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Here's how. By Nathaniel Pangaro 4 hours ago. Finally we'll go into more depth about some of our favourite custom shortcuts we use, and show some cool shortcuts you might never have thought you could do.
If you're a new developer, now is the best time to learn shortcuts. Learning shortcuts as you learn FileMaker is the best way to do it. However if you're a more experienced developer and have spent years attached to the mouse, contextual menus, or inspector to do things, then you've got a much tougher challenge ahead of you.
Breaking years of habit can be hard to do, and you need to make a conscious effort to practice and use shortcuts. FileMaker provides a full list of mac and windows shortcuts on their help documentation. A lot of people will be familiar with some of the more frequently used shortcuts Define Database, Open Script Workspace etc.
However did you know that there are literally hundreds of shortcuts! We counted the total mac shortcuts available in FileMaker Pro, and there are around give or take a few, that's quite a lot.
Below we have two videos. To set the scene, we have a layout with some fields and labels, and a couple of other objects. The goal is to properly align everything nicely. In the first video we use no keyboard shortcuts - just the inspector and contextual menus. In the second video we use exclusively keyboard shortcuts. We display a timer in both videos.
In the second video we also show on-screen the keyboard shortcuts used. Without using shortcuts we took 69 seconds, and using shortcuts the same actions took 45 seconds - a saving of 24 seconds. This is just a one minute example. Now that's an extreme example - you would have to be working exclusively in layout mode and doing a lot of manipulation to see that improvement, but this is a good illustration of how much time can be saved in increments over the course of a single day!
More to the point, I think the most important area you can learn and use shortcuts is when in layout mode. So much of layout development is making minor adjustments and then previewing your work in browse mode.
The quicker you can do your refinements, the more previewing you can get done in the same amount of time. You'll quickly find yourself becoming a better designer as a result. And one final thing on the benefits. By using shortcuts you're not just getting faster at doing what you do. You will actually end up changing the way you develop. There's a tendency in developers to build something first, and refine or pretty it up later because that part of the task takes longer and is more tedious.
By utilising extra shortcuts you'll find yourself doing refinements along the way rather than at the end where they can often be forgotten about. For the keen eye who knows their shortcuts you may have noticed in the second video a few shortcuts you may not find in the standard set that comes with FileMaker. These are custom shortcuts we have added into FileMaker to extend our full set, and add even more functionality and efficiency to development.
Some extra ones in the video were:. In FileMaker you can actually add even more shortcuts to fill in the gaps where shortcuts are missing. There are a couple of ways you can do this. For this article, you'll find our method in the example file that you can download below.
Download the example file CustomShortcuts. The FileMaker preferences file also known as the plist file , is where all settings and defaults for the FileMaker program are kept. We can add custom shortcuts to this file. At this point because we're getting into discussing how to add custom shortcuts, we must stress that the example file is for mac users only. To this point I haven't found a good way to add custom shortcuts for FileMaker on windows.
If you have a good method for doing this please get in touch and we'll update the article. We won't go into too much detail about the specifics around building your own shortcuts because this is all covered with instruction in the example file. However to touch briefly on what is involved, let's look at some sample code:. This code is for a handful of custom shortcuts. This looks very much like XML. The key is the shortcut name case sensitive and must exactly match the menu command in FileMaker.
The string value is the shortcut representation. The code uses some special symbols to represent modifier keys:. Note some shortcuts require special symbols to represent them, such as the arrow keys, backspace, delete key etc. We list these special characters in the example file. The code is pasted into your FileMaker preferences file. After restarting FileMaker you should be able to use these.
Here is an example of some custom shortcuts for layout object manipulation:. The example file has 46 new custom shortcuts. All of them you'll find quite intuitive and similar to other existing keyboard shortcuts in the same area of FileMaker.
For example a lot of the shortcuts in the "Manage.. The custom shortcuts continue this trend so you can easily learn them:. The shortcuts you add directly into your plist file will appear here, and vice versa. We prefer modifying the plist because it allows you to easily keep your custom shortcuts, and transfer them to different computers if you need to.
However this is a nice way to view all of the ones you have defined or make any minor refinements. Of the 46 custom shortcuts we use, there are a few standouts. These are ones either used most frequently, or quite unusual or interesting ways you can use shortcuts in FileMaker, we'll go through a few here.
FileMaker doesn't provide shortcuts to toggle the data viewer or script debugger, so why not add your own. These 2 tools are used so often in development it would be criminal not to use a shortcut! Let's just add our own. These are so critical. Completing the full set of layout manipulation shortcuts lets you never have to reach for the menus again.
The best thing about these is they're intuitive and easy to learn if you already use the existing shortcuts e. Quite often when developing you need to build custom menus for certain layouts. While the users might require these, they can be incredibly frustrating for a developer especially when common commands might be missing from them.
Often you just want to revert to the standard menu set - so why not bind a key to the standard menus? This lets you quickly an easily change the menu set no matter where you are.