SUMMARY: Tips and tricks for version 3 of the FileMakerPro database product for Windows.
Perform Operation on Many Objects
If you want to perform a given operation on multiple fields, text blocks, shapes, etc., one way is to simply use your mouse to draw a rectangle, highlighting the selected objects.
1.Position the mouse at the top-left of the temporary "rectangle" you wish to draw.
2.Hold the left-mouse button down and position your mouse to the bottom-right of the region of the rectangle you wish to draw (containing the objects).
3.Release the mouse button.
Now, all of the objects are highlighted. Use the menus or right-click the mouse to bring up a context menu where you can perform more operations.
New Records Quickly
Don't go to the "Mode" menu and select "New Record" to create a new record in your database. Just hit CONTROL and the N key. This should save you some time if you are entering a lot of data at once.
Missing Keyboard Shortcuts
When using FileMaker Pro, you may not be seeing in the menus all of the possible keyboard shortcuts. To show all available shortcuts (you want to save time, don't you?) choose "Edit," then "Preferences." Check "Show all keyboard shortcuts in menus" and click the "OK" button.
Changing Tab Order
If you commonly enter data into a database and would rather not have to use the mouse to select fields, you can normally use the TAB key to switch fields. Sometimes, however, databases are not set up so that the TAB key goes to the next field. It may jump ahead 5 fields, then back 3, then ahead another 8, etc. To fix this, go to the database layout mode. Click the "Mode" menu, then "Set Tab Order..." You can now choose which field is the first that gets selected when you hit the TAB key, which is the second to be selected, etc.
Remember More Recent Files
Make FileMaker Pro remember the names of more of your recently accessed databases. Click the "Edit" menu, then "Preferences," then "Application." On the multi-tabbed dialog box that appears, click the "General" tab. Check "Recently opened files:" if it is not already. Next to that checkbox is a number. You can change that number from 1, so that FileMaker Pro only remembers the name of the last file opened, to 9, so it remembers the name of the last nine opened databases. Click "OK" to close the dialog box.
When designing database forms, if you'd like FileMaker Pro to use Mac-like buttons (buttons with rounded corners), do the following. Click the "Edit" menu, then "Preferences," then "Application." On the multi-tabbed dialog box that appears, click the "Layout" tab. Underneath "With button tool:" select "create rounded buttons." Click "OK" to close the dialog box.
Force Fields to Contain Unique Values
It's very easy to make a field contain unique values across all records in a database. When you create a field in the "Define Fields" dialog box, click on the field and press the "Options" button. On the multi-tabbed dialog box that follows, select the "Validation" tab. Check the "Unique" button and press "OK" to close the dialog box.
Jump Back to 100% Zoom
If you are constantly using the zoom buttons to change your database view, do not click the reverse zoom buttons several times to go back to 100% (default) view. Just click the numbered button on the bottom-left of the screen, no matter if it says 25, 150, or whatever. It will bring your zoom level back to 100% with one button click.
Right Click Shortcuts
FileMaker Pro offers many shortcuts that you can access via the right mouse-button. For example, if you right-click on a field in the "Layout" view, you can instantly modify the field's borders, format, fill and pen colors, and more.
Paste in Date and Time
It's very easy to paste the current date and time into the current field. Just press and hold the CONTROL key while pressing the hyphen to insert the current date. Hold down the CONTROL key while pressing the semicolon (;) will paste the current time.
Index Fields to Increase Query Performance
If you consistently use a particular field in queries, you can index a field and gain performance at the sacrifice of database size. To index a field, first enter the "Define Fields" dialog box and select the field that you wish to index. Click on the "Options" button. On the multi-tabbed dialog box that follows, click the "Storage Options" button at the bottom of the dialog box. Another dialog box will appear. Click on the "On" radio button to force indexing the particular field. Press "OK" to close the dialog boxes.
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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language.