Sample area.

Specifying formats for container fields

You can control how Briefcase displays images and file icons in container fields.

Note: The following instructions also apply to formatting graphic objects that you insert onto a layout.

  1. In Layout mode, select one or more container fields or inserted graphics.
  2. Choose Format menu > Graphic.
  3. In the Graphic Format dialogue box, select the formats you want to use.
  4. You see examples of the options you choose in the Sample area. File icons do not scale.
  5. Click OK.

Working with parts on a layout

Briefcase layouts are divided into layout parts, sections of the layout that determine how data in a field is treated and displayed. By using parts, you can control how Briefcase prints data, for example:

  1. once for each record
  2. only at the top of each page
  3. only before or after groups of sorted records (for example, to include a subtotal for each group of records)

Each layout must have at least one part. Layout parts can contain fields, portals, buttons, text, and other objects.

In Layout mode, dotted horizontal lines mark the division between layout parts, and the part label appears at the left end of the bottom dividing line.

The New Layout/Report assistant automatically creates the appropriate layout parts depending on the choices you make. You can add, change, or delete layout parts after you finish the assistant as needed. (See ‘Creating/Editing Layouts’ on page 59.)

About layout part types

The following table describes layout part types.

Layout part

Description

Title header

Appears only once at the top of the first screen or page and replaces the normal header (if one is specified). In reports, can be used to print a separate title page. You can have only one title header in a layout.

Header

Appears at the top of every screen or page (unless you add a title header, which supersedes the header on the first page). Use for titles or column headings (in columnar reports). You can have only one header in a layout.

Body

Each object you put in the body, including fields, text objects, and graphics, appears once for each record in the found set. You can have only one body in a layout.

Footer

Appears at the bottom of every screen or page (unless you add a title footer). You can have only one footer in a layout.

Title footer

Appears only once at the bottom of the first screen or page and replaces the normal footer (if one is specified). You can have only one title footer in a layout.

To include summary data on a layout (for example, subtotals, grand totals, averages, counts, and so on), you place summary fields in summary layout parts. Summary parts include grand summary and subsummary parts.

  1. A grand summary part usually contains one or more summary fields that display summary information (like totals) about all records being browsed.
  2. A subsummary part usually contains one or more summary fields that display ‘subsummary’ information (like subtotals) for a subset of records. The records are grouped (sorted) by values in another field, the break field. Whenever the value of the break field changes, the report ‘breaks’ and Briefcase inserts the subsummary part. Subsummary parts appear in Table View and List View when sorted by break fields, and update dynamically whenever data in the file is changed.
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