Where can I find good documentation about the Text Ruler?

In a Text Box I need to display a text that includes a Bulleted List. The source for the text is located in a PowerPoint presentation - don't ask why, this is the way it is. I copy the text in the Text Box removing the format so I can set it on The Text box.

The text is properly displayed wit the bullets as in the source, but the indent is lacking. I tried using the Text Ruler, but its not that easy to figure out how it works.

Do you know where I can find a good documentation for the Text Ruler ?

Many thanks

Maybe this one:

Actually the text ruler works the same as in any other ext editor. To indent your bullet list just highlight the paragraph, move the left triangle to the right and the small line above the triangle to the left.

I found out that figure. Seems pretty easy looking it, but it's not. I need to display text like this:
in Word or PowerPoint it's very easy to achieve. In FileMaker, I can't find how to do the same. The Help file is of no help. The hard part is the second level of indentation.


When I click outside the Edit Box, all changes to the text ruler are not retained.

Perhaps I’m missing something. But: Why don’t you use Tab position in the Appearance Inspector? You can preserve these tab positions in a style.


There is a rich text editor in FileMaker that might work for you.

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The rich text editor is quite interesting. I am afraid that using it can't be implemented in the process.

At this time, I am modifying the app in FileMaker Pro. Once I am finished, the process will be:

  1. Someone not FileMaker savvy will provide text changes.

  2. Another person will open FMP and update the texts using a Layout to update the text.

  3. The app will then be updated on the iPads.

At point no 2, we need something really simple as copy and paste.

I have contacted my customer and asked how the previous text were created. My guess is that the text was composed in Pages, but I may be wrong.

I find it difficult to handle the rulers in FM. The rulers might be easy - but when it comes to the inspector part, it's no longer clear

TextEditor (AddOn): I tried that out - but couldn't print anything. So I left it..

Does the bullet list always have a maximum of two levels? And are the bullets for each level always the same?
e. g.
● level 1
◦ level 2

And the text should be displayed in a text frame and not in a field?
Do I understand this correctly?

See Example File.
Text Ruler.fmp12 (204 KB)


Always 2 levels, always the bullets you showed.

The text is saved in a field and the field added to the layout. What is a text frame ?

In layout mode, select the text field, and go to the Appearance inspector. The very bottom section, below paragraph, is Tabs. You can define the number and position of tabs in the field, and how they align. These settings become the default for all text entered in the field.

On MacOS it's option-tab to enter a tab in a field, I'm not sure what it is on Windows.

Because it's all so fiddly, I would suggest that you write a script that will do the formatting of lists for you. One script would format a top level list item, another to format the second level list item.

If you're using an automation to create this the bullet is Char(8226) and the white bullet is Char(9702).

You could also use a markdown solution und display the field content in a webviewer. If you’re a subscriber of Matt Petrowsky's website filemakermagazine.com then search his library for "markdown" and you'll find videos and example files.

I made a script for you that simulates a bullet list. Maybe this can help?

Bullet Points.fmp12 (308 KB)

One click creates a bullet point Level 1, two clicks will make a bullet point level 2. Note that these are no real bullet lists as they lack the proper indent of the first line. Any sentence longer than one line will not have the correct indent in the second line because this is not scriptable.

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Based on the width of the field and the font properties, you could estimate how many characters go into a line and automatically insert line breaks with 1 or 2 tabs + 2 spaces at the beginning of the following line. Format all tabs and spaces at the beginning of a line with a monospace font like Courier New (available on all PCs and Macs). Then you have the correct indents.

I once built something to estimate how high a card window has to be depending on the text length. From that idea, I might try that when I get a chance. But unfortunately not within a few days. I'm pretty busy right now. And it's also a bit of try and error.

That works but it is fragile. If the content is reused in any other place the paragraph needs to reflow.

Well, I would use two fields: one for the input and a calculation field for the display. This way you have both: the original text and the correct display.

Whereas I think the Markdown variant with Webviewer that I suggested earlier would be easier to implement. And the indents should be correct automatically.

January 23rd 2023 episode

Remember I said

When I click outside the Edit Box, all changes to the text ruler are not retained.

Well that's true in one Layout - in a copy of the dev file, but not in the Layout of the official dev file. Go figure. My guess is that the Layout that does not work is corrupt for some reasons. I don't like that.

So I did another test with the ruler and not using Tabs settings on the field. It works ! How have I done that ?

  1. I copied the text from the PowerPoint presentation
  2. Changed the size from 11 to 22
  3. And used the Text Ruler

The result is

I used the Text Ruler this way. For Level 1, leftmost level:


Look at the the dash, it sets the bullet place, and the triangle sets the left justified text.

And for Level 2, indented to right of Level 1:


Same dash and triangle, bot moved to the right.

That means once the text is copied into the field, I have to select Level 1 text in a group and set the dash and triangle, and select Level 2 paragraphs in a group, and set the dash and triangle to the right. The example here is easy because all Level 1 text is in a single group, and all the Level 2 text in a single group also.

Thing is it can be more complicated. For example:

As you can see, the Level 2 bullets are not exactly aligned to their left. This is because they were note done in a single pass, and it's hard using the mouse (or trackpad) to align one group to another one.

The drawbacks of this method are:

  • Manipulation is needed for each text
  • The manipulation is fuzzy and can drive one crazy
  • For an obscure reason, the Layout may act strange and not retain the changes to the Text Ruler.
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See my first answer... (and my first example file).

@cheesus Yes you provided the solution that I then discovered by myself. So the solution is granted to you !

I copied all of the texts to FMP and set the Text Ruler for all of the. In FMP, the display is almost perfect: sometimes the left justification is not exactly right, but you need to look very carefully to notice.

I tested on my iPad, and left justification is somewhat wrong: sometimes all the lines in a point are not aligned, sometimes a little bit to the right. Also, the bullet for the second level is different from text to text. I wonder what would explain that. Could it be the fonts would be different ? In this case it's Arial.

Another question: where is the formatting for the text saved ?