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Dear Subscriber, 

We've wrapped a cover around this issue ofThe 
FileMaker Report in order to highlight a few neat 
products that you might find interesting and pro¬ 
ductive. Please look over these four pages. In the 
center ofthejournal itselfis the latest version of our 
* sequential index. If you pull out the centerfold 

:: index and pull off this outside wrapper, you'll be 

left with a normal-sized 16-page issue #41. 



FileMaker ZIP Code 
Lookup Table 

The FileMaker Report is selling this File¬ 
Maker file containing all 42,500+ U.S. 5-digit 


§\jm 


.. ■= 

ZIP Table i 

.--..Li 1=1 

List | 

Zip 

City 

State 

& 




names. It can be used as a 
your address files so that you'll never again 
have to type in the names of Cities and States! 
Just type the ZIP code and the City and State 
are immediately looked up and inserted into 
your address. If you enter more than a few 
addresses a week, the savings are amazing. Not 
only is address entry faster, but it is more 
accurate and consistent as well. 


=_ 

□ 

d 16341 

PLEAS ANTVILLE 

PA 




16342 

POLK 

PA 




16343 

RENO 

PA 

6612 


16344 

R0USEVILLE. 

PA 

Records: 

16345 

RUSSELL 

PA 

42603 





16346 

SENECA 

PA 

Unsorted 

16347 

SHEFFIELD 

PA 

'T+.v 

16350’ 

SUGARGR0VE 

PA 

•-vrv •' 

16351 

TIDI0UTE 

PA 


16352 

TI0NA 

PA 


16353 

TIONESTA 

PA 

100 

m 

<> 


:© 


The table is mailed on four 800K Macintosh diskettes. At your end you need to accomplish two simple 
steps: (a) combine the four FileMaker files into one file on your hard disk, (b) change the City and State 
fields in your address file to lookup fields. Complete instructions for both tasks are included on the first 
ZIP diskette. Both are easy. . . ■ 

After combining and compressing the four files into one, about 2.4 MBytes are consumed on your 
hard disk.The latest revision of this ZIP Table is October, 1991. Requires FileMaker II or FileMaker Pro 
and a hard disk. ■ s ::: 

The price for the ZIPTable is $48. Specify FileMaker II or FileMaker Pro format.You may order by 
phone, fax, or mail. See the order form for ordering details. 








New Product: 

The BusRider 
Serial Pott Expander 

Living on the fringes of Silicon Valley, we get to 
see, from time to time, great new products before 
they reach the general market. And we can some¬ 
times make special arrangements to get hot items to 
readers before they are on the shelves, or to assure 
availability of hot products when the supply is tight. 
This month we’ve arranged a special price on a 
productive peripheral for your Mac which will be 
announced toward the end of the month. 

If you are too familiar with the underside of your 
desk or with a crick in your back from bending over 
your display, it’s probably because you spend too 
much of your your life connecting and disconnect¬ 
ing serial cables. We’ve found a completely sdftware- 
controlled serial port expander; *whiclr allows you to 
permanently plug in up to six sferial port devices to 
an easily-accessible box. The. desk accessory software 
connects any one of the sixr to either-the Mac’s 
printer or modem port; Say good bye to the dust 
bunnies under your desk. ... . , . ^ -,vv 

The BusRider™ MP-91 Serial Pbrt Expander 
lets you take advantage of the growing number of 
serial devices available for the Mac - label printers, 
ink-jet printers, dot-matrix printers, data modems, 
fox modems. In addition, you pick up some extra - 
•ADB as well 

• Six Serial Ports ■ <■ 

• Five ADB Ports - 

• Chooser-compatible software port selection 

• Any two serial ports may be active at a time 

• LED port selection indicators ; -V- v 

• Small size: 4.8 x 6.8 x 1.5 inches 

• Cables to the computer included 

• No mechanical switches 

Requires a Macintosh with an ADB bus. Sug¬ 
gested retail price is $169. Our price is $148. 


New Product: 

Address and Mailing 
Manager Template 

A'new FileMaker template in the Elk Horn 
Library is the Address and Mailing Manager . This 
template includes the usual fields for entering 
addresses, plus a series of fields and calculations 
and lookups that aid address maintenance and 
help track mailings. Includes separate files for 
printing labels and counting ZIP codes, for look¬ 
ing up repeating field sequence numbers, and for 
generating record serial numbers. Should be used 
with a ZIP/City/State lookup table (available 
separately) for maximum efficiency. Includes 
detailed printed documentation describing proce¬ 
dures for taking advantage of the built-in features 
and showing how to purge duplicates. Represents 
the distinction ? of several years exp erienc e at 
maintaining-addresses in FileMaker. 

y • Namecodes for dup elimination 

• Scripts for locating new mail addresses 

• Keeps^addless istatus and mailing histories 

; • Provision for City/State lookup 

• Includes sequence number lookup file 

• Includes serial number generator file 

• Includes .label printing file for large runs 

• Label layout for small runs 

y „ Easily handles up to about 20,000 - 25,000 
addresses in one file. For larger collections, group 
by ranges of ZIPs into multiple files. We keep 
more than 1/4 million addresses in FileMaker 
files like this. 

Designed for addresses that include the names 
Z of individuals. Not designed for ‘contact tracking’ 
or for multiple names per record. Requires use of 
unique serial numbers for each record, Requires 
FileMaker Pro. Available in December, 1991. 
Price: $38. 






A Journal For FileMaker™ Users 


The 

FileMaker 

Report 


A FileMaker Correspondence File 


By Mike Harris 
Watertechnics 

Word processors, spreadsheets and databases 
are the most common types of software used on 
Macintoshes. Also common is using the wrong type for 
a particular job. As a consultant I see a lot of work 
which should be done in a database being put into 
spreadsheets and word processors. The usual reason is 
that the operator owns and is comfortable with some 
particular program and lacks the experience to know 
that fundamentally different software is required for 
different types of jobs. 

This approach has even been common among the 
ad hoc professional consultants who grew up during 
early microcomputer days. These are the people who 
know their spreadsheet program inside out and conse¬ 
quently do everything in spreadsheets. It seems particu¬ 
larly difficult to root out the use of spreadsheets for 
databases since a spreadsheet almost works as a data¬ 
base for small amounts of data. It may be a long time 
before its use can be corralled into its proper domain. 


Given this background, it is with considerable self- 
consciousness that I write this article to suggest using a 
FileMaker file for one-page letters and memos. I am 
not looking forward to a lot of calls from subscribers 
telling me to “learn how to use a word processor!” Still, 
I have been so happy with this solution for a number of 
nagging little problems, that I will risk the phone calls 
and let you readers decide whether I’ve finally gone off 
the edge of some FileMaker cliff. 

Pro Is Much Better 

FileMaker II was awkward as a word processor; it 
was hard to even recommend it for form letters, where 
the common letter text was part of a layout. It was dif¬ 
ficult to create a reasonable letter layout since each text 
line was treated as a single layout object. It was usually 
better to go through the tedious routine of merging 
FileMaker addresses with Word or WriteNow or Mac- 
Write II merge files rather than to try to do a mailing 
within FileMaker. But FileMaker Pro is much better, in 
fields and in layouts. Pro even has comprehensive spell 
checking. 


Issue 41 


Page 


November 8, 1991 


A FileMaker Correspondence File 
Hunting the Elusive Field 
FileMaker Button Tips & Tricks 
Quick Tips & Techniques 


1 

6 

7 

14 




©1991 
Elk Horn Publishing 
PO Box 1300 
Freedom, CA 95019 USA 






Note 


In issue #2, page 19, 
Kim Hunter introduced 
to these pages the 
basic idea of using 
FileMaker for some 
word processing tasks. 

Figure 1 


While I would never suggest that you 
give up your word processor, FileMaker 
Pro works great for me as my primary 
application for short (one page) letters, 
memos and notes. Almost all my corre¬ 
spondence these days seems to be one page 
or less. (One could argue that almost all 
business correspondence should be one 
page or less.) Like everyone else, I feel too 
busy, and several problems with short let¬ 
ters had become annoying time-wasters. 


