A FileMaker checkbox knows only two states: on and off. For a simple Boolean field you assign a value list, containing only a single value (1). In a checked state the field contains the value 1, in an unchecked state it is empty.
So far so good. But unfortunately sometimes a binary state checkbox is not good enough. There are cases where I like to have a tri-state checkbox in FileMaker. A tri-state checkbox knows three states: unchecked, checked, and indeterminate. Value representations could be 0, 1, and an empty value.
A binary state checkbox makes find requests sometimes complicated. Usually I can search only for checked values with FileMaker checkboxes. An unchecked checkbox represents an empty value and you search for empty values with the operator “=”. But that would require a regular edit box. You could create a special layout for find request where every checkbox is replaced by am edit box, but that is a lot of work for the developer and somewhat confusing for the regular user. Would he know that the value for an unchecked checkbox is an empty value?
A tri-state checkbox would make a find request easier. The checkbox would contain 0 / 1 for unchecked / checked states. This is easily applied with a tri-state checkbox. If the checkbox is not part of the search request, then its state would be indeterminate (empty value).
I sent a feature request to FileMaker, asking for a tri-state checkbox with the following features:
- The tri-state checkbox is a layout object, not a new data type.
- In the tri-state checkbox setup dialog you can define the values used for the three different states. Default: 0 (unchecked), 1 (checked), empty value (indeterminate)
- You can define how to change the states of tri-state checkboxes. Suggestions:
- A mouse click circles through all states: indeterminate -> checked -> unchecked -> indeterminate.
- A mouse click toggles between two states: unchecked -> checked -> unchecked
A click with a modifier key (e. g. ctrl) will return to indeterminate.
What do you think? Is this a Like-to-Have feature for FileMaker? If you like this tri-state checkbox, please add your own feature request on the FileMaker feature request page.