Contextual Menus in FileMaker

Ever wondered how the ‘contextual menu’ in FileMaker is created? Perhaps you’ve noticed that unlike Custom Menus, native functionality to customize them does not exist. Well, kind of. When you create a Custom Menu, the menu items that you enable or omit will have a direct effect on the items displayed in the contextual menu. This can be an unexpected side-effect in some cases. Using a plug-in is the only way (currently) to fully customize the contextual menu, but this post focuses solely on native functionality.

What is a Contextual Menu anyway?

The contextual menu in FileMaker is the menu that pops up when you right-click somewhere in your FileMaker application. We call them ‘contextual’ because you’ll see a different set of menu items depending on where you clicked.

With the default menu set, if you right-click inside a field you’ll see something like this:

Or a container field:

Or anywhere else on the layout (not including Navigation parts):

Custom Menus

Removing or omitting items from a custom menu, such as the ‘Format’ menu, will also remove all formatting options from the contextual menu. Below is what you would see when right-clicking inside of a field:

You’ll notice that the Font, Size, Style, and Text Color have disappeared! You’ll find similar effects when you limit the user’s Edit, View, Insert and Record options in your custom menu.

Hopefully FileMaker will allow for native customization of these contextual menus in the future, but for now we can at least be aware of how our Custom Menus affect them.