Top-Notch FileMaker Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts (also called quick keys) are a developer’s golden ticket to a faster and more efficient workflow. Even a handful of keyboard shortcuts can cut down on work time and provide a more fluid user experience. Many tasks can be accomplished with keyboard shortcuts alone, and FileMaker Pro gives users the ability to create custom shortcuts.

The shortcuts in bold cater to Mac users, with Windows shortcuts included in parentheses. A full list of shortcuts can be found in the FileMaker documentation: 

This article details the shortcuts I use frequently that make development easier and faster. You probably have these symbols for reference on your keyboard, but just in case, ⌘ is Command, and ⌥ is Option.

Navigation & Database Shortcuts

Some of the most useful shortcuts navigate through FileMaker view options, and open and close the Script Workspace and Database Manager. 

⌘+B (Ctrl+B) opens browse mode, ⌘+F (Ctrl+F) opens find mode, and ⌘+L (Ctrl+F) opens Layout mode. These three shortcuts will be your best friends if they’re not already.

To open the Database Manager, press ⌘+Shift+D (Ctrl+Shift+D). There are shortcuts for many functions within the Database Manager, but I’m going to touch on a couple that work in the relationship graph.

Relationship Graph Shortcuts

If you know exactly which table you want, you can simply start typing the name of the table and it will find the first table that matches what you’re typing.

Users can click and drag to select multiple tables. If you have a busy relationship graph with tons of tables, or you need to move an entire table occurrence group to make more space, you can hold ⌘ (Ctrl) while you click and drag to call a selection box which will only select tables that fit completely in the box. To toggle the display state of your selected tables, press ⌘+T (Ctrl+T). 

Scripting Shortcuts

To open the Script Workspace, press ⌘+Shift+S (Ctrl+Shift+S).

Adding comments to scripts with # is always important, but what if you want to comment out an entire block of code? To disable single or multiple lines of a script, highlight all of the lines you want to disable and press ⌘+/ (Ctrl+/). The same shortcut applies if you want to enable it again. This shortcut is only available in FileMaker Pro.

Don’t forget to save your scripts with ⌘+S (Ctrl+S). To save it and run it immediately, use ⌘+Option+R (Ctrl+Shift+R). To save all scripts and immediately debug the current script, use ⌘+Shift+Option+R (Ctrl+Shift+Alt+R)

Layout Shortcuts

There are a ton of helpful layout shortcuts, and I highly recommend keeping a list of your favorites nearby until you have them memorized. 

When you’re in layout mode, the fastest way to navigate to different layouts is ⌘+Option+K (Ctrl+Alt+K). This will bring up the “open quickly” search bar in which you can enter whatever layout you want to navigate to.

Sometimes you have many objects on top of each other, and only want to edit specific ones. The best shortcuts in this situation are lock/unlock and move to front/back. To lock an item in place, use ⌘+Option+L (Ctrl+Alt+L), and to unlock use ⌘+Shift+Option+L (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+L).

To bring objects forward one layer, use ⌘+Shift+[ (Ctrl+Shift+[), or to bring objects all the way to the front, use ⌘+Option+[ (Ctrl+Alt+[). To send objects back one layer, use ⌘+Shift+] (Ctrl+Shift+]),  and ⌘+Option+] (Ctrl+Alt+]) to send them all the way back.

To quickly group objects, select all of the objects you want to group and press ⌘+R (Ctrl+R). To ungroup them, it’s ⌘+Shift+R (Ctrl-Shift-R).

To align a group of selected objects to one edge, select all of the objects you want to align and press  ⌘+Option+Arrow key (Ctrl+Alt+Arrow key), using the same arrow key as the edge you want to align.

Say you have a field or a text box that you want to copy exactly to preserve the size and style. Hold Option(⌥) as you drag an object and everything will be duplicated. You have to be careful with this when copying buttons or anything with a script, because it will copy all of the functionality of the object as well.

Button Bar Tips

To reorder buttons in a button bar, click and hold the button you want to move, then drag it after you’ve held on for a second. If you move too fast, it will drag the whole button bar. 

This is hardly an exhaustive list of shortcuts, as these are just my personal favorites. Useful shortcuts will vary based on individual FileMaker usage. What are your favorites? Let us know!