New Prefix and Suffix Technique

In the past, I've had to create new value lists in every file that needed to have them for prefixes and suffixes. In keeping with my own oft-repeated advice that, whenever you find yourself doing the same damn thing over and over, there's probably an easier way, I finally figured out the easier way.

Henceforth, whenever I update an installation's "Universal" file, it will be with an expanded version that now includes the "PreSuf" table. That table contains prefixes and suffixes that can be used to make value lists within any other file in the system. And, since it comes pre-loaded with all the standard values, I don't have to recreate them each time.

Furthermore, since each prefix and suffix is associated with a "Sex" code (F = female; M = male; O = organization), this enables the drop-down menus in other tables to be context-sensitive based on the sex of the being identified in the record. For example, Mary ("Sex" = F) will see a different set of options than Richard ("Sex" = M), and both of them will see something different than what you get for The Snazzy Co. ("Sex" = O):

You may have noticed the absence of the 2 most common prefixes, "Mr." and "Ms.". That's because those are the standard values for name titles, and, since they are what will show up >90% of the time, they're the default values. What you see above are the overrides, which will replace "Mr." and "Ms." only if you take the time to select them.

To modify the contents of the drop-down menus, go to the "Universal" file and choose the "PreSuf" data-entry button:

That will take you to a screen where this is the left half of a typical record:

This particular one happens to be for a female, but, since lawyering is not a sex-specific occupation, there's another one, identical in every way, except for "Sex" = M.

Over on the right side of each "PreSuf" record is a further method of identifying it, by "Language" and "Category":

Astute observers will have instantly figured out that these 2 methods of describing the record are what accounts for the gobbledygook over on the right side of the drop-down menus shown above. "Language" and "Category" form the basis for sorting those menus. I wish there were some way I could display the menus with only the abbreviations, and not the gobbledygook — and perhaps some future version of FileMaker Pro will make it possible — but for now this is what it takes to make it happen. Don't worry, clicking on any of the options will insert only the abbreviation into the field, not all the extraneous crap.

Bear in mind that the drop-down menus are provided solely as a data-entry convenience. There's nothing to stop you from clicking in the field a 2nd time to dismiss the menu and just typing in whatever you damn well please. The menus serve only to make your life easier, not to limit the contents of the fields in which they appear.

And, as with all drop-down menus, you can navigate to your preferred choice in any of 3 ways:
  • by clicking on it
  • by arrowing up or down to it
  • by typing its initial letter
before accepting it by hitting "return".

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