For instance, my company letterhead 
has graphics across the top and down the 
right side. I don’t get letterhead profes¬ 
sionally printed: I like to print everything 
in one pass with plain paper on a laser 
printer. I am not good enough with word 
processors (or perhaps do not have a good 
enough word processor) to format a 
stationary template which allows this kind 
of across-and-down-a-side graphic to be 
printed on a page with word processor 



text. Of course, it can be 
done in one pass in Page¬ 
Maker or by printing the 
letterhead graphic in one 
pass and the text on an¬ 
other. But I don’t want to 
deal with any of that. In 
FileMaker I can get one-pass 
printing and time-saving 
convenience. 

I also want to make good 
use of my FileMaker address 
file. Active Addresses. This 
is a file I use constantly. Not 
only do I keep all my phone 
numbers there, but Active 
Addresses is my most-used 
lookup file for other data¬ 
bases, like my invoicing file. 
With a FileMaker corre¬ 
spondence file I can lookup 
any correspondent’s address 
using a last name. This saves 
time and increases accuracy 
and consistency over any 
technique I know about for 
using databases and word 
processors together. 

For letters, my address 
fields are looked up from 
Active Addresses which al¬ 
ready contains the addresses 
of nearly everyone I might 


Page 2 • Issue 41 The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing 

















































write. If the lookup fails then I consider 
whether the current addressee really should 
be added to Active Addresses. I accom¬ 
plish a number of things by using my ad¬ 
dress database: I save time entering the 
address, I reduce errors, both in my letters 
and in Active Addresses, and I promote 
consistency in all my business documents. 

I use one field for all the text of a letter. 
It is much easier to locate and search a sin¬ 
gle FileMaker file for a particular word or 

phrase than it is to open and - 

close a myriad of scattered 
word processor documents. 

Of course, the file is also 

more convenient for copying 

text from older letters be- ^ 

cause you don’t have to scan ” 

several other files. s 


The Basic Layout 

Figure 1 (on the previous 
page) shows the basic letter 
layout. The name and ad¬ 
dress fields in the upper right 
are looked up from Active 
Addresses, based on the Last 
Name field. These fields, and 
several other objects on the 
layout, are nonprinting. 

They are on the layout only 
for editing convenience. 
These fields are combined 
using a text calculation into 
the actual salutation address 
field, called Address. 

Any changes made to the 
individual name/address 
fields are reflected immedi¬ 
ately in the Address field. So, 
I can make minor correc¬ 
tions to the salutation 
Address with direct changes 
in these individual fields. 


Still, this is not quite enough editing pow¬ 
er. The Last Name lookup is a simple one, 
not very specific, and it occasionally gets 
the wrong address, where two last names 
are identical. Sometimes I write a letter to 
someone not in my Active Address file, 
and I may not want them to be added to 
that file. Also, since I sometimes import 
addresses, for mass mailings, from files 
with all upper-case addresses, the File¬ 
Maker Proper function is used to insure 

Letters FM DB 

Mi. Stacy Sharp 

Systems USA, Inc. 

400 Point Blvd., Ste 400 
San Francisco CA 94080 


v^ watertechnfcs _ 

madntMn syicccm development 


Stacy Sharp 
Systems Usa, Inc. 

400 Point Blvd., Ste 400 
San Francisco, CA 94000 


To make an object non¬ 
printing, use the Slide 
Objects option under 
the Arrange menu in 
Layout mode. 


Figure 2 


Informal Sal 
Closing Full 


Regarding your request for information about ways to speed up 
your computer so that Stock Reports can be run more quickly: 
there are a number of accelerator boards which can added to your 
Macintosh CX. The performance improvement of the alternatives is 
directly related to cost. Since your CX is a fairly new machine and 
already in the midrange of Macintosh performance, there is very 
little point in buying a low cost accelerator: there would be only a 
modest improvement. 

AX the high end, there a three products which have gotten good 
reviews for performance and compatibility: 

D aystar SO MHZ d8030 : has been around the longest, a very good 
record of compatibility, cost about $2,000- 

Fusion Data Systems' Tokomac : 48040 based; newest product with 
least track record; some of our customers have bought one and 
reported no problems; cost about $2300- 

Qa^igs Rocket : 48040 based; best performance; some compatibility 
problems reported in early models but they seem to have been 
mostly worked out; largest company of the three, most likely to 
survive and continue to develop/support their product; just 
announced new software which will allow the Rocket card to run 
independently of the main, original CPU - this means that you may 
soon be able to run the Stock Reports in the background (on the 
Rocket) while you also do word processing (or something else) - 
your computer would not be tied up by the report generation; cost 
about $2400-. 

Any of these accelerators should cut your report generation time in 
half, the more expensive ones doing a little better. My inclination 
would be to go with the Rocket, because you might end up getting 
true multitasking out of it. However, you cant go wrong with the 
Daystar, it is a very safe choice. The Tokomac is the least 
expensive 48040 based accelerator, and a 48040 card is based on 
the latest technology, the 48030 chip will soon be passed by and 
considered "lo-end". We would charge about $250- to come to your 
office, install and check out one. 

Michael C. Harris 
Senior Partner 


64A fanny Lan* 
Wrtxorwlk* CA 
I3D7& 

P.D. IM 1307 

Sorrta Cruz, CA 
SSDS3 

MB76V3OT 
MB 76US46I FAX 


The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing Issue 41 • Page 3 





that all of these individual address fields 
are upper/lower case when combined into 
the Address field. Using this Proper func¬ 
tion sometimes screws up certain words or 
phrases (see “Systems Usa” in Figure 2 ). 

To allow easy correction of any address 
problem, I created a field called Address 
Manual where I can enter an entire ad¬ 
dress exactly as desired and have it appear 
in the salutation Address. 

The formula for the final salutation 
address field is: 


Remember 


We use A to indicate 
places in our printed 
equations where the 
reader should insert a 
space. 


Address = {text result} 

If (Address Manual > "a“. Address 
Manual, Proper (Prefix) & Proper (First 
Name) & If (First Name < "a",Prefix & 
"A","A") & Proper (Last Name) & "W & 
Proper (Organization) & "fl" & Proper 
(Street) & "H" & Proper (City) & ",A" & 
State & "aa" & Zip Text & "T & "D 

(The double return characters at the end 
serve to space properly the salutation that 
follows in a sliding environment.) 


to do it with check boxes. The Ltr Saluta¬ 
tion and Closing fields are text calcula¬ 
tions, placed on the layout so that every 
field slides up to an appropriate place on 
the printed page. The three check box 
fields - Formal Sal, Informal Sal and 
Closing Full - are all simple number 
fields, with a value list containing only the 
number “1”. On the layout they are for¬ 
matted as check boxes. So, the salutation 
and closing fields are: 

Ltr Salutation = {text result} 

If (Informal Sal = 1, First Name & If 
(Formal Sal = 1, "Dear" & "A“ & Prefix 
& "A" & Last Name & ":","Dear" & " A " 
& First Name & ":")) 

Closing = {text result} 

If (Closing Full * ""."Michael C. Harris" 

& "H" & "Senior Partner","Mike Harris") 

Note: alternative implementations of the 
check boxes will also work. Using two 
fields with radio buttons is a possibility. 


Salutation and Closings 

I wanted to be able to choose quickly 
suitable salutations and closings. I decided 

Figure 3 


Letters FM DB 


Stacy Sharp 
Systems USA, Inc. 
400 Point Blvd, Suite 400 
San Franoisco, CA 94080 


Ms. Stacy Sharp 

Systems USA, lac. 

400 Point Bhrd., Ste 400 
San Francisco CA 94080 


ter technics _ 

madntotfi system development 


Stacy Sharp 
Systems USA, Inc. 

