FileMaker Function of the Week: Two Value List Functions

Stuart Gripman automates the process of identifying the names of value lists in a file and then grabbing the values in those lists in his latest post.  ValueListNames ( fileName )  and ValueListItems ( fileName ; valueListName ) are functions not used very often, but are very handy when the need arises:

Aah value lists. Reliever of the weary typist, protector of accuracy, usher to the chooser. Well concieved and implemented value lists are, despite my trifling tone, extremely useful in almost any database. In the process of rebuilding and improving an aing system recently, I was tasked with reimagining a layout with about 20 fields, each bearing a pop-up list with its own unique value list. In practice, any given record in this database had information in 5 to 8 of those 20 fields. To make the whole thing more efficient, we decided to replace all those fields and pop-ups with a single portal. We also moved the static value lists into a dynamic and more user-friendly value list table.

Probably the most obvious way to get the contents of a static value list is to open Manage > Value Lists and start copying and pasting. It works, but man is is tedious when you’ve got a lot of lists. Besides, there’s no need to put yourself through that when FileMaker gives us a couple of functions to aleviate the drudgery.

ValueListNames ( fileName )does just what it says on the label- it produces a return-separated list containing the name of every value list in the specified file. This is the stepping stone necessary to get us to the actual values they contain.

ValueListItems ( fileName ; valueListName )also generates a return separated list. This time it’s the values that make up the specified value list in the specified file.

More…FileMaker Function of the Week: Two Value List Functions. 

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