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Customizing a Form’s Fields

To customize a library’s table view, you use the Fields list (to control which fields are shown) and directly manipulate the table. You can reorder columns, show or hide the summary row, and change column width. In Bento 1, you modify a form view by choosing View > Customize Form or by clicking the customize form button at the upper right of the Records area. In either case, the search field is replaced by Customize Form with an X to its right. To exit from Customize Form, click that X.

new.jpg In Bento 2, you can customize a form by clicking on the edge of a field to move or change it. Figure 3.7 shows how you can access the customization options for a form. If you click in the field itself, you are able to enter data. Clicking on its border shows handles that you can use to resize the field, as shown in Figure 3.7. When the handles are visible, you can drag on the field’s border to move it. If you click in the center of the field, the handles disappear, and you are able to enter data. This and the other interface elements described in this section replace the Customize Form mode in Bento 1.

Figure 3.7

Figure 3.7 Move and reshape fields in Bento 2.

When you start to customize a form in Bento 1, new tools appear at the bottom of the form view; in addition, guides appear on the form. Among the customization tools is a Themes tool that lets you select themes just as you can do by choosing Format > Themes. In Bento 2, a button in the lower-right corner of the window controls whether the form tools are shown or hidden as does View > Show Form Tools, as shown in Figure 3.7.

Bento puts the labels in the appropriate location and coordinates their appearance with the appearance of the relevant field using the currently selected theme. When you drag a field from the Fields list or Libraries & Fields pane into a form that you are editing, an outline of the label and data field appears as soon as you move your mouse into the Records area, as shown in Figure 3.8.

Figure 3.8

Figure 3.8 Bento automatically provides the label and data entry fields.

Some fields require more than one data entry element; if so, they are shown in the outline and are placed in the form as soon as you release the mouse button. A heavy line shows you where in the form the new field and label are placed. In Figure 3.8, a URL list is being placed on the form; it is one of the field types that require several elements for display and entry.


For more details about these composite data fields, see Chapter 5, “Working with Phone, URL, IM, and Address Fields and Lists in Contacts,” p. 69.

After a field and its label have been placed on a form, you can change its width or height by selecting it and dragging the right or bottom border. You can also rearrange fields; just drag them up or down or from column to column. Everything is taken care of for you by Bento: fields move aside as needed. And, of course, the tab order remains logical (top to bottom and left to right in column one, and then on to column two with the same ordering). To rearrange fields after you have already added them, in Bento 1 you choose View > Customize Form, and in Bento 2, you click the border of a field to begin editing it.

Bento provides you with several formatting objects that you can add to a form. Figure 3.9 illustrates three of them.

Figure 3.9

Figure 3.9 Use form objects to help format a form.

The line beneath the two images is a horizontal separator. Another object, a spacer, has been added before the Date Created field. Also, a column separator has been added to the right of the column containing the images. Of these objects, only the horizontal separator is visible when you have finished editing the form (by clicking in another field or going to another form). Figure 3.10 shows the result. You can tell that a third column has been added to the form by the position of the horizontal scrollbar at the bottom of the form. In Figure 3.10, it has been moved so that the third column is visible.

Figure 3.10

Figure 3.10 Only the horizontal rule is directly visible in the finished form.

The Form tools in Bento 1 and Bento 2 are mostly the same, but there are some differences. Table 3.1 describes each of the tools from left to right and provides keyboard equivalents. In the case of tools that are different in the two versions, that difference is noted. If no version difference is indicated, the tool works the same in both Bento 1 and Bento 2.

Table 3.1. Form Tools




Version Differences


Double-click form name in the navigation bar or Forms > Rename Form.

Change a form’s name (Figure 3.5).

Bento 2


Opens the Create a Field dialog

Open the Create a Field dialog (Figure 6.2).

Bento 2

In Bento 1, a choice in the Objects tool

Text Box

Insert > Text Box

You can type anything you want in the text box, and you can move it around the form just like a field. Unlike a field, this is not data from your library; it is simply text that appears on the form.

Bento 2

In Bento 1, a choice in the Objects tool


Insert > Horizontal Separator

Insert > Column Divider

Insert > Spacer

A spacer is a blank area that also can be moved around. You use it to add space between fields. There is also a horizontal separator (a line) that can be used to separate groups of fields.

See Field, Text Box, and Columns for Bento 1 differences

Related Data

Insert > Related Records List

Open the Create a Field dialog with Related Records List selected for Field Type.

Bento 1


Bento 1: Format >


Bento 2: Forms >

Choose Theme

Select a theme.

Theme Chooser only available as the first choice in Bento 2


Format > Columns

Choose 1-5 columns for the form.

Bento 1


Bento 1: Format > Labels

Bento 2: Forms > Labels

Choose Above or Beside for position of labels on all fields in the form.

Bento 2: can also choose small, medium, and large size


Bento 1: Format > Shading

Bento 2: Forms > Shading

Choose None, Light, or Dark for selected field(s).

Text Size

Bento 1: Format > Text Size

Bento 2: Forms > Text Size

Choose Smallest to Largest for selected field(s).

Align Edges

Bento 2: Forms >

Align Right Edges

Align right edges of selected objects. Other edges remain where they were.

The field consists of the label and the data entry section(s); a background may be shaded for the entire rectangle that contains these elements. In the Format menu or the tools at the bottom of the Customize Form view, you can choose the degree of shading you want. They can be effective in highlighting essential (or nonessential) information as long as you use shading consistently.

You can also change the size of the text in the data fields, although the size of the label text is changeable only in Bento 2. Finally, you can select two or more fields and align their right edges. You do this by expanding the narrower fields’ widths so that all are consistent.

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