400 Point Blvd, Suite 400 
San Francisco, CA 94080 


Formal Sal □ 
Informal Sal E3 
Closing Full S 


Stacy: 

Regarding your request for information about ways to speed up 
your computer so that Stock Reports can be run more quickly: 
there are a number of accelerator boards which can added to your 
Macintosh CX. Tbe performance improvement of the alternatives is 
directly related to cost. Since your <_X is a fairly new machine and 
already in the midrange of Macintosh performance, there is very 
little point in buying a low cost accelerator: there would be only a 
modest improvement. 


Elaborations 

As described, this file is quite basic. 
There are a number of possible enhance¬ 
ments. I can associate the salutation and 

- greeting type with the ad- 

- 5 dress record in Active 

Addresses so that I can 
look up the level of for¬ 
mality with the address. 
This saves additional steps 
(every little step counts!) 
and always insures, say, 
that an informal letter is 
sent to close business as¬ 
sociates and customers. In 
a group of identical letters 
to a mixed group of peo¬ 
ple - in respect to our 
closeness - the salutation 


Page 4 • Issue 41 The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing 



and dosing are switched from formal to 
informal without each record being exam¬ 
ined and adjusted. 

I might also look up different letter¬ 
heads by placing my letterhead graphic 
(with text as part of the “graphic”) in a 
looked-up picture field. A value looked up 
from Active Addresses could determine 
which letterhead is printed for a given cus¬ 
tomer. For people who operate more than 
one small business, or just for making dif¬ 
ferent sorts of impressions, 
this tying of letterhead type 
to specific customers is 
something I would not know 
how to do so easily in a word 
processor. This works with 
any letterhead graphic in¬ 
cluding one like mine that 
crosses both the top and a 
side. Just put the text fields 
on top of a large picture field 
to get any effect you like. 

Of course, the text of the 
letter can be looked up as well. 

You might look up different 
Lettertext field text, all with 
the same basic message, re¬ 
flecting your relationship with 
the recipient: some people 
might get a light, jocular form 
of the text while others got a 
very formal version. Naturally, 
there could be many variations 
if desirable, such as in a test 
mailing of different solicita¬ 
tion letters. You could ran¬ 
domly vary the text and/or 
appearance of letters in a mass 
mailing, to study the effective¬ 
ness of different versions, 
while retaining a record of 
which version each recipient 
received. If your business has 


several different addresses, or local contacts, 
the address could be changed on the letter¬ 
head to reflect the office closest to the recipi¬ 
ent or their local contact. 

+ J \r* 

Mike Harris is Senior Partner at Watertech- 
nics, a Macintosh consulting company spe¬ 
cializing in systems for small businesses and 
corporate work groups. He would like to talk 
with any reader about this article or other 
Mac subjects. He can be reached at: 408- 
761-3987, AppleLink X2338 or PO Box 2307, 
Santa Cruz, CA 95063. 


o^ watertecimics 


madntorfi systems development 


Stacy Sharp 
Systems USA, Inc. 

400 Point Bhrd, Suite 400 
San Francisco, CA 94080 


Stacy: 

Regarding your request for information about ways to speed up 
your computer so that Stock Reports can be run more quickly: 
there are a number of accolorator boards which can addod to your 
Macintosh CX. The performance improvement of the alternatives is 
direct^ related to cost. Since your CX is a fairly new machine and 
already in the midrange of Macintosh performance, there Is very 
little point in buying a low cost accelerator: there would he only a 
modest improvement. 

At the high end, there a three products which have gotten good 
reviews for performance and compatibility: 

Daystar SO MHZ <8030 : has been around the longest, a very good 
record of compatibility, cost about $2,000- 

Fusion Data Systems' Tokomac : 48040 based; newest product with 
least track record; some of our customers have bought one and 
reported no problems; cost about $2300- 

Radius Rocket : 48040 based; best performance; some compatibility 
problems reported in early models but they seem to have been 
mostly worked out; largest company of the three, most likely to 
survive and continue to develop/support their product; just 
announced new software which will allow the Rocket card to run 
independently of the main, original CPU - this means that you may 
soon be able to run the Stock Reports in the background (on the 
Rocket) while you also do word processing (or something else) - 
your computer would not be tied up by the report generation; cost 
about $2400*. 

Any of these accelerators should cut your report generation time in 
half, the more expensive ones doing a little better. My inclination 
would be to go with the Rocket, because you might end up getting 
true multitasking out of it. However, you can't go wrong with the 
Daystar, it is a very safe choice. The Tokomac is the least 
expensive 48040 based accelerator, and a 48040 card is based on 
the latest technology, the 48030 chip will soon be passed by and 
considered "lo-end 11 . We would charge about $250- to com# to your 
office, install and check out one. 


Michael C. Harris 
Senior Partner 


Figure 4 


i«A Pinny Una 
Wrfxorvlb CA 
53D76 

P.D. I OH *30 7 
Santa Cruz, CA 
93DB 

IDB76V3W7- 
401 761-^fii FAX 


The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing Issue 41 • Page 5 













Hunting the Elusive Field 


By S.C. Kim Hunter 
Acropolis Software 

Did you ever hunt through layouts 
looking for a certain field so you could 
view the entries in that field? You may 
never need to use the FileMaker Pro access 


ence of which fields are on which layouts. 

As shown in Figure 1, two columns on 
the right display lists of layouts and fields. 
In the figure, Tax Report Find is selected 
in the Layout column. The second field in 
the Fields column, Date, has a solid bullet 
in front of it which indicates this Layout 


Note 


For a detailed dis¬ 
cussion of Pro security 
features see the article 
on page 1 of issue # 40. 


protection or passwords, but you may find 
the attendant cross-reference list of layouts 
and fields very useful for locating which 
layouts show a given field or which fields 
are on a given layout. 

Figure 1 shows the Pro Access Privileg¬ 
es Overview dialog for the Expenses file 
included in the Templates folder shipped 
with Pro. This dialog is opened from the 
File menu by choosing Access Privileges... 
which leads to a hierarchical sub-menu, 
from which you choose the Overview... 
option. The purpose of this dialog is to 
view established passwords and groups. 
Since I rarely use passwords, I found the 
dialog a bit confusing until I noticed a 
great feature which has nothing to do with 


has this field on it. Other fields have 
dimmed (gray) bullets except Tax Deduct¬ 
ible? which is also on the Tax Report Find 
layout. Fields that don’t appear on the se¬ 
lected layout have dimmed bullets. This 
trick helps you find the fields on any lay¬ 
out. 

Figure 2 shows the Date field selected 
in the Fields column. Three layouts show 
solid bullets: Enter Expenses, Enter Bills 
and Tax Report Find. This is because the 
field Date only appears on those three lay¬ 
outs. (The other layouts have dimmed bul¬ 
lets.) So if you want to find a field, just 
select it in the field list, then note which of 
the layouts have solid bullets - those are 
the layouts that have that field on them. 


Figure 1 


using passwords: it provides a cross-refer 


This hunting process will be more 
complicated if groups and 


Access Priuileges for File “Eupenses” 


Groups 


A Passwords 


Layouts 

B Fields 




O 



O 


* 

Enter Expenses 


* 

Check No £ 

> 








* 

Enter Bills 


• 

Date 

“ 








* 

Monthly Expense 


* 

Expense Amt 









* 

Mo. Expns Rpt-Ci 


* 

Category 1 









# 

Monthly Deposit S 


* 

Payee 









* 

Mo. Exp Rpt-Cate 



Deposit Amt l| 









* 

Tax Report 


* 

Category 2 









* 

Menu 


* 

Due 









# 

Help 


n 

Date Due 









# 

Intro 


* 

Number Days Due Ij 









ES t jp i 


** 

Processed? 












