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Selecting Objects In A Group In FileMaker 17

Grouping objects together when designing layouts is a very helpful tool and one of my favorites to use. I am very excited for the new ability to select an individual object while it is still in a group in FileMaker 17.

Grouping And Ungrouping Objects In Previous Versions

If you are not familiar with grouping and ungrouping objects in previous versions here is a recap: By selecting all objects you would like to group and clicking the group button in the inspector, you can group multiple objects together even if they are different types of objects. This allows you to work with them as one single object, manipulating its stacking order or alignment, for example. It comes in handy often as I have perfectly aligned a group of fields and need to move them around to continue working on other parts of my layout without disturbing their current alignment relative to each other.

Previously, you could not make an adjustment to a single object after it was in a group without selecting it from the Layout Objects window. The layout objects window allows you to select an object that is currently grouped and make changes to its appearance in the inspector, but you do not have the ability to adjust its size or position. You would first need to ungroup it, make your adjustment and regroup. This could get tedious if you had many changes to make. Additionally, I find it helpful to specifically name my groups in the layout objects window so I can distinguish which group I am working with. However, the custom object name for a group is erased when the objects are ungrouped. Additionally, if you have formatted your group as a button, you will have to recreate your button and add back your script if you ungroup it.

The portal inside a group is being selected in the layout objects window, notice I can adjust its appearance but I cannot adjust its position or size in the inspector.

What’s New For Grouping Objects In FileMaker 17?

In FileMaker 17, we now have the ability to select one or more objects inside of a group and make changes without affecting the other objects in a group or having to ungroup them. This added functionality makes grouping a more diverse tool to use, assists with speed of development and makes tasks like layering and hiding more enjoyable. You can now group objects together and move them around even if you know you still have to make adjustments to the individual objects inside.


Since ease and speed of development are often such high motivators for gravitating towards certain workflows and tools, I am pleased by the new flexibility of grouping objects together in development. For those of you who have shied away from grouping objects in development for lack of convenience, it may be time to consider putting it back in your toolbox.

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FileMaker 17 Platform

The FileMaker 17 Platform is a landmark release with many new and improved features that make it more powerful and even easier to use. Here are some of the reasons why we think it’s the best version yet.

Earlier releases included three different versions of the desktop application…FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Pro (for User Connections), and FileMaker Pro Advanced. Version 17 simplifies this to one application…FileMaker Pro Advanced. The Tools menu can be enabled or disabled in the preferences. System administrators have the option to completely remove this option during installation, but the application name is always FileMaker Pro Advanced and Get(ApplicationVersion) returns “ProAdvanced 17.0.1”.

One of the changes you’ll notice as soon as you enter Layout Mode is the addition of panels on the left and right side of the window. The left panel includes tabs for Fields and Objects. The right panel is a docked version of the four-tab Inspector. The new panels put a lot of power at your fingertips, but you may find the need for a second (or third) display so that you can comfortable work in Layout Mode on one display and view your work in Browse Mode on another.

Another Layout Mode change that is less obvious is the ability to select and manipulate individual objects within groups without needing to ungroup. This can be a nice time-saver.

The My Apps window replaces the Launch Center with a more intuitive experience that makes it easier to open your apps and get started creating new ones.

FileMaker Pro 17 includes six new starter apps plus a brand new Add-on Tables feature which allows anyone to quickly add new tables and related functionality to your app.

A new portal option allows a developer to easily create master-detail layouts that have a great user experience.

Developers who love to create modular scripts that can easily be moved between apps will appreciate the new Perform Script by Name script step.

Developers who create a lot of tables will also appreciate the new Default Fields feature. By default, five new fields will automatically be created in each new table. The default fields can be overridden with your own favorite default fields.

The Send Mail script step has a simple but powerful improvement that allows multiple file attachments to be included in an email message.

FileMaker Pro 16 enabled many script steps (such as Insert from URL) to use a local or global variable as a target. In version 17, the Show Custom Dialog script step now allows the use of variables as the target for input fields.

FileMaker’s licensing options have changed significantly over the years. Version 17 takes a fresh approach to simplifying the license options and treating the previously separate products as a true platform. Whether you buy User, Connection, or Site licenses, you’ll get access to all of the individual pieces of the platform.

Both FileMaker Server and FileMaker Cloud now include an improved version of the FileMaker Data API that allows performing scripts and uploading files to container fields. The FileMaker Data API is now metered, but it includes a generous data allowance with all license types. FileMaker Server has a redesigned Admin Console, a more powerful command-line tool, and a trial version of the FileMaker Admin API. Together, these three admin interfaces offer tremendous flexibility and power. FileMaker Server admins will find they have some new things to learn.

The FileMaker Developer Subscription includes an updated version of the iOS SDK as well as a new command-line Data Migration Tool. The Data Migration Tool solves some longstanding problems by allowing fast transfer of all data, accounts, and value lists from a solution into a clone of the solution. This tool will make it much easier and faster to move updated versions of an app from development to test or production environments.

FileMaker Go 17 receives some great new features including access to sensor data and local notifications. Apps can now use auto-complete in text fields, keyboard shortcuts on external keyboards, and drag and drop of text, photos, and files on iPad.

The FileMaker 17 Platform has a great set of features and we think it offers a tremendous value and flexibility. We’re excited to build new apps that are more powerful than ever.