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Somewhat Advanced Printing Help needed.


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I am looking for a few things that will help me be able to print better reports.


My first hurdle is this:


I have a listview of records I would like to print. All of these records have a NOTES field. Sometimes that notes field has a multi line note in it. But not always. What I would like my printing template to be able to do, is auto-fit the height of the row to fit the amount of text in the note field. (Or in any field that wraps down to multiple lines based on its width.)


So if record#3 has a NOTE that is 4 lines wrapped, just record3's row when printing expands to be large enough to fit the entire note. Records 1,2, & 4 woould all print with the original minimum row height, which would usually be 1 row of the font size being used.


Is Hurdle #1 Achievable?


Hurdle #2

I may need to print 2 reports from filemaker, but would love it if there was a way to combine those two reports as 1 pdf. Is that possible? For example, print report 1, which is 1 page.. then print report 2 which is 2 pages, and have filemaker combine those into 1 3 page pdf.


Is Hurdle #2 Achievable?




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Made some progresson Hurdle #1. Some...


I have since done some searching in the help file, and found the sliding feature. But have serious issues with it. I take it I need to set my row height to the max I would ever expect to have, and then turn sliding on, and it will get smaller.


But it will never expand if one record is in fact larger? Ok I can deal with that. But the Vertical Boarders of columns do not draw the entire height! If i have 3 columns, and the first and second column only need 1 line of text, but column 3 needs 5 lines of text, the Left and RIGHT boards of Column 1 and 2 only go down 1 line worth of boarders, and column 3 has full length boarders.


Thats not good. Any fixes?



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Others may give you a more detailed explanation, but if in layout mode you have a look at Format : Set Sliding/Printing that should get you over hurdle one. Play with the sliding up options and see what works for you.

There are several ways to join the PDFs. In save records as PDF script steps and other places there is an option to "append to existing PDF" and that is what you are after.

Hope that helps

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Im not having any luck keeping all cells of the same row the same height as the largest one.


Please see my above post about left and right borders not lining up with largest height cell of the row.


Even more to the point, if my cells are set to CENTER verticle justifaction as opposed to TOP, the sliding doesnt work at all.


Id like them to be centered vertically, but to have the entire cell row to be based on the largest it has to be to contain the longest text in one of the fields.


I know its got to be easier than it is seeming.. I need to get some sleep,



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I thought some screen captures might explain this issue better. Its insane to think that Filemaker cannot fix this somehow.


Slideprinting01 shows what I get out of filemaker with sliding turned on.


Slideprinting02 shows what I want, which is only slightly different. But the difference is critical for printing easy to read and legible reports. the vertical left and right borders have to print based on that rows maximum cell.


Please help!


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Hoping that someone can take a look at the jpgs i posted above, and please tell me there is a way to achieve those results in filemaker.



I have now spent so much time trying to figure out how to solve this issue, I feel like going back to Excel. This is awful. I just want each row of fields to auto size to the smallest possible size based on the contents in each field. I want them to scale together. This should not be hard, and it is always so frustrating when something like this comes along.


Such a powerful program, there must be a way. But I can't find it.


> for help.



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Hoping that someone can take a look at the jpgs i posted above, and please tell me there is a way to achieve those results in filemaker....> for help.

Is this the sort of thing you're after Fred?

It's a List view in Preview mode so would print like that.

I think you're stuck with the Top vertical text alignment I'm afraid, sliding doesn't work with the content of a field vertically aligned centre or bottom. But if your note field is always resized to the amount of text lines it contains then the content will always appear vertically 'centred' anyway?


You have to make sure that your Body part size is divisable exactly by the row height, e.g. if your regular fields are, say, 16 pixels high and your note field is designed to take up to four lines then the body part and the note field should be 64 pixels high. Use the border options for the fields to add lines where you need them. You can 'cheat' by using same-size duplicates of your notes field, setting the text & background to white, set the sliding the same as the visible notes field, move to the back of the layout order and use the top or bottom border option to make up the horizontal lines between records. You would probably need one or two vertical 16 pixel (or your regular field height) lines to go over the left and/or right border of your visible notes field at the first line position to compensate for the fact that the field will slide to one pixel high when there is no note content at all.

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That is close, and probably what I would have to live with, I will try to reproduce what you explained. However, it would be much easier on the eyes, and more like what my clients and employees are used to if I could make it look like the attachment below.


Problem is, its not just the notes field that can vary in size. There are multiple (atleast 3) fields that can vary in size. And to reduce wasted white space, I originally wanted all fields to scale down to fit the field with the most data in it.