* 

Amt Due 












* 

Month 












* 

Total Expenses l| 













Total Deposits Ij 












* 

Month text 1L 

j|i 

_ 



_ 




n 


KB 

• 

Tax Deductible? C 

3 


• Accessible » Not accessible o View only .-. / — -, 

A These links are locked until a group is selected. 1 1 II Done II 1 S<W« 1 


passwords are assigned in the 
file because the condition of 
the bullets denote access privi¬ 
leges. As indicated in the fig¬ 
ures, solid bullets mean the 
field is accessible, dimmed 
bullets mean not accessible, 
and empty bullets (circles) 
mean a field can be viewed 
but not modified. If a field has 
a solid bullet you can edit it, 
so it must be on the layout. 
Also if it has an empty bullet 
you can view it so it must be 
on the layout. But if the bullet 


Page 6 • Issue 41 The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing 













is dimmed, it either isn’t on the 
layout or access is denied to 
your password. 

A further complication is 
that, if passwords are assigned 
to a file, you must have a pass¬ 
word that provides access to 
the entire file before you can 
open the Access Privileges 
Overview dialog. If you have 
opened a file with a limited 
password, the File menu will 
show Change Password instead 
of Access Privileges... . 

By the way, one of the con- 


flccess Priuileges for File “Expenses” 


Groups 


A Passwords 

— 

A Layouts 



Fields 



o 



<> 

• 

Enter Expenses 

o 

Li 

Check No 

O i 






• 

Enter Bills 


□ 








# 

Monthly Expense 


« 

Expense Amt 

W 1 







ft 

Mo. Expns Rpt-Ca 


* 

Category 1 








8 

Monthly Deposit! 


* 

Payee 








$ 

Mo. Exp Rpt-Cate 


* 

Deposit Amt 








* 

Tax Report 


* 

Category 2 








* 

Menu 


* 

Due 









Help 


* 

Date Due 








* 

Intro 


u 

Number Days Due 








• 

Tax Report Find 


tt 

Processed? 











ft 

Amt Due 











$ 

Month 











* 

Total Expenses 











* 

Total Deposits 











* 

Month text 


_ 


o 

_ 


O 

_ 


<> 

* 

Tax Deductible? 

EB 


• Accessible « Not accessible o View only 
A These links are locked until a group is selected. 


[ BeuFrl ") |^)one ]]Q 




fusing things about the Access 
Privilege dialog is how you link groups, 
passwords, layouts and fields. You do it by 
selecting words then clicking the bullets. 


For more details consult the FileMaker Pro 
manual or the lead article in Issue #40 of 
this journal. 


Figure 2 


FileMaker Button Tricks & Tips 


By Glenn Brewer & Chris Crim 
Claris Corporation 

With the advent of FileMaker Pro, 
buttons have changed substantially the 
way FileMaker databases are designed and 
used. In conjunction with scripts, buttons 
allow an unprecedented level of customi¬ 
zation of FileMaker databases. They enable 
the database designer to simplify the navi¬ 
gation and use of a complex database so 
that even a casual user can take advantage 
of a sophisticated design. 

However, buttons are not always used 
as effectively as they might be. In some 
cases, they are overused or are not used 
consistently on each layout. This article 
discusses several useful techniques for 
making use of buttons to design more ef¬ 


fective databases. Eliminating confusion 
and simplifying the design are keys to 
maximizing the benefits of buttons. Here 
are a few useful button tips. 

• Any Object can be a Button In File¬ 
Maker Pro, any layout object except a field 
can be designated as a button. Blocks of 
layout text can become buttons as can 
boxes and other Objects drawn on the lay¬ 
out, as can graphics that are imported or 
pasted into the layout. It is not necessary 
to layer a non-text object, such as a round¬ 
ed rectangle, under layout text in order to 
create a button. (Although this technique 
may be desirable in some instances, it can 
create unnecessary screen redrawing which 
usually should be avoided.) 

• Don’t Overuse Buttons Because there 
are so many possible menu commands 



The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing Issue 41 • Page 7 












Note 


Any layout object 
except a field can be 
used to contruct a 
button. 


Note 


Most buttons are used 
only on-screen and 72 
dpi paint-type icons 
serve well. For buttons 
that will be printed, 
higher-resolution 
graphics may look 
better on the printout. 


and scripts that buttons can activate, it is 
easy to overuse buttons. But duplicating 
most of the entire set of menu commands 
on each layout is not a very effective use of 
buttons; often less is more. Think about 
the tasks that are most commonly needed 
and most frequently required on each lay¬ 
out, and supply buttons only for those ac¬ 
tions. Little-used operations shuld remain 
in the menus. 

• Keep Buttons Consistent Providing a 
consistent set of buttons on each layout 
helps users quickly become accustomed to 
navigating the database. Keeping the ap¬ 
pearance of each layout similar and plac¬ 
ing the primary buttons in the same place 
on each layout helps to establish familiari¬ 
ty. Primary buttons are the set of buttons 
used for the principle functions of the da¬ 
tabase. Examples of primary buttons in¬ 
clude: Print, Go to Main Menu, and Help. 

This is not to say that all buttons 
should appear in the same place on every 
layout. Buttons that are specific to a par¬ 
ticular task should appear where they are 
most noticeable and can be quickly access¬ 
ed. As a general rule, however, the buttons 
that control the primary functions of the 
database should be consistently organized, 
from layout to layout, in one location on 
the screen. 

• Good Button Design Make sure that 
all of your buttons are clear as to their 
meaning. Using pictures that convey the 
appropriate meaning is a good way to ac¬ 
complish this. The “Main Menu” button 
in the FileMaker Pro templates is a good 
example of a button that clearly conveys a 
meaning. Where possible, use buttons that 
are similar in size and appearance, but not 
so close that one button can be confused 
for another. A bad practice is to reuse the 
same button several times to indicate dif¬ 
ferent actions. 


It is also often a good idea to include 
explanatory text with buttons in case the 
user does not understand the button’s 
purpose from the button alone. To make 
things simpler for the user both the text 
and the picture that represents the action 
should trigger the button action. There¬ 
fore, if the user clicks on either the text or 
on the picture, the button command will 
be executed. The easiest way to accomplish 
this is to group the button and the text 
together before designating the group as a 
button. But defining them as two buttons 
also works. 

• Providing Help In almost all situa¬ 
tions, the user should be able to click a 
button to get help. Ideally, each help but¬ 
ton should switch to a layout that contains 
information specific to the user’s current 
context, rather than a nqn-specific help 
screen that describes all the features of the 
database. Because there is no limitation on 
the number of layouts that can be created 
in FileMaker Pro, as a rule of thumb, there 
should be at least one help layout that cor¬ 
responds to every major function of the 
database. Examples might include report 
generation, data entry, and searching. 

General Button Techniques 

There are a number of features in File¬ 
Maker Pro that make the use of buttons 
more convenient. Features like those that 
follow allow the designer to provide a sim¬ 
pler view of the database for the user. 

• Switching Layouts Creating a button 
that switches layouts can be accomplished 
in two different ways. The first technique 
involves specifying in the button dialog 
box which layout to switch to when the 
button is pressed. In general, this method 
will be more direct (and therefore faster) 
because the layout reference is stored 
along with the button. 


