Field Properties

When you select the Edit page for a field, the Field Properties page is displayed.

The Field Properties page shows field properties for one field at a time. Use the Field combobox along with the Prior and Next buttons to move from field-to-field. The order of the fields is either Natural, alphabetic by Name or alphabetic by Description, depending on which option button you chose on the List page.

Tip: When you are entering field properties, you can use the shortcut key combination Alt-N to move to the next field in a table, view or CursorAdapter and Alt-P to move to the previous field.

Field properties control the way fields behave on the forms and reports you create with VPM Enterprise. Among other things, you can control the appearance of data, specify default values, and display field level messages by setting field properties in the Data Builder. 

Tip - VPM Enterprise Forms Are Data-Driven!!: After you create a form, changes you make to field properties in the Data Builder are applied to the form the next time you run it.

Ideally, you should set up the properties for all fields that will appear on forms and reports before you start building Application Objects (see Creating Application Objects). However, if you’re anxious to get on with building your application, at least fill in the Description (Long) property for the fields you will display on forms. When you put a field on a form, VPM Enterprise automatically inserts your Description (Long) entry as the field Label. If you have already entered the Description (Long) property when you create forms, you’ll find it easier to lay out your forms.

Tip: To make the field properties you enter in the Data Builder work when you place a field on a form, you must base the form and the control for the field on a VPME form and control class. See VPM Enterprise Classes.

The following table lists the field properties and briefly explains their purposes.  Each field property is covered in detail in the sections that follow the table.

Use this field property


Description (Short)

Provide a caption for the column header when a field is in a grid.

Description (Long)

Provide a label to appear with a field on forms and reports.


Record notes about a field for reference only.


Specify the field’s input and output formatting. Applies to entire field.

Input Mask Expression

Restrict or dictate the format of user input on a form. Operates character-by-character. EXPRESSION.

Error Expression

Display a custom error message for a field when data entered fails the field’s integrity, or validation, rules. EXPRESSION.

Message Expression

Display a message at the bottom of the main window or in the status bar when users edit a field on a form. EXPRESSION.

Tool Tip Expression

Display a Tool Tip for a field when the mouse pointer is over the field. EXPRESSION.

When Expression

Control access to a field based on a specified condition. LOGICAL EXPRESSION

Help Context ID

Provide a context ID for a topic in a Help file that provides context-sensitive Help for the field.

Maximum Length

Specify the maximum number of characters allowed in a field.

Default Options

Choose how to automatically fill in a specific value for a field when users add records to a table, view or CursorAdapter via a form.

Default PreSave

Check to have the default value filled in when users save a new record, not when the new record is first added.

Audit Trail

Choose when to include the field in the audit trail.

On Copy

Copy, empty or default the field when its record is copied.

Update Lock

Prevent a view field’s properties, integrity, developer code and help from being updated when the Update Field Info utility is run.

Create Tag

Click to create an index tag definition for a field in a view or CursorAdapter.

Tip – Update Lock and Create Tag: The Update Lock property check box only appears on the Properties page for view fields. The Create Tag property button only appears for view and CursorAdapter fields.


Field Description (Short) Property

Field Description (Long) Property

Field Comments Property

Field Format Property

Field Input Mask Expression Property

Field Error Expression Property

Field Message Expression Property

Field Tooltip Expression Property

Field When Expression Property

Field Help Context ID Property

Field Maximum Length Property

Field Default Options Property

Field Default - PreSave Property

Field Audit Trail Options Property

Field On Copy Property

Field View Update Lock Property

Field Create Tag Property