Master DataTables Series: 3.2 Column Titles

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 were introduced to the Columns Builder, a powerful feature that will help you quickly make changes to the reports you create using DataTables Builder.

In this post, we’re going to focus a specific portion of the Columns Builder, column titles. Learn how the tool can quickly allow you to modify the labels displayed at the top of columns in your reports.

Importance of Column Titles 

Titles help users quickly identify and understand the data they’re looking at.  For example, the data you are reporting on is from a contacts table and the field representing the contact’s name might be labeled, ‘nameFirstLast’.  This isn’t a very pretty name to display to your users.  Furthermore, renaming the column title to be ‘Name’ might be sufficient but your stakeholder may explicitly want you to call it ‘Teacher’, ‘Patient’ or ‘Customer Name’. 

By default, the Columns Builder capitalizes all column titles based on the name of the data referenced. This formatting choice makes it easy to identify the original data versus its counterpart, the title. Remember, the data attribute corresponds to the JSON data supplied. The title attribute can be anything you want ( less some special characters ) which puts you in control to meet specific requirements. 

Modifying Column Titles

We dive into the process of modifying column titles using a practical example. Imagine you’ve received feedback from stakeholders about the column titles in your report, and they’ve requested the following changes:

  1. Change “Company Name” to “Company.”
  2. Rename a calculated field from “Full Name Last First” to simply “Name.”
  3. Convert all other column names to Title Case.

Here’s how you can achieve these modifications:

  1. Access the Column Builder: In the DataTables Builder, open your project and navigate to the Columns tab. To access the Column Builder, click on the settings icon.
  2. Modify the Titles: Inside the Column Builder, you can now make the desired changes. For instance, change “Company Name” to “Company.” Similarly, update the calculated field name to “Name.” For the remaining columns, convert them all to Title Case.
  3. Submit Changes: After making these modifications, save your changes by pressing the “Submit Changes” button.
  4. Preview Your Report: Take a moment to preview your report. You should see the updated column titles reflecting the changes you’ve made.

In the example provided, we have successfully modified the column titles in our report. “Company Name” is now “Company,” the calculated field has been simplified to “Name,” and all other column titles appear in Title Case.

Key Takeaways

Column Builder empowers you to tailor your reports to meet specific requirements, including the modification of column titles. This flexibility ensures that your data is presented in a way that is intuitive and user-friendly for your stakeholders.

What’s next?

In the next post, we will explore how to hide columns that stakeholders do not want to appear in the report, further enhancing your report customization capabilities. 

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