Page 8 • Issue 41 


The'FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing 





Sequential Index to Issues 1 through 41 

Each issue through 35 included a table of contents on page 1, copyright notices on page 
2, and subscription details on the back cover. The format changed with issue 36 with 
overhead text moved to the back cover and a feature article beginning on page 1. The 
new format carries about 40% more information in the same number of pages. Many 
issues before 36 contained News & Notes and Resources columns that are not indexed 
here. - •. “ 


Issue 1 

Feature 


Feature 


Feature 


Bug Report 


Feature 


January 2,1987 


Fat FileMaker Files 


What? No Save Asi 


Keyboard and Mousing Shortcuts 
Problem with Nested Calculations 


Printing Address Labels with FileMaker 
Quick Tips 14 

Missing lookup files, Finder tips, Sort subsets to improve 
speed, Fields outside label edges. Forethought adoption kit, 
Some Characters not indexed 

Feature 16 

Sorting and Finding 5- and 9-digit Zip Codes 

Issue 2 _ February 18,1987 _ 20p 

Interview 4 

Milestone Group Ltd 

Feature 7 

Numbering Records with MEdit (Part 1) 

Quick Tips 13 

Body Part placement, Recover reclaims space. Never back labels 
out of an ImageWriter, FileMaker '<’ really means '<’, 
Zoom box helps tile windows 

Feature 15 

Using FileMaker As A Word Processor 
Developer's Corner \ 16 

Calculation bug details, File blocks & caching. Save command 


Issue 3 

Feature 


Feature 


Feature 


_ April 10,1987 8 

Numbering Records with MEdit (Part 2) 
Page Breaks On Demand 


Making Subtotals In FileMaker Plus 
Quick Tips .. 1 

Slide saves space between fields, Unslide by changing 
alignment. Looking up nothing 
Resources 1 

Templates, support, tools, ;6 consultants 
Developer's Corner 1 

Tabs and returns in text files, Fields can span page breaks, 
FileMaker automatically scavenges space, compression 


Issue 4 

Feature 


May 26,1987 


Feature 


Feature 


Solve Problems With Indexed Lookups 

t 

Sliding Home Safe With FileMaker Plus Labels 


Issue 5 _ June 29,1987 _ 20p 

Feature 4 

Using FileMaker as a Picture Database 
Quick Tips 9 

Tempo™ valuable for use with FileMaker, View Index for data 
validation, Paste Ditto does not paste blanks, Omit does work. 
Uses for lookup files, Windows menu & tiling, Script sequences 
Feature 13 

Fat FileMaker Files 

Developer's Corner 15 

Finding and Omitting 


Issue 6 

Feature 


September 9,1987 


Beware of repeating equations, Don’t reformat a repeating field 
for fewer values. Don't use repeating fields to build lookup 
tables. Finding in repeating fields. Auto-enter goes into first 
row. Converting repeating fields records to single-entry 

Issue 7 _ October 7,1987 _ 16p 

Feature 4 

Indexed LookupsOookbook, Pseudo-indexing into lookup 
tables^ Order-entry efficiency, Calculate the indexed key 

Feature 10 

The IF(„) Function 

Feature 12 

New LaserWriter Drivers 

Developer's Corner 13 

Eliminate blank calculations, ImageWriter measures .111" 


Issue 8 


December 9,1987 


Feature 8 

Speed-Tabbing with Picture Fields 
Feature 11 

Using Option-Space with View Index 
Quick Tips 12 

Comma field, not layout comma, Three types of recovery. 
Script sequences, Naming lookup files, pictures not truncated 
Lookup bomb fixed. No system cache, Test character count. 
Customized Help files. Possible Select menu arrangements 


December 31,1987 


Issue 9 

Feature 


Feature 10 

Moving Database Files 

Developer's Corner 12 

Improving Performance, Hardware, Data, Operations, 
Program, Floating point coprocessor, Split large files, 
Small lookups, Streamline layouts, Single-word Finds, 
Short field keys, Minimize intermediate calculations 








Issue 10 February 15,1988 16p - 

Feature 5 

Himinate Duplicate Mailing Labels 
Feature 8 

Name Codes 

Feature 12 

How Fast is FileMaker vs 4D, Helix, Omnis, Reflex? 

Issue 11 _ April 7,1988 _ 16p 

Feature 4 

FileMaker and MultiFinder™ 

Quick Tips 6 


From MacWorld, From MacUser, View Index in a calculated 
field, Double click a View Index item to move it into a Find, 
Detecting erroneous letter ‘O’ in a numeric field. 
Counting subclasses of records, Scripts can name layouts, 
Add-on Windows tools. Omit vowels for more name coding, 
Use Input From... as a surrogate Save, The Re/md Trap, 
Counting zip code groups. Input From vs Lookups, Bold with 
draft printing slows the printer, Move fields to not print off the 
page edge, Quick selects in fields. Copy Bill-To data into Ship- 
To fields, Splitting files by dates. Make UPS Zone map table, 
Use dummy field for blank calculation results, 

Screen not redrawn properly in some List cases 


Issue 12 

May 15,1988 

20p 

Feature 

Feature 

Feature 

Feature 

Preventing Fields from Sliding Up 

Weekend Date Calculations 

Making Bar Graphs with FileMaker 

Addresses: Structures ScData 

5 

, v: V; 3;; 

10 

; ' 13 

Issue 13 

June 30,1988 

16p 

Feature c 5 - 

New FileMaker 4, Multiuser, Text equations, New-featiires, 
New menu items. New Find, Layout and drawing toOls > 
Feature - ' ' 12 

MakeRecords™ Built into FileMaker 4 

Feature ■ - .. . .-13"' 


FileMaker 4 Warnings: One-way conversion from 
FileMaker Plus, Command key assignment changes, Special 
network file needed with Mac Plus, Embedded font styles. 
Field types must match when transferring data, Calculations 
drop leading zeroes, < is now available in addition to < 


Issue 14 

August 25,1988 

16p 

Feature 

Feature 

Self-Look-Ups in FileMaker 

Thirty Days Hath Who? 

4 

Feature 


7 

Feature 

Handling Zip Codes 

Tab Leaders for Directories 

. 8 

Quick Tips -• 


. 10 


Don't get caught out of space. Calculating relative Finds, 
Conditional lookups, Multiple lookup keys, One-way Find 
ranges, Use ‘mt’ in empty fields, Compression statistics, 
FileMaker II speeds, Using the round function, Using the 
position function. Reformat phone nuinbers with equations 


Issue 15 

October 15,1988 

16p 

Feature 

Calculation: Net Working Days 

5 

Wish List 

All Accumulated Wishes 

, 8 

Issue 16 

.November 15,1988 

16p 

(Cover date printed incorrectly as October 15) 


Update 

Fixed Last-Of-Month Calculation 

4 

Feature 

Aging Receivables 

5 

Feature 


7 

Creating Serial Numbers for Existing Records 


Feature 

Conditional Calculations 

8 

Quick Tips 


10 


Cursor keys scroll pop-up definition, Right /Left functions 
work well. Don't copy open files under MultiFinder, Finding 
with Y and N, Font/style/alignment selection, Make Exact not 
case sensitive, Store Finds in scripts, Dup changes data 
Design Project 13 

Numerals-To-Words 


Issue 17 : 

December 23,1988 

16p 

■ . *v : i . 

Feature 

Compressing Files 

6 

Feature >'■ 

Checkwriter Translator 

7 

Feature . 

Verbalizing Your Wealth 

10 

Manual Bugs 


15 

Issife 18 

February 3,1989 

16p 

Feature 


5 


’ . Sorting On Mondays 


Feature 

Asset Allocation Database 

7 

Feature 


10 


Clearing Out Middle Initials 


Feature 


13 


: Steering Through FileMaker 


Feature 


14 


Counting Zip Codes 


Issue 19 

March 8,1989 

16p 

Update 

... • • - » 

Zip Count Multicolumn Fix 

f/; . 3 

Feature 

Basics of Equations 

5 

Feature 


8 


Nesting Equations 


Feature 

Text For Check Amounts 

9 

Feature 


14 


— Saving Keystrokes — w 


Phone numbers. Zips, City/State lookup, Calculate date text 

Issue 20 

May 8, 1989 

16p 


Update 3 

Multicolumn ZIP count correction 





Feature 

FileMaker in the Small Construction Business 
FileMaker Bug 

Incorrect Damaged Warning 


W- 


Feature 

Feature 




Segmenting Lookup Files 
Purging Letters from Zip Codes 


4 

8 

8 

10 


Feature 

Printing Mail Labels 

12 

Issue 21 

June 16,1989 

16p 

Feature 


5 

Feature 

Church Gift Recording 8c Reporting 

9 

Quick Tips 
Auto-open 
Text Optio 

Files, Subscripts and Superscripts, Checl 
nal, Paint Your Signature, Lubricate You 
Locating Lower-case Data 

... 13 

: Amount 
r Printer, 

Issue 22 

July 5. 1989 

16p 


Feature 

Feature 


Making 8c Using Notes in FileMaker 
Spreadsheet Layouts in FileMaker 


3 

6 


Quick Tips 10 

Easy Omit, Redundancy Aids Data Verification, Calculate First 
Initial + Last Name, TempoII Difficulties, Customized Help 
Files, Entering Current Time into Fields^ Keep Bad Addresses, 
Split Files to Save Space? Two Entry Options /Bugs ; 


O’ 


Issue 23 

Septernber:8,;1989 

16p 

Feature 


5 


Tracking-Health Claims ■ y 


Feature 


■ 7 

Printing Directories 8c Signature Imposition 


Feature 

. - ' • ■ vj- : •' JV. *' ?v : ' : ", 

12 


Calculate Better Mail Labels 


Design Project iv. ■ 

15 


FileMaker Challenge 1 

' 

Issue 24 

October 12,1989 

16p 

Update 

' . : ' ", . 

