Master DataTables Series: 3.1 Overview of Columns Builder

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 postwe learned how we can alter the appearance of our DataTables reports by modifying columns. 

In this post, we dive into the Columns Builder, a powerful feature that will help you quickly make changes to the reports you build using DataTables Builder. We’ll explore why this tool is beneficial to your development and provide a step-by-step guide to master it.

Mastering the Columns Builder 

At the outset, let’s clarify what the Columns Builder is all about. It’s a user interface within DataTables Builder that empowers you to manage and customize your DataTables columns effortlessly. You can adjust the display order, visibility, search-ability, titles, and more, all within a user-friendly environment.  

Getting Hands-On with the Columns Builder

The demo file (see below for download) allows us to dive into a practical demonstration of the Columns Builder. We cover what each of these features consist of and how to use them to create unique reports from your data.

1. Display Order and Arrows:

     – The display order of columns can be modified using arrows.

     – Shift-clicking allows you to move columns to the top or bottom.

     – Precise positioning can be achieved by manually typing numbers.

2. Resequencing the List:

     – A feature that reorders columns sequentially, handy after manual adjustments.

3. Reset to Default:

     – Returns all columns to their original settings and order.

     – Exercise caution with the “Reset to Default” option, as it will overwrite any previous modifications.

4. Select Clear All Options:

     – Allows for mass changes of visibility, searchability, and orderable selections, making customization efficient.

5. Original Column Name:

     – Provides insight into the original column names from your data source.

6. Return or Preview:

     – Takes you back to the DataTables Builder, displaying the changes made.

     – Quickly navigate between the Columns Builder and the report’s Preview

     – Continue this process and instantly see the effects of your changes


The Columns Builder tool is not required to use DataTables, any developer can manually update each columns’ attributes to get the same results. That’s the process I used when I first started working with DataTables, but I quickly realized this step of the process was both time consuming and tedious. To combat that, I developed this feature (all within FileMaker) to save myseflt time and prevent mistakes.

Once you begin using DataTables in your solutions, this companion tool will be a game-changer for you. Whether it’s reordering columns, adjusting visibility, or resetting to defaults, this tool empowers you to take full control of your data visualization. I promise it is worth time to learn how to use it to your advantage.

What’s next?

In the next post, we will focus on a specific attribute of modifying columns, the title or column display name.  We will use the feedback from an earlier report we produced for our stakeholders and modify it to meet the requirements. 

Join the Training Series Now

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with the video training series. Comment on the YouTube videos to interact with us and share your thoughts and questions. Also, don’t forget to join our mailing list for updates on new videos and additional resources.

Please enter your contact information to download the Demo file.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Built with you in mind

Speak to one of our expert consultants about making sense of your data today. During
this free consultation, we'll address your questions, learn more about your business, and
make some immediate recommendations.


Stay in touch!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.