FMPerception is a ghost-hunter, and a successful one at that. The realtime developer intelligence tool can point out all the ‘phantom fields’ on a layout. Let’s take a look at FMPerception’s successful ghost hunt.

What are Phantom Fields?

Unlike the prey of Ghost Hunters, phantom fields are real. They are the fields that are on a table view.

The fields are added in the Modify Table view dialog.

 These fields are not on the layout in layout mode.

They haunt the layout, seen only in Table view. They are phantom fields!

One note: the term Phantom Fields doesn’t come from FileMaker. Instead, the term is how FMPerception defines these. Just so you know.

Giving up the ghost

FMPerception identifies these illusive phantom fields on any layout. 

While looking at a layout, I can view all the layout objects. Each one, if it is on the layout, has a region designation. Phantom fields have the region “Phantom Field”. So if I wish, I can remove those from the layout.

Do I need to get rid of these?

I would say no. These phantom fields are there for a reason. They show themselves only in table view, and if someone has the correct privileges, phantom fields can be added for custom views. With the same privilege set, these phantom fields can be removed from the layout.

FMPerception doesn’t have a report for Phantom Fields like it does for “Unreferenced Objects” or “Broken References”, since phantom fields are not detrimental to a custom app in any way. FMPerception simply identifies them for you on each layout.


So be aware of phantom fields on layouts that allow Table view. And be aware of the identification of these fields in FMPerception. They are of little consequence overall, and they allow quick access for users to create a custom view of the data.


FMPerception, the Fastest FileMaker Database Analysis Tool is even faster now. Version 16.0.7 brings some performance improvements to a couple of key areas as well as some much requested small enhancements. Take it for a spin and find our why FMPerception changes your game.


  • The Script Call Chain Diagram and the Layout Object Queries are faster, especially on large multifile systems.
  • Export, email and save your Report Cards and Script Call Chain diagrams. This was one of the most requested features on the list.
  • Global Variables now respects case. This means you can use FMPerception to find $$Vars that have different cases and clean them up.

See below for the full list of changes.

All Changes

Mac and Windows Changes:

  • Performance increases:
    • Script Call Chain diagrams are now much faster to display, especially in large, multi-file systems.
    • Layout Objects (flat) is now faster to display, especially in large, multi-file systems.
    • Huge thanks to Mark Jockin and his team for access to their DDR, which made wonderful test data for illustrating the problem.
  • Added a menu option to export the contents of the results web view. Now you can export, email and save your Report Cards and Script Call Chain diagrams. A couple of notes:
    • While tooltips and other mouse-over effects still work, clicking on elements won’t drill into them anymore. Those hyperlinks require that the URL be clicked from inside FMPerception
    • Because of the embedded engine that FMPerception uses, these exports will likely view best from Safari on macOS and Edge on Windows. If you are using other platforms or other browsers, your mileage may vary. Let me know if you have any issues.
    • In the short term, this functionality will allow you to use your browser to print or PDF the documents until such time as FMPerception supports printing natively.
    • There’s a known bug in the macOS implementation of the Script Call Chain diagram. If you open the exported HTML document in Safari and then expand the browser window, the boundaries of the diagram will not also expand. Short term solution: refresh the page once you’ve resized the browser window.
    • This one was requested so many times, I’ve lost track of who asked first. Sorry.
  • The Global Variables list now respects case.
    • Previously, all global variables in the global variables list were displayed in all lowercase.
    • Now, FMPerception groups all global variables ignoring case (as FileMaker does internally), but then displays the Global Variable by its most common capitalization pattern.
    • If the global variable is referenced using variations in case, the ‘Case Variants’ column will display all variants for that global variable (including, in parentheses, the number of times that variant was used). All variants will be displayed in order from most common to least common.
    • A line was added to the report card to indicate how many global variables have been references using inconsistent case.
    • This one also was requested so many times, I’ve lost track of who asked first.
  • Numerous typos were fixed in the Report Card, including a couple of 1/x math errors and a division error that caused the display of potentially very large percentages.

Huge thanks to Chiyoko Yoshida for the following:

  • Table Occurrences based off of Tables which have been deleted (and Layouts based upon those TOs) will provide better documentation in the detail sidebar about what elements are missing and why there are blanks in the results table.

Huge thanks to John Renfrew for the following:

  • When the contents of a script are displaying in the details sidebar, the formatting of blank script comment lines was subtly adjusted to make them more consistent with actual functional lines, making them easier to parse.

Huge thanks to Todd Geist for the following:

  • The JSON constant “functions” that specify node/property type were appearing as plugin functions. They now appear properly as FileMaker Pro standard functions

Mac-Only Changes:

  • The FMP ID column for table occurrences no longer uses a comma separator.
  • There were spots in the report card where the HTML used to format the text became visible. This has been fixed.

And finally, my apologies: The new Diff tool has taken quite a bit longer than anticipated. It’s still on it’s way.

Searching FileMaker Script Parameters

FMPerception, the fastest FileMaker analysis tool available, makes it easy to find everything you have passed as a FileMaker Script Parameter using the built-in Calculation Analysis.  Watch the video for more info.

Free trial available!