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Advanced Training: Admin

The Layout Editor

To start editing an individual layout, choose the Layout type you want to change, and click the Edit link next to it. In theory it doesn't matter whether you choose the Edit Layout or the View Layout to make your changes, but we've found that for visual design consistency and spacing, it's better to make changes on the Edit Layout side.

After making your selection, the system will transition to the Layout Editor tool, as shown.


The Layout Editor Tool
Click to view larger image.

When you get there, you'll see that the editor has two basic components:

  • The layout page form itself, which creates the basic "shape" of the object record, and
  • The Property Menus on the right side of the screen.

Page Form Construction

The page editor area uses a simple drag-and-drop interface to move fields within the record form. Practice moving a few fields around to get used to the feel of the tool.

As you work with the drag-and-drop layout editor, you may notice times when you attempt to move a field and it doesn’t move where you intend. This is normally caused by dropping the field too close to another one, or too close to the form border. When this happens, the editor detects the overlap won't allow you to drop the field, pushing it back to the spot where you picked it up.


Layout Editor - Overlapping Fields
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You also have the option to move fields using the arrow keys on your keyboard. This gives you the ability to move fields into tight spaces, with more precision. Holding down the CTRL while you tap the arrow keys will speed up the movement to about 10 pixels at a time.

Moving Blocks of Fields Together

In many cases instead of moving fields one at a time, it's more efficient to move a block of fields together. To do this, you'll use a combination of the mouse and keyboard together.

First, select all of the fields you want to move as a block using the mouse. After you select the first field, hold down the CTRL key and select the remaining fields you want to move as a block. When finished, all of the fields will be outlined in blue, as shown.


Moving Blocks of Fields Together
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Once all of the fields are highlighted, instead of using your mouse to drag them, use the Arrow Keys on your keyboard to move the block of fields together. If you continue to hold down the CTRL key while you use the arrows, the fields will move faster; if you use the arrow keys by themselves, they fields will move more slowly. Try using this technique to get used to the movement.

Layout Menus and Properties

The page form area defines the physical appearance of the record object, but all of the other functions hang out in the various Properties menus on the right side of the Layout Editor. From top to bottom, they are:

  • Form Properties
  • Panel Properties
  • Field Properties
  • Available Fields
  • Editor Properties

Form Properties Menu

The form properties menu controls the basic visual elements of your layout: form and field size, color, and type (font).


The Form Properties Menu
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Height and Width: These properties control the basic size of the page form. For instance, try increasing the height of your layout 100 pixels greater than its current setting. Then point and click the mouse in a blank area in the form, and watch as the system adds white space at the bottom of the form.

Field / Label Container Width: These adjust the width of the field labels, and the containers which house the actual data. These are general settings that apply to all of the fields in the form, though some fields can be altered by adjusting their individual Field Properties, which will be shown in another section.

Font Size and Form Font Family: These control which font and font size the Web browser will use to render the form text.

Color Settings: Each of the color settings can be adjusted for personal taste and preference, though we recommend using a light background with dark text for easiest visbility.

Show Label Above Field: This switches the field labels to appear above the input line, rather than next to it. Some administrators prefer this type of data entry, though in most cases the default works just fine. Be aware that changing the label location can cause major changes to the spacing of your fields in side your layout. If you're going to use this option, do it from the beginning while you're setting up your field locations, otherwise you'll be forced to re-align and redistribute the fields after the change is made.

Copy Attributes from Layout: If you have set up another layout of the same record type, you can immediately import the font, size, and color properties of the existing layout, so that the layout you are currently editing matches. This is a very nice time saving feature when you're creating multiple layouts for the same object type.

Add / Delete / Previous / Next Page: The layout editor gives admins the option to create layouts with more than one page. This is very useful for organizations with large numbers of input fields, so users do not have to constantly scroll up and down (or left and right) to input data. However, it does mean users need to be aware that not all data fields are contained on a single page.

Show / Hide Hidden Fields: The hidden fields option is used to reveal any fields that have been hidden in a Panel, and are not currently visible. A more detailed explanation of panels will be given in a separate section.

Panel and Field Properties Menus

Panels

Panels are a unique aspect of the layout tool that allows sysadmins more control over their record layouts, and make certain areas of the site more secure.

A panel is essentially a section, or block of the page form that can appear or disappear depending on a variable selected by the user. If a specific field variable is chosen, the panel appears with a new set of fields.


Panel and Field Properties Menus
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A panel can also be set as always active, meaning it appears in the layout regardless of criteria. Most of the time, however, panels will be criteria based.

When a dropdown option is selected that controls a panel, the layout of the document automatically updates as the panel opens. Sysadmins can also add security features to panels based on record ownership. This means that only a record owner, for instance, could access certain fields contained within the panel, while anyone who doesn't own the record would have no ability to see or modify those same fields.

Be aware that as you add panels, they appear in order along the bottom of the page layout, and cannot be moved. This means that you need to plan ahead the order in which the panels appear, and which fields should be placed into each one.

Panels are not required for your layouts to work, but can be useful for sysadmins who want to create more dynamic, streamlined, secure layouts.