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...it would be much easier on the eyes, and more like what my clients and employees are used to if I could make it look like the attachment below.
Well you can use the same principle. Keep duplicating that notes field and don't resize it! The first one set to only have white text, a transparent fill, sliding up and a Left border line. Position it to make the leftmost vertical line. Repeat this until you have all your vertical lines covered, group the whole lot together and move them lower until they are at or near the back of the layout order. The note field duplicates you originally set up to make the horizontal lines between records will probably need moving in front of that group.

If you want to have several fields controlling the record size there's nothing to stop you repeating the process so that all these duplicate fields overlay each other but you might need to experiment with white fills and layer ordering otherwise you're going to end up with a load of scattered field-length horizontal lines everywhere. It's also critical that every occurrence of each multi-line field involved is always the exact same size as the original visible text one.

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Well it can be done with multiple fields but it's flippin' fiddly to get all the borders, fills and layers right. It would be nice to know if there's an easier way.smiley-tongue-out


Also, I forgot to mention that I had to space the text with a 1.05 line spacing in all note field occurrences. YMMV, I guess it will depend a lot on the font used.


If it helps, I don't think you need to restrict yourself to a small note field size. In theory the same principle should hold up for as many a line note field as you need as long as you follow the method.

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Ok, So I'm looking at this and trying to make sense of what you have been able to accomplish. Thank you so much, this gets me like 95% of the way there. But as I am playing with it,. I stumbled upon some things that are odd.


If i turn on alternate row coloring, and make every other row gray, I see a lot of misc white garbled text. I assume this is some sort of hidden trick you are using to make this technique work. Is that accurate? Also If i Click on your record that has 4 lines of text, and I add a fifth and sixth line of text, nothing happens, and the fifth and sixth line are lost....


Seems odd, but my users are going to need alternating row colors, and I am hoping there is a way to modify your solution to work? They also need a way to have dynamic row heights. Some forms will only need 1 line per record. Others may need 8, other reports may have a mix of records that require only 1 line per row, and multiple lines per row in the same document.


I'm not complaining about your solution!! :) Just still feeling a little disappointed in filemaker, because I would think printing data in this way should be trivial. Excel has been doing this since 1982.


Maybe I am asking the wrong questions, are there other ways to alternate how many lines each record in a list or table view can have? Even if it was a numeric field for that record where you can enter how many lines you want all the fields of that record to be. So if you need 1 long record in the batch, you set that one records #ofLines field to 10, and all the other records still print as 1 line per row, but that record would print with 10 line tall fields. Is that a possibility? I am starting to think that the only way we will get what we need here is to start trying to find different ways to do things.


I am starting to warm up to the idea of setting a standard 3 line row height, and adjust font size down based on the number of characters in the field. I have seen that demonstrated here. But that can get tricky when you send someone a fax as that text box will not be readable.


I cant help but feel like there is no solution, just a series of alternatives, none of which really accomplish what is needed.



thanks for helping, and thanks for reading my rambling.




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....this gets me like 95% of the way there.
Hopefully this is 100% smiley-laughing


I have changed the interaction of the layout elements considerably - simplifying the hidden fields down to just two groups of duplicates of each sliding field. You'll need to use conditional formatting on all of the Body part fields instead of the alternate row fill in the layout setup. The formula is simply Mod ( Get ( RecordNumber ) ; 2 ) i.e. only odd numbered records get filled field backgrounds. The hidden sliding fields will need their text and fill both set to white but conditionally both set to grey (or whatever you want your alternate fill to be).


The main thing to remember if you are trying to reverse engineer what I have done here is that pretty much every field contained within the Body part, hidden or otherwise, has a fill/transparency, text colour, single-edge border, conditional formatting and, in the case of all occurrences of the note fields, sliding.


I am aware of no way to make text transparent in FileMaker, so using the built-in alternate record background fill will not work with this method of sliding as it relies on matching the text colour to the background of the duplicated note fields to make the text 'invisible'.


The previous version of the file I only set up to have note fields with four lines of text, this version has ten. If you want more then you need to extend the Body part and the note field size in the manner that I have aready described.


I agree that FileMaker appears to lack an easy way to achieve this but FileMaker is not Excel and I guess the developers have to prioritise it's feature set towards things that make it what it is. There are a thousand things that FileMaker doesn't do that I wished it did but at the same time there are a thousand things it does do that I wished many other software packages (including Excel) also did but don't.


I think that one of FileMaker's strengths is that if you are prepared to experiment and work at it you can usually find a way of emulating a useful feature of other software. The same cannot be said for a great deal of other software. The point I'm making is that FileMaker allows you to build your solution whereas with many other software packages you are stuck with the options hard-coded in.


Don't forget that FileMaker Pro is a development tool and not an out-of-the-box software solution.

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