So far, we've discussed various aspects of Layout mode's role, and you've seen a few of its basic capabilities; however, our primary focus has been elsewhere. In this chapter, you come to grips with the practicalities, working through a hands-on tour of the tools and techniques for building interfaces.
In many respects, a solution is only as good as its interface. Users do not understand information if it's presented in opaque or confusing ways, they don't use features they don't know about, and they avoid working with solutions that are perplexing or tedious to use. By contrast, a thoughtfully designed solution interface makes everything easier and leads the user through the processes that the solution is designed to support. Fortunately, FileMaker Pro provides excellent tools for creating interfaces of the latter kind.
FileMaker's Layout mode exemplifies two of the central concepts of the application — simplicity and common sense. You need to be able to build a variety of screens and reports, so FileMaker gives you a flexible environment and a broad set of tools for your work. Each of the elements and each of the tools is straightforward in itself — and once you understand how they can be pieced together, the power of FileMaker's Layout mode becomes clear.
As you saw in Chapter 5, when you create a new database file, FileMaker adds default layouts for each of the tables in the file. The default layouts are arranged in a simple ...