4 


Correction to Verbalizing Your Wealth’ 


Feature " 

Printing Labels on a Laser Printer 

5 

Feature 


■ 9 

Design Project 

15 


FileMaker Challenge 2 


Issue 25 

November 17,1989 

16p 

Feature 


' 7 

Feature 

FileMaker vs HyperCard vs SuperCard 

„ 9 

Quick Tips 


13 


Purging Letters Reactions, Moving Records To 8c From Word 
Processors, Manipulate Records in a Word Processor, 
Use the Right Keyboard! 


Issue 26 


December 12/1989 


Feature 

Feature 

Feature 

Feature 


Scrunch FileMaker Spacing 
Copy 8c Paste FileMaker Equations 
Automating Blueprint Sales 


3 

5 

5 

9 

10 


Forward to the Past - Printing Laser Labels 
Quick Tips 

New One up Cheshire Labels, Change Case Equations, 
Calculate One-Field Addresses, Don't Format Text for Dollars, 
Bug: View-As-List with Subsummaries, Keep Lookups Local, 
Calculate City+Comma, Renaming Fields, Changes Layout 
Text, Redesigning Files, Cleaning Up Equations 


Issue 27 


February 19,1990 


16p 


Feature 

Feature 

Feature 


Finding Mortgage Factors 
Strategies 8c Tactics for Deleting Records 
Spreadsheets vs Databases 


5 

7 

11 

13 


Quick Tips 

Creating Blank First Records, Recover Compresses Little, 

~ Reorder Records by Moving to a Clone 

Design Project 14 

FileMaker Challenge 1 Winner 


Issue 28 


March 30. 1990 


20p 


Preview 

Feature 

Feature 

Feature 


Here Comes FileMaker Prol 
Designing for a Video Store 
Full-Page Lined Forms in FileMaker 
Detecting 8c Computing Empty Fields 


Quick Tips 

System 6.0.5 Warnings, Paste Ditto will Undo, Bug: 
Unevaluated Equation, Btig: Find Request Omit, Enhanced 
Name Codes, Script Command Keys Automatically 
Reassigned, Date 8c Numeric Fields not expanded in Find, 


3 

5 

9 

12 

15 


Multi-Part Forms on a LaserWriter 


Issue 29 


June 28,1990 


16p 


Feature 

Feature 


More Exploration of FileMaker Pro 
Turning Old Customers into New 


Feature 

Flaws into Features (New Uses for Repeating Fields) 


4 

7 

11 


Issue 30 


July 30,1990 


16 p 


Feature 
Q 8c A 
Feature 
Feature 


Processing Payables with FileMaker 
Calculating a Ship/Handle Charge 
Credit Card Tracking 
Exploring FileMaker Pro, Part III 


6 

11 

12 

15 







Feature 4 

Taking Random Samples of Records 
Feature 7 

Converting to FileMaker Pro 

Q&A 12 

Custom Sort Sequences 

Quick Tips 13 

Compression in Pro, Large File problems, Recover problems, 
After Dark On the Network; Label Generator file. Separate 
Label Printing from Address files. Making Data Read-only 

Issue 32 s r - October 18,1990 » 16p 

Equation du Jour 3 

Calculating Volume Discounts 

Q & A ' ' ■ 5 

Calculating with Summary Fields 
Feature 6 

Managing Checking Accounts with FileMaker 
Quick Tips 14 

Store Addresses as Upper or Proper Case? 

Network Messaging File, Duplicating Part of a Record 



Issue 35 March 7,1991 16p 

Feature , . .3 

Add-on & Push-down Data Stacks 
Q&A 12 

Finds in Repeating Fields 

Equation du Jour 14 

GroUp Sequence Numbers 


Issue 36_May 3,1991 


Feature , ' " 1 

Record-to-Record Information Transfers 
Feature 4 

A FileMaker Search-Only Field 

Feature 6 

New Pro Serials (Better Than Oat Bran!) 

Feature 8 

Calculating Elapsed Times * 

Feature 11 

An Estate Planning Template 

Quick Tips 14 


Field Definition Box, Curly Quotes in Equations? 
Simulating Pre-printed Forms, Invisible Fields, Adding Serial 
Numbers, Assigning Invoice Nembers, Case of Functions 


Feature 


1 


Catalog Publishing with FileMaker: Part 1 


Q&A 

Finding Old Customers 

9 

Feature 

Using Calculation and Data Fields Together 

11 

Issue 38 

June 24,1991 

16p 

Feature 

Auto Elimination of Duplicate Addresses 

1 

Feature 

Catalog Publishing with FileMaker: Part 2 

8 

Correction 

13 


Errata: Elapsed Time Corrections 


Q&A 

Summarize Sales From Repeating Fields 

14 

Issue 39 

August 9,1991 

16p 

Feature 

Power Pop-Ups 

1 

Update 


5 


Errata: Telephone Number Formatting 


Feature 


6 


Counting the Number of Unique Entries 


Feature 


7 


Adding & Updating Record Numbers 


Q&A 

Copying from a Calculated Field 

12 


Quick Tips 14 

Alias Files in System 7, Claris Answer Line, Bad Radius Math? 
Duplexing Space in Reports, Locked Buttons 
Extract Last Repeating Field Entry 

Issue 40 _S eptember 18, 1991 _ 16p 

Feature 1 

FileMaker Pro Security Features 
Q & A 8 

Add and Update Records at the Same Time? 

Feature 10 

DBF Format Reveals Max Length of Field Data 
Quick Tips 14 

Claris FileMaker Fax Service, View Index RIP, 

Fixing Date Data, Space for Save a Copy As... 

Issue 41 November 13,1991 _ 16p 

Feature 1 

A FileMaker Correspondence File 
Feature 6 

Hunting the Elusive Field 

Feature . 7 

FileMaker Button Tips & Tricks 
Quick Tips 14 

Formatting ZIP Codes, Using Phone Fields 



The FileMaker Report 
Elk Horn Publishing 
PO Box 1300 
Freedom, CA 95019 

Voice: 408-761-5466 
Fax:408-761-5468 






On the other hand, using a 
button to execute a script to 
switch layouts is less direct be¬ 
cause the script has to be down¬ 
loaded (if the database is oper¬ 
ating on the network), and the 
code required to execute the 
script has to be loaded into 
memory. However, this second 
method has the distinct advan¬ 
tage that it will automatically 
switch the user to Browse 
whenever the button is execut¬ 
ed. This can be useful for creat¬ 
ing an “Exit Find” button for a 
special Find screen, for exam¬ 
ple; when “Exit Find” is selected, FileMak- Mac II users with bigger screens. One ap- Figure 1 

er would not only switch layouts, but proach is to start with a screen like the one 

would also return to Browse mode (rather shown in Figure 1 above (from the Claris 

than staying in Find). Personal Organizer). 

