Design: Themes in FileMaker

Note: I promised to publish Part 2 of connecting to Kartra and WordPress last week. It is still not ready. I will get it published this week, but didn't want to go too long between posts. Enjoy this post and video about themes from last years DevCon. I found it illuminating.

Why Use Themes in FileMaker

I know, a theme is always loaded in FileMaker since their introduction in FileMaker 13. But a lot of developers do not know the rules of themes, when to apply the rules, how to modify themes, and how to use existing themes options to make easy changes to various objects on the layout.

Multiple Options

The new FileMaker themes quite often have multiple options available for the same objects –buttons might have 4 different color options, for example. The same is true with other objects like text fields. Just knowing that will help you spice up your design. Be sure to explore theme options

You can also modify a theme and save changes to the Style you modified, and/or save changes to the theme itself. If you do the latter, a custom version of the theme is saved separate from the original theme, leaving the original untouched.

If you like your changes, you can also import that theme into other files using the Manage Themes Option under the File menu in FileMaker Pro Advanced. Themes cannot, unfortunately, be exported from FileMaker.

More about Themes

You can apply different themes to different layouts - it's fine to do so as long as you don't get carried away. Using consistent colors and styles to do the same functions across layouts helps your users learn the system faster, and makes them more comfortable sooner.

Use Color Palettes

If you are like me, you'll need help finding complementary colors. If you can't afford to hire (or don't know) a designer, there's plenty of resources available online. Heres a sampling to get you started:

Finally, watch the whole video presentation by Javier Dura. It's well worth your while:

You can download the PDF of this presentation here.


"We may not imagine how our lives could be more frustrating and complex--but Congress can."

Cullen Hightower
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