Football Manager™ 2021’s interface has been designed to ensure that playing the game is as easy as possible. The following is a glossary to help explain some of the terms referred to in this manual that appear frequently in the game.
Let’s begin with a short explanation on the two main control methods.
Left Clicking: Left clicking is the primary method of navigating around the majority of computer applications and Football Manager™ 2021 is no different. In simple terms, if you see an item of interest, click on it. The game contains a huge number of on-screen items which can be clicked on to reveal more details and information.
Clickable items are identifiable in a few ways. All of them result in the mouse cursor changing into a finger pointing icon. Some graphically respond inside the game in the form of a hyperlink underlining or a different, darker shade of colour on a button. Click around, read through this section, and familiarise yourself with your surroundings.
Right Clicking: Right clicking brings up a Context Menu of ‘Actions’ that can be performed on a game object. It is chiefly a time-saving/power-user feature, allowing you to perform an action without first having to click on the item. A list only appears where possible and should right clicking on an item not bring up anything, it’s safe to assume there is no available menu for that item.
You can access specific Actions for a game object from the object’s Tab Bar or by right-clicking on the object itself to bring up the ‘Context Menu’.
By clicking on the current date on the ‘Menu Bar’, you can view the game ‘Calendar’. It shows the current week, indicating the current date and informing you of any pressing concerns or engagements you have in the immediate future.
If you find that the secondary sorting on any column in the game has disappeared, you can manually reset it by holding down the Shift key and clicking the desired column(s) in the order of sorting you wish to see.
The ‘Continue’ Button is central to Football Manager™. It is the conduit from which the game progresses through time. Once you have finished with all of your business for a given period of time, clicking ‘Continue’ advances the game.
It can change state depending on the game’s context. If you have a message in your Inbox that requires a response, the text label on the button changes to reflect this. Similarly, if you’re in a game with more than one manager, it indicates the number of managers that need to continue before the game starts processing.
Any table column in the game can be customised as you see fit, in the same style as you can do in many other applications.
To customise a view, select ‘Custom’ from the ‘Views’ menu and then select ‘Customise current view’. This creates a copy of the current view. Now that you’ve done this, you are free to re-order and re-size the columns on that view as you desire.
To resize a column, left-click and hold on the area between two columns and drag it in the desired direction, making it wider or narrower. Release the mouse button to set the size. To re-position a column, click and hold the header and move the mouse to where you wish to move it to, and then let go once again.
Many screens in Football Manager™ 2021 give you the ability to set filters that permit you to configure exactly what information you want displayed. Screens with this function have a ‘Filter’ button, usually located towards the top right of the main screen area or a panel. Clicking it reveals the Filters menu, with a number of options and check boxes. To set a filter, tick and un-tick the boxes until you have what you want to display. You can then hide the Filters menu again by clicking on the ‘Hide Filters’ button.
A game object roughly corresponds to an item in the game database – a person or a team, for example. As a basic rule, a screen displays information about one main game object, although this screen may then hold information about many more objects – take the squad screen as an example. The main game object is the squad, but then multiple game objects – players – are found within.
While the Side Bar is the primary navigation tool for your own club, the Navigation Bar is used to navigate the rest of the game (i.e. browsing the game world in general).
The Back and Forward buttons navigate between your screen history. If you right-click on the Back or Forward buttons, the Navigation History opens.
Its menu options are a list of screens you were previously on, with each option usually structured as “<name of screen>: <name of section> <name of panel>”.
A panel is the part of the game’s window that changes for each screen – i.e. the bit that doesn’t contain the menu or title bars or the navigational tools. You often find multiple sub-panels within a panel.
Located in the title bar, the Quick Flick icons can be used to scroll quickly through the current game object. For example, if you are viewing one of your players, you can scroll back and forth alphabetically through your entire squad using these buttons. Similarly, if you are viewing a team’s squad, using the Quick Flick buttons scroll through the squads of every team in that league. A tooltip appears over the Quick Flick button indicating the name of the game object to be displayed if clicked.
A screen displays information. Normally a screen represents a single game object – a player or a team, for example.
Each screen has a title, and one or more sections. It can also have a subtitle, although the current section determines this so it changes when the manager chooses a different section.
The Side Bar is the primary method to navigate all the different areas within your club (or international team).
It provides shortcuts to every section related to your club, regardless of what screen/game world entity you're on. That is, if, say, you're on another club's screen, the Side Bar is still for your club (note: to navigate around the different sections/panels for any game world entity that isn't your club, you use its screen's Tab Bar instead). In larger resolutions, the bar includes a textual description alongside the icon, while in reduced screen modes, just the icon is used. The Interface section of the Game Preferences features an option for you to use just the icon when in larger resolutions.
Notifications appears whenever there is an item of business for you to deal with: an unread news item or a transfer offer, for example.
If you're managing both a club and international team, the Side Bar has a toggle enabling a fast way to switch the state of the Side Bar to the team that has your immediate focus.
You also have the freedom to rearrange the order of Side Bar icons, and remove some (not all) of them if you desire. To re-arrange, click or select and hold on the chosen button, then drag and drop it into your preferred new place.
Tabs are used to navigate around the currently viewed screen and perform actions related to it. Every screen’s tab bar consists of a series of panels and menus that contain more panels and actions.
The title bar is at the top of the window and displays the title of the current screen, as well as other information such as the manager’s name and subtitle.
Search allows you to initiate a search (changes the state of the Title Bar into text-input state).
If you haven’t inputted any search characters, it opens a menu with related links. For example, if you're looking at a team, the related links would include one for the league the team plays in, as well as links to all teams in that division. On the other hand, when you type in one or more characters, the menu instead populates with a list of auto-complete suggestions.
Tooltips are small windows displaying text intended to explain or describe a function available by a mouse click. They can be found in many places throughout the game and should you be unsure as to the intent of any item’s function, simply move the mouse icon over it to see if it has a Tooltip to explain things to you.
Sections and screens can have one or more views that present the same information in different ways. For example, the squad list selection of the team screen allows you to look at a list of players but because there are lots of attributes for each player, it would be impossible to display them all at the same time. The solution is to allow a number of different views to display a certain few of the attributes each.
World is your shortcut to all game world entities. Clicking on the world button in the Navigation Bar opens the ‘World’ Menu Popup.
The popup is divided into numerous tabs and defaults to ‘Browser’. This auto-selects the game world entity that you're on, and provides a hierarchy back up to the game's root entity (World). For example, if you’re on your own manager profile, the preceding column is the list of teams for the league in which your team plays in, preceded by the list of competitions in the country your team plays in etc.
The other tabs at the top provide hyperlink access to information and competition panels on a per continent basis.
The ‘Nations’ menu, on the other hand, provides hyperlink access to all the different screens associated with the playable nations in your save.
In the ‘Bookmarks’ tab, you can create shortcuts to useful screens throughout the game, much as you would for websites in a web browser.
What keyboard shortcuts are available?
A host of keyboard shortcuts are available by default and they can each be customised to your preference. Visit the Preferences screen and search for Shortcuts to see a comprehensive list.
Can I play in windowed mode?
Football Manager™ 2021 can be played in a range of resolutions and display modes depending on the device you’re using. The options available to you based on your computer or laptop can be found in the ‘Interface’ section of the ‘Preferences’ screen, and includes any windowed modes suitable for your system.