Of course, if the script accomplishes Once the user has indicated their 

other actions in addition to switching lay- screen size, a design like this can switch to 
outs it may be worthwhile anyway. one of two Main Menu layouts that then 

• Steering to Designated Layouts Pro- makes available navigation buttons that 

viding a consistent entry point into the steer to layouts of only the right screen 

database is an excellent way to control the size. 

user’s experience. In FileMaker Pro, there This Main Menu screen is where the 

is a very easy way to insure that each user major tasks specific to the database are 
enters the database on the same layout. shown. For example, there might be but- 

While in Layout, go to the layout that tons for selecting various reports that 

should be the primary or startup screen. could be run, or buttons for functions 
Choose Layout Options from the Layout such as entering new customers or updat- 
menu and check the box labeled “Switch ing outstanding invoices. Typically, data- 
to this layout when opening file”. When- base operations branch out from the Main 
ever users open the database, they will be Menu. Eventually, the user returns to the 

switched to the designated layout, regard- Main Menu in order to initiate a new ac- 

less of how the last user closed the file. tivity. 

Often the initial screen(s) of the data- The Main Menu approach can also 

base are used to set up the database envi- help minimize proliferation of buttons on 

ronment and help the user get started. In other layouts. Each operating layout only 

cases where a database is used by multiple needs a button to return to the Main 

machines on a network, it is often desir- Menu (in addition, perhaps, to a couple of 

able to create one set of layouts for Mac buttons that are quite specific to the cur- 

Plus and SE users and a different set for rent screen). 



The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing Issue 41 • Page 9 











f t f 


l i 





* Non-printing Objects There is a new 
feature in FileMaker Pro that can be used 
to designate objects as non-printing. Using 
this feature the database designer can cre¬ 
ate a layout for data entry and include 
whatever instructions, label text, or but¬ 
tons may be desired. By judiciously select¬ 
ing objects that are to be excluded from 
the printed output, the layout can be made 
suitable for printing as well as data entry. 
In Layout mode, simply select the ob- 
ject(s) that should not appear on the 
printed output, and choose Slide Objects 
from the Arrange menu. Select the option 
“Do not print the selected objects”. 

Keep in mind that non-printing ob¬ 
jects will affect sliding. If you want other 
objects to slide into the position occupied 
by a set of non-printing objects, turn slid¬ 
ing on for those non-printing objects. 

With sliding off, the non-printing objects 
will leave white space behind and will 
block other objects from sliding. 

• Find Button When the button com¬ 
mand for Find was implemented in File¬ 
Maker Pro, we thought it would be useful 
to give this particular button a double 
meaning. We did it like this: if the user is 
in Browse mode when the button is 
clicked, FileMaker will switch to Find 
mode. On the other hand, if the user is 
already in Find mode, clicking the Find 
button will actually execute the Find re¬ 
quest. This is particularly useful for creat¬ 
ing a single layout with a button labeled 
Find that performs the appropriate action 
based on the current context. 


Figure 2 




Last Name 

First Name 

Comoanu 

Amount Oved 

Kroeger 

Joe 

Elkhorn Publishing 

$1,200.00 

Brewer 

Glenn 

Claris 

$500.00 

Harris 

Mi ke 

WaterTechnics 

$350.00 

Hunter 

Kim 

Acropolis 

$450.00 


• View Index Many custom databases 
that use buttons allow the user to Find a 
group of records. In most of these databas¬ 
es, the user is presented with a simple lay¬ 
out that contains a few fields where they 
can create their Find request. In many 
designs there is a button for viewing the 
possible choices for each of the fields - 
that executes the View Index command. 
Showing a user an exhaustive list of every 
word in a field may not be very useful be¬ 
cause much of the text is not significant 
(e.g., “the, and, or, but” are all indexed). 
Often, it is better to create a special key¬ 
words field that contains only meaningful 
words for an associated field. Then the 
View Index command can provide a more 
useful list of items for the Find request. 

• Colorizing Buttons Many buttons are 
based on pictures created in black and 
white paint or drawing programs. How¬ 
ever, on color machines, the addition of 
color makes buttons stand out on the lay¬ 
out. (Indeed, coding button functions by 
color can sometimes be quite productive.) 
It is possible to color black and white im¬ 
ages in Layout by selecting the object and 
choosing a color from the line color pal¬ 
ette (not the fill color palette). This tech¬ 
nique is very effective for creating simple, 
colored buttons. Moreover, it results in 
more space efficient objects than can be 
created using a color drawing or paint 
package. 

• Show Buttons While designing a 
database with buttons, it is sometimes easy 
to forget which objects are already buttons 
and which need to be made into buttons. 
Fortunately, we have the Show command 
in the Layout menu. One of the Show op¬ 
tions is Buttons. As long as this feature is 
on, all buttons appear with a two-pixel 
gray border for easy identification. 


Page 10 • Issue 41 The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing 





Button based on Last Name 


Advanced Button Techniques f- 

There are several ‘advanced’ I 

techniques that can be employed ^. 

using buttons in FileMaker Pro. IT 

Although they may not be obvi¬ 
ous, most of the techniques that 
follow are fairly simple and can 
add a lot of value to many data¬ 
bases. We regularly use these 
techniques ourselves and find 
they have applicability in many 
circumstances. 

• Column Heading Buttons 
Many FileMaker databases con¬ 
tain report layouts that were 
originally created with the columnar re¬ 
port option. An excerpt from such a report 
is shown in Figure 2 . 

Often, it is desirable to organize a re¬ 
port based on several different criteria, 
such as Amount Owed or alphabetically by 
Last Name. An easy way to do this is to 
create a script for every desired Sort se¬ 
quence. In the example in Figure 2 , there 
could be a script that sorts by Amount 
Owed and a script that sorts by Last 
Name. Next, create a button for each 
script by selecting the appropriate col¬ 
umn label in Layout and linking it to 
the script. See Figure 3 . Then when the 
Last Name column heading is pressed 
in Browse or Find mode the report is 
quickly reorganized alphabetically by 
Last Name. 

A further enhancement to this layout is 
to change the color of the column text so 
that headings that are buttons are clearly 
distinguished from the “plain” column 
headings. This technique is an excellent 
example of a very powerful use of buttons 
that may not be immediately obvious. 

• Next Record/Previous Record/Go To 
Record In many databases, the status pan- 


Last Name 


First Name 


Company 


Amount OwJ 


'iLa>'t..Narrie.. '"‘"‘..Nr,:.* ’..’’.’I||Cg.rnpaim..—.11-Amo.iM.QweJl 

Define Button __ 

In Browse or Find mode, clicking on the selected 
set of objects mill 

^ perform a script: Sort by last Name | 

□ perform a command: j Go fo Heni Record 

□ 

□ switch to layout: j I. ay out #T j 


Cancel 


el is hidden. Hiding the status panel in¬ 
creases the amount of usable screen area 
and allows the database designer to more 
completely control the look and feel of the 
database. However, if the status panel is 
hidden, an alternative method for switch¬ 
ing records is needed. We have used a 
number of button implementations that 
allow the user to switch records. A particu- 
lary neat example is shown in Figure 4 that 
incorporates many of the features of the 


Figure 3 


Figure 4 




First Record — 
(Go To Record... [ 1 ]) 


Previous Record 


- Last Record 

(Go To Record... [9999]) 


Next Record 


(Go To Record... [with Dialog]) 

FileMaker book. A vertical version also 
works well and may be a better analog to 
the (hidden) book icon. 

This control is constructed out of five 
different pictures and a layout text object. 
The Next Record and Previous Record 
buttons are implemented directly using 
commands available in the button dialog. 
The First Record and Last Record buttons 


The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing Issue 41 • Page 11 




















are implemented using the “Go To 
Record...” command in the button dialog. 
Simply by specifying record one and 
record 9999 (or some other record num¬ 
ber higher than the highest number of 
records in the database) when creating 
each button, FileMaker will go to the first 
and last records, respectively. Be sure to 
specify that this command is to be per¬ 
formed without the dialog, so that the user 
does not have to OK the dialog each time 
they press the button. 

