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Open Quickly – New Tool for Keyboard Warriors

By May 20, 2020 May 22nd, 2020 3 Comments

Sometimes it’s the small changes that matter most…

I live and die by keyboard shortcuts in FileMaker Pro. Though I haven’t memorized them all, I rely on a core set of shortcuts to help speed up development; I’ll give up those shortcuts when my fingers are as cold as any stone. I need only think of editing tables, fields, or relationships, and my fingers fly to Command-Shift-D (I’m on a Mac, so if you’re a Windows OS user different combinations apply, such as Control-Shift-D in this case).

When I want to bring up a layout in another window, I’ll use Command-L to switch into layout mode, and then Command-Shift-L to bring up the layout selection window. This is a time-consuming process, as you then need to scroll or filter to locate the right layout and move or close the Manage Layouts window. Then again, every so often, you end up on the wrong layout and then have to go through the whole process again.

Open Quickly in FileMaker 19

In FileMaker Pro 19, we now have another option to get to a layout that greatly speeds up the process. While in layout mode, the keyboard shortcut Command-Option-K (Mac) brings up a floating dialog (on Windows, the combination is Control-Alt-K). The placeholder text in this popup gives us a hint at its purpose – Open Quickly.

Floating dialog for Open Quickly

Figure 1. Floating dialog

Typing any key pops up a list of layouts filtered based on the letter combination that’s typed.

Typing any key in the floating dialog brings up a list of layouts

Figure 2. Filtered list of layouts

The Open Quickly feature offers a companion method to get to layouts. The transition from the current layout to the select layout is almost instant. With the filter feature, you don’t need to memorize exact layout names, as typing something close to the layout name will present options. It helps to keep your layouts well-organized, with sensible names, and without using duplicate names. You can scroll down or up the list and click return when you find the right layout. Your current layout switches to the selected layout in the same window. In contrast, navigating to a layout from the Manage Layouts window opens the layout in a new window.

What happens if you have a layout folder and a layout with the same name, you ask? Using the same name for both a folder and a layout might not be the best approach to organization, but those things happen. The good news is that the Open Quickly filter ignores the folder. Only layouts are displayed in the filtered list.

Although “Open Quickly” seems like a minor feature, I’ve found that it saves a few precious seconds compared to the other method. It might take a while to adjust to the new shortcut keys, as the other method is one that I’ve used for years and has become ingrained in my developer habits. However, while I still may need to move my fingers off the keyboard to select Window >> New Window from the menu (if I want the new layout to open in a new window), I no longer need to close the Manage Layouts window to clean up clutter on my screen.

Do you have questions about other FileMaker 19 features? Our team is happy to provide more insights. Contact us today.

Anders Monsen

Anders Monsen

Anders is a Lead Developer for Soliant Consulting. He has developed in FileMaker since 1994, spoken at DevCon from 2010-2013, and written articles on FileMaker and PHP. He is also a runner, cyclist, martial artist, and working on writing crime fiction.

3 Comments

  • Avatar Friendly Admirer says:

    “Command-Option-L to bring up the layout selection window.” On Mac, I think you mean Command-Shift-L for the Manage Layouts window. Command-Option-L does nothing.

    • Anders Monsen Anders Monsen says:

      Thanks for catching that! It’s a case of the typing fingers not being in sync with the shortcut fingers. I’ve updated the post with the correct combination.

  • Avatar Erika Green says:

    This is AMAZING – I feel like this feature was eclipsed by the whole JavaScript thing (which is legitimately awesome), but I can’t tell you how many times in the past I wished this feature existed!

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