Field Properties Menu

The Field Properties menu gives sysadmins control over the individual fields within the layout form. You can use this menu to change field names, make fields searchable within the database, add and modify options to dropdown fields, and link dropdowns to panels.

To use the Field Properties menu, select a field within the layout form (you'll see it faintly outlined in blue when it is selected). Once highlighted, come back to the Field Properties menu, where you can now modify the field.


Field Properties Menu / Manage Dropdown Window
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One of the most important Field Properties actions is editing custom dropdown fields. To edit a dropdown field, highlight the field, then go to the Field Properties and click the Edit Options link. The system will pop up the Manage Dropdown window to allow you to begin editing the dropdown options. See the section of this guide entitled Manage Dropdown Window (below) for more information about this interface.

Notice also the Panel Controls heading, and the Log Changes checkbox. The panel control links a dropdown field, and the option within that field, to trigger particular panel.

The Log Changes option is used if you want to keep a running log of changes made to that field and store it with the record, for example, if I wanted to make a log of changes to the Rating field. Any time a user modifies the Rating field, a log is created and stored.

The Default field is used to select a default value for this field. The default value is automatically selected whenever a new record that uses this layout is created. You can also select the default value on the field itself in the main layout editor window.

Note: Default Values are not available for certain types of fields, including most password fields, advanced multi-select fields, date/time fields.

Manage Dropdown Window

Let's go into a little more detail about the window.

From here, you can determine which options are available in the dropdown and how they are displayed. To change the order in which options are displayed, highlight one and press the Up and Down Arrow buttons to move them.

To remove an option from the list, highlight it and use the Right and Left Arrow buttons in the center of the window to move it from the "Active" list to the "Disabled" list. To make an option available again, move it to the "Active" list.

Below the arrow buttons are the Create (marked with a "+") and Edit (marked with a pencil symbol) buttons. Pressing either of these buttons will bring up a window in which you can edit the parameters of a dropdown setting. In most cases, it looks like this:

The Manage Dropdown Window / Dropdown Edit Window
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As you can see, there are three options to edit for this dropdown entry:

  • Name: This name appears in the dropdown itself.
  • Default Option: Checking this box makes this entry the default. It will be selected automatically in the dropdown whenever a new record is created, but can be manually changed if needed. NOTE: This option is overridden if another default option is selected from the Default Values area of the Field Properties box in the layout editor.
  • Description: Information entered in this box will appear to an agent who hovers his mouse over the dropdown option. This may be helpful, for example, to tell your agents about the situations in which you'd like the option to be used.
A limited number of dropdown statuses, such as those involved with the Lead Status dropdown, will display a number of other options, as shown here:

Lead Status Dropdown Edit Window
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Here are some brief instructions about this interface:

Standard Options: These are the typical options that all dropdown statuses share, as explained as above. They include:

  • Lead Status: This is the same as the Name field described above. Enter a name for this status here.
  • Default Option: See description in previous section.
  • Description: See description in previous section.
Record Tracking: These options tell the system how this status should be used for record keeping. These records are available through the Reports engine.
  • Point Value: This assigns the number of "points" assigned to an agent who places the record into this status. Points are an optional method of record-keeping which you may use to track agent performance on your Reports.
  • Appointment Set: This causes one to be added to the the "Appointment Set" count tracked by the Reports function whenever an agent selects this lead status.
  • Appointment Held:This causes one to be added to the the "Appointment Held" count tracked by the Reports function whenever an agent selects this lead status.
  • Won:This causes one to be added to the the "Won" count tracked by the Reports function whenever an agent selects this lead status.
  • Lost:This causes one to be added to the the "Lost" count tracked by the Reports function whenever an agent selects this lead status.
  • Contacted:This causes one to be added to the the "Contacted" count tracked by the Reports function whenever an agent selects this lead status.
Record Actions: These options tell the system to perform certain actions whenever a record is designated with this status.
  • Deleted: Checking this box will cause the record to be deleted when this status is selected. Note that deleted records still exist in the system and can be recovered until deleted records are purged.
  • Requires Call-Back: Checking this box will require to create a callback when this status is selected.
Additional Sorting:
  • Process: This is an important dropdown which allows you to sort who will see this status option in their dropdown lists and who will not. If left on the default, which is labled "[SELECT]" all employees will be able to see this option in their dropdown. It can also be set to "Main," "Marketing," or "Accounting," which will limit the availability of this option to employees set to those designations.

Available Fields Menu

The Available Fields menu shows all of available fields that are currently not being used in the layout. To add an available field to the layout, it’s as simple as dragging and dropping the desired field into the form.


Available Fields Menu
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In many cases, though, the data field you need in the layout simply doesn’t exist. When this happens, it’s time to go ahead and create our own custom field using the Add New Field button.

After clicking the button, a new window pops up with a dialogue box to give the new field a name, and choose the type of field it should be. Typically the most difficult part is choosing the type of field, particularly if you’re not familiar with some basic database management conventions. In the next section, we’ll talk in detail about the field type options to make sure you create the right types of field for your needs.

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