Forms – Collapsible Panels

WorkBench Forms

A form is a layout template that is used to display information about items within Cradle. There are multiple attributes of an item that may be displayed, from the name, to categories, to frames.  Forms can soon get complicated, this is where collapsible panels can help.

Collapsible Panels

A feature new in Cradle 7.4

Collapsible panels are placed as a row, or a column on a form definition. These can be barked to display as a normal row/column when opened or to “Show collapsed by default”

Form expanding panels
Expand Panel

The bar at the top of the panel toggles its open state.


Some of the questions often asked regarding forms.

Q: What if a user does not have a skill required to see an attribute?

A: The form will not display this particular aspect of the item. There is no need to create a separate form.

Q: I’ve just added some new frames and categories. Do I have to design a new form?

A: No, the Automatic scope forms will generate a basic form with the new elements included.

Q: Do I have to start from scratch designing a form?

A: No, you can choose any existing form (including the automatically generated ones) suitable  for that item type, make your changes and then ‘Save As‘ to store the newly altered definition.

Q : Do you have to show everything that every user needs on a form?

A: No, forms can have a scope of System, Automatic, Project User type, Team User, or Personal. This allows different users to show different aspects of an item most relevant to them.

Q: Can I show related items?

A: Absolutely, linked items can be shown within a form.

Q: Can I convert existing forms?

A: Yes, just select an existing Row or Column and change the Syle from Basic to Panel. then Save or Save As

X-Ray Day 2017

 X-Ray Day 8th November 2017

X-Rays  are a form of electromagnetic radiation or “ray” for short.

When first discovered, these mysterious rays were nothing like anything that had been described before, hence the ‘X’ name has stuck.

X-rays have a wavelength less than 10 nanometres, that is, they are shorter than those of UV, and longer than those of gamma rays.  It was a German scientist Wilhelm Röntgen often credited with their discovery.

3SL image with x-ray effect
3SL X-Ray

Looking Inside Cradle

Thankfully there is no need to use X-Rays to look inside your Cradle project.

Information once stored can be recalled by Queries and presented in Views or Forms. Output can be directed to HTML or RTF tables, shown graphically as a Hierarchy diagram, explored by clicking links. Formal publishing to Microsoft® Word documents can be achieved through Document Publisher.

In short there is no mystery to your data once inside Cradle unlike our bones, welded joints or airport suitcases you can easily see your data.

Celebrate on X-Ray Day 2017

Celebrate the genius of a very useful tool in the x-ray machine. Whilst we don’t advise you have an x-ray for fun, you could download another useful tool here!

See More of Your Items’ Details

Items with large amounts of data in might be useful for current projects but if you can’t see all the information inside that item then this can be quite frustrating. Cradle allows you to customise views, drag out items and reshape queries to best suit you and your projects. Very useful when dealing with large amounts of data.


Needing all the details for your item to be on display?.

Once you have run a query, you may find the WorkBench ‘View’ you have chosen isn’t quite big enough to see some of the cells. This can be frustrating as there is a balance between the number of items shown and the detail shown for each item. You may need to see more information for one or for all the items shown.


You could, of course, edit the ‘View’ (provided you have the CREATE_DEFS privilege). However,  you don’t need to change it just to see more of your items’ details on the screen.

Cells in a ‘View’ can be dragged Selecting of Document View from toolbarwider or deeper. You can switch to ‘Document View’ mode to increase the cells height to match their content.

Alternatively, clicking the icon is a quick way to open in a ‘Form’.

Article Updated 30/01/2019 – Added intro

Opening an External URL reference from a Form

Referenced Information

Sometimes you need to reference an external resource from an item. These external references can be easily achieved by adding  a URL frame to a Cradle item type. Each instance of that item type can then hold a reference to an external resource. The URL can then be opened to view it from the link element in the form.

Creating a URL Frame

While the ability to reference external resources via URL in a form is useful, you must first assign the HTML frame type to your Item Type(s).

It is very easy to do this, simply open Project Setup > Go to Item Types > Select your desired Item Type and click “Frames”. From here, create a new frame and then from the Type drop down select “HTML”.

Screenshot showing how to assign a frame
Assigning a Frame

We hope you find this useful! For information on other useful frame types see this cradle help article.

Article Updated 30/01/2019 – Added extra information


Linked Items in a Form

Seeing other linked items

When you want to see the other items that are linked to the current item in a Cradle display, you can do so by showing the linked items in a Form. This is an effective way to get a comprehensive overview of the interconnections in a formatted and repeatable way.

Linked items shown in a form
Items that are linked to the current item

You can find more information on setting up a form to display this links in this Cradle help article.


You can see items that are linked to the subject item in a number of different ways including:

  • Configure a View to show a linked items column
  • Use the right click context menu and select  Show  Linked  Items
  • Double click the item in a Table View to expand extra rows
  • Follow the [+] expansions in a tree view

The View method is as repeatable as setting in a form, the other methods are transient.

Article updated 05/12/2018 – Added link to Cradle help