FileMaker Icons, Buttons, Interface Design Tips
by Kevin Hammond on August 18, 2009. Updated on October 18, 2009.
Like any well-designed graphical user interface, making a great FileMaker interface means using buttons and icons. Icons help your audience visually organize the interface by giving them a visual cue for the action they are taking. This makes for a better user experience, both in practicality and sheer aesthetic.
Using and Inserting Graphics in Filemaker Layouts
FileMaker gives you the option of inserting pictures from a variety of graphic file types, however the graphic file type you should predominantly use is a transparent PNG. While other file types are competent, PNG has superior capability when handling transparency with a wide spectrum of color. (GIFs support transparency, but are limited to 256 colors.)
To insert your graphics, in Layout Mode, use the "Insert Picture" function. While FileMaker allows you to copy and paste graphics, it's inconsistent in its results. As a best practice, always use the Insert Picture function.
Download the FamFamFam Icon Silk Set
The FamFamFam Silk Icons set, designed by Mark James, is ideal for use in FileMaker. They are small (16 px x 16 px) transparent PNGs, professionally designed, and allow for clean, easily understood interfaces. The set includes 1,000 different icons. (Did I mention they're free?)
As you become more familiar with the FamFamFam Silk Icons set, you may notice that they look familiar. Quite simply, it's because they are used all over the web and on software UIs. If you use them well, you may just find yourself with a killer FileMaker User Interface that will make you wonder how you ever managed before.
Over the years, we've done our fair share of creating icons, it's a time-consuming process and often outside the scope of a project. So, to save time (and money), use the FamFamFam free library of icons to help you make the interface and buttons you need.
Here's a big thank you to Mark James and the FamFamFam web site!
Update: Check Out the Icon Archive
I recently was introduced to the Icon Archive which currently has over 30,000 icons that you can easily search. I'm sure you will find some great icons for your FileMaker application.