Master DataTables Series: 3.3 Column Visibility

by Jody Barney - Application Developer

Welcome to the multi-part video series that will teach you how to implement DataTables in your Claris FileMaker Pro solutions effectively. If you’re new to this series, we recommend starting from the introduction to maximize your learning experience. You can access the complete series here: Master DataTables with Claris FileMaker Pro.

In the previous post, we delved into customizing column titles.

In this post, we shift our focus to another crucial aspect of data reporting—column visibility. We’ll learn how to toggle the visibility of specific columns, as well as rearrange their order to create more user-friendly reports.

Mastering Column Visibility and Sequencing 

Column visibility refers to whether a particular column is displayed or hidden in your report.  

Each column has a visibility attribute that can be set to either “true” or “false.” If it’s set to “true,” the column is visible in the report; if it’s set to “false,” the column is hidden.  By default, all columns are set to be visible. 

For example, let’s say we have 20 fields available to us in our dataset, but we may only need a handful of them to appear for a certain report.  The beauty is using the column visibility setting is that we can use that same dataset and create an entirely different report my modifying what we show our users.

Demo – Stakeholder Feedback

Our task in this lesson is to use the Column Builder to implement changes based on stakeholder feedback. The stakeholders have requested the removal of specific columns from the report and a specific sequence for the remaining columns. Using the demo file (see below for download), we can achieve this easily.

Implementing Column Visibility Changes

  1. Access the Column Builder: Go to the Columns tab and click on the Column Builder icon to open the tool.
  2. Toggle Column Visibility: Use the Column Builder’s intuitive user interface to toggle the visibility of columns. By selecting or clearing individual checkboxes, you can specify which columns should be visible and which should be hidden. In our example, the stakeholders have identified which columns to keep and which ones are marked for removal.
  3. Re-sequence the Columns: Once you’ve decided which columns should remain visible, you can also adjust their order. This step is useful for arranging columns in a sequence that makes sense for your report. The Columns Builder allows you to quickly sequence columns to reorder them. By default, non-visible columns will appear at the bottom and visible columns are located at the beginning, making it easier for you to work with only the columns you need.
  4. Submit Changes: After completing the visibility and sequencing modifications, submit your changes through the Column Builder.
  5. Preview Your Report: Take a moment to preview your report. You should now see the desired changes in column visibility and sequence.

The Result

By following these steps, you can effectively control which columns are displayed to your users and how they are arranged within your report. In our example, we removed certain columns and reordered the remaining ones as per the stakeholder’s request. The result is a cleaner and more user-friendly report that focuses on the most relevant data. The best part, we let the Columns Builder tool assist us with this instead of manually making all these settings changes ourselves.

What’s next?

In our next and final post of this series on modifying columns, we will examine column ordering and searchability attributes. These column settings can further enhance the usability and presentation of the reports you create.

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