The Support Group Blog

FileMaker 11 Training and Certification

It’s official: Certification and the FileMaker Training Series are now available for FileMaker 11!

Becoming a FileMaker 11 Certified Developer demonstrates your experience and expertise to employers, clients, and members of the FileMaker community.  For us at The Support Group, it’s essential as platinum level members of the FileMaker Business Alliance and Authorized Trainers.  FileMaker’s website offers steps to getting certified and a FAQ.  Registration and administration of the exam is handled by Prometric.

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Table View is Awesome

I’ll admit it: prior to FileMaker Pro 10, I didn’t give much thought to providing users with the ability to view a layout as a table as opposed to a list.  List view seemed to have so much more to offer.  Formatting was easier to control, you didn’t have to take extra steps to ensure the header and footer would appear, and if, like me, you tend to give your fields arcane “database-y” names like ct_nameFull_lfm instead of Full Name, you didn’t have to worry about those names appearing in the column headers.  About the only thing table view had going for it was resizable columns.

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Aggregating Filtered Portals

If you’ve played with FileMaker Pro 11’s filtered portals at all, you may have discovered its biggest stumbling block:  aggregate functions and related data.  All of your calculations summarizing related records no longer reflect what appears in the filtered portal.  Various solutions have been proposed using script triggers and merge variables, but they can require some foresight and maintenance.  Fortunately, there’s an even easier solution for the majority of cases where you need to total up related records.

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Dynamically naming a variable in FileMaker Pro

One of the things I find I need to do frequently is create a variable using a calculated name.  For example, I can use the FieldNames function to get the list of fields on a layout. I might want to then declare a number of variables that have the same names as the fields, and then populate them with those fields’ values.  Later, I can loop through the fields again, perhaps updating them with a Set Field By Name step, and reference the variable with the similar name.

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Shortcut References for FileMaker Pro 11

With keyboard shortcuts for both Mac and Windows users, this convenient reference sheet can help you navigate faster through your FileMaker application. It’s perfect for keeping on your desk, attached to your monitor, or on your wall. It provides all the keyboard shortcuts for browsing, navigation, finding, changing modes, files, editing, formatting, and layouts.

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Find the preceding Sunday (or Monday, or…)

Often we are asked to produce reports that show total sales (or student attendance, or whatnot) by week. In order to produce these reports, we need some value that allows us to group our records by week. What we can use is the Sunday—the start of our week—that occurs before our activity date.

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Knowing when a user is logged in through Instant Web Publishing

From our Get ( Answers ) newsletter archives, updated for FileMaker 11:

We’ve been asked this many times, so it’s worthy of repeating: How can you tell if a user is logged in to a solution through Instant Web Publishing rather than through the FileMaker Pro client? The answer is to use the Get(ApplicationVersion) function.

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Printing “Records Being Browsed” by Default

From our Get ( Answers ) newsletter archives, updated for FileMaker 11:

Michael in Illinois asks: “When some users go to print a record the drop down print box will says ‘Current record’, while for others it says ‘Records being browsed’. Any idea how to make the latter the default? Is it a FileMaker setting?”

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Quick notes on Quick Find

One of my favorite new features of FileMaker Pro 11 is Quick Find, which allows you to perform a find the way we’ve been trained by search engines: you can search for your criteria anywhere in the record, regardless of which fields the data is in.  Here are a few things to keep in mind about Quick Find:

  • Quick Find only searches the current table, the same way you search when using Find mode.  If you’re on the Company Detail layout, and search for Peter Parker, you might find a company record for The Daily Bugle, but you won’t find Peter’s contact record.
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Highlight the Active Field with Conditional Formatting

This is one of my favorite tips, which we first published in August 2007 when conditional formatting was introduced in FileMaker Pro 9.  A not-uncommon request we’ve received over the years is to highlight the current field with something more than slightly darker field borders.  Conditional formatting seems the perfect answer: there must be a way to change a field’s background fill from its default to another color on entering the field, right? Turns out… no.  You cannot use conditional formatting to change a field’s fill color on entering it.  It’s just not possible.  Never.  Conditional formatting does not work in any way whatsoever while focus is in the field in question. 

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