The button in the center of this control 
set is an interesting combination. Its back¬ 
ground is a drop shadow rectangle so that 
it is clear that this is a button, and not just 
layout text. The record number shown in 
the center is dynamically updated as the 
user changes records. On the layout it ap¬ 
pears as which is the FileMaker lay¬ 
out symbol for record number. The layout 
text and the graphic are grouped so that 
they are a single button object that acti¬ 
vates the Go To Record... command. In 


Figure 5 


View as List Layout 



this case, the dialog should appear so that 
the user can type in the specific record 
number they wish to view. 

• Invisible Buttons As stated previous¬ 
ly, any object except a field can become a 
button. However, there are circumstances 
where it is useful for a field to act as a but¬ 
ton. For example, a user typically wants to 
locate particular records. To do so, they 
might switch to a Find screen, enter a Find 
request, and locate one or more records. 
Let’s say that after the Find command, 
they return to a View as List layout that 
contains summary information about each 
matching record. How, then, can the user 
easily identify target records and switch to 
a view where they can see detailed infor¬ 
mation about the record? The diagram in 
Figure 5 demonstrates the concept. 

The useful task illustrated in Figure 5 
can be accomplished as follows. In Layout, 
draw a large invisible object (to be made 
into a button) on top of all of the objects 
for one record on the View as List layout. 
Select the Define Button command from 
the Scripts menu and pick the Switch to 
Layout option. Select the desired detail 
layout as the target layout. Once the but¬ 
ton is the proper size and is associated 
with a button command, select the rectan¬ 
gle, and choose None for line width in the 
status area. Also make sure the button 
does not have a fill pattern or fill color. In 


Figure 6 


Invisible Button 
(Show Buttons Active) 

"1 


List Hue 

First Hue 

Comm, 

Am out Oni 

..t 


ILas.tMame.. 

.||Eiis.tHame.. 

__IIGqhipw. 

.IIAmmit.Q.we.l.l 


i. 


Page 12 • Issue 41 The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing 











Layout mode with Show Buttons active, 
the newly created button might appear as 
shown in Figure 6. 

Now, in Browse mode, when the user 
clicks on a record, FileMaker will immedi¬ 
ately switch to the detail layout with the 
record the user clicked on shown. This 
technique works because the button is in 
front of all of the other objects on the lay¬ 
out, so it receives the mouse click first. 
Therefore, it is crucial that the button be 
the last object added to this layout or that 
it be moved to the top with the Move to 
Front command from the Arrange menu. 

Keep in mind that it is now not possi¬ 
ble to click in the record and remain in the 
View as List layout as long as the button 
exists. This can be an advantage if you 
want the user to not change data using this 
layout. Note, however, that it is still possi¬ 
ble to select the first field in the current 
record in the list layout by pressing the 
Tab key. 

An alternative approach is to create a 
visible smaller button at one end of the 
View as List record and use it for moving 
to the detail layout. Then the record may 
be edited in either list or detail layouts. 

• Find Range Buttons One very com¬ 
mon use of FileMaker databases is to con¬ 
struct phone lists or address lists. Often it 
is nice to focus on a range of names, all 
starting with a particular letter. However, 
we may not want to find only the names 
starting with a given letter, but rather it is 


sometimes desireable to jump to the start 
of a range of letters. The layout shown in 
Figure 7 demonstrates this idea. 

In Browse, the buttons in the footer 
appear at the bottom of the screen. The 
first button will locate all names starting 
with A, the second button will locate all 
those starting with D, and so on. Each of 
the buttons is linked to a different script 
that finds the names starting with the first 
letter of that range (that is, it enters a sin¬ 
gle letter in the Name field in Find mode). 
The trick is in the next step: create a sec¬ 
ond script that is chained to the first that 
executes the Find All command. When the 
button is pushed, the first script restricts 
the found set to include only entries start¬ 
ing with a specific letter. Then the second 
script wipes out the found set, finding all 
of the records in the database again. The 
side effect of this combination of scripts, 
which is what makes this tip work, is that 
the first record of the range becomes the 
current record, and remains selected even 
after the Find All command. 

Summary 

Buttons are an important addition to 
FileMaker’s capabilities. They put the 
power of FileMaker’s commands in an in¬ 
terface that you design. However, remem¬ 
ber that anyone can design an ugly inter¬ 
face. Use restraint and consistency to add 
the most value, and most of all, keep the 
design clean. 


More 


For more about button 
design philosophy, see 
Mike McLane's com¬ 
ment in issue #36 on 
page 11. 


Figure 7 


Claris 

Phone Directory 

II Pg ## 

Hane 

Phone nunber Dept 

MS ACDfBeeoer AppleLink 

INsjone. 

.IPbojn&jnumb.er..Ib.epi. 

.iT'feilst.QplACD.or.B&fep.er. lAppleLink.] 



Find Range Buttons 


The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing Issue 41 • Page 13 












Translation 


"If the length of the 
ZipText field is equal to 
9, put into the 
NewZipText field the 
left-most 5 characters 
of ZipText followed by 
a dash followed by the 
right-most 4 characters 
from ZipText. If the 
length of ZipText is any 
value except 9, put the 
contents of ZipText 
into NewZipText." 


Page 14 • Issue 41 


FileMaker Quick Tips 

Formatting ZIP codes (by Joe Kroeger) 

One of my address files has a ZIP field 
with a mixture of five-digit and nine-digit 
ZIP codes. It turned out that some of the 
long ones had a dash after the fifth digit 
and some had been entered without the 
dash. The problem is to devise an equation 
that would edit the file and insert the dash 
when needed. 

I figured one obvious way to select the 
ZIPs that needed editing is to count the 
length of the ZipText field. 

ZipLength = {text result} 

Length (ZipText) 

A five-digit ZIP code should have a 
length of 5, a nine-digit ZIP with a dash 
should be length 10 and a nine-digit ZIP 
without a dash should be length 9. 

Then I used ZipLength in an equation 
that created a new ZIP field with dashes 
inserted where needed: 

NewZipText = {text result} 

If (ZipLength = 9, Left(ZipText,5) & 

& Right(ZipText,4), ZipText) 

Works fine. By the way, when I did a 
View Index on the ZipLength field I was 
quite surprised to discover more values 
than just 5, 9, and 10. ZipLength turned 
out to be a convenient way to highlight 
some bad ZIP entries and is thus a nice 
debugging tool. I now include it in many 
of my address files. 

Phone Fields (by Mike Harris) 

One of the problems with an easy-to- 
use program like FileMaker is that, while it 
may be easy for a beginner to customize a 
program, it can be very difficult to make 
the right decisions about the little details, 


details which will haunt a database for 
years and make the difference between a 
wonderful file and a pain. The classic ex¬ 
ample is a ZIP Code field - should it be a 
text or number field? Most people who 
haven’t spent a lot of time with address 
files are unaware that some ZIPs in the 
U.S. start with a zero. If ZIP is defined as a 
number field, FileMaker drops leading 
zeroes, screwing up the data. 

Here is how to avoid this type of prob¬ 
lem with phone fields. First, a phone field 
should be a Text field, not a Number field. 
The reason is straightforward enough: 
phone numbers often require some text, 
like “X” for “extension”, and you don’t 
want FileMaker to ignore all the non¬ 
number characters in your phone fields. 
Also, phone numbers use spaces and/or 
dashes in formatting and FileMaker han¬ 
dles those oddities much better as Text. 

Second, use a single repeating field to 
hold all phone numbers in a record, rather 
than creating a separate field for each 
phone type (like Home Phone, Work 
Phone, etc...). The biggest advantage of a 
single, repeating field to hold all phone 
numbers is that you can Find for a phone 
number, or piece of a phone number, in 
one field, rather than many. This saves a 
lot of time when your dog chews up a 
phone message and all you can salvage 
from the little wet pink spit ball is a few 
odd digits. A additional minor advantage 
is that you will probably save some file 
space. People these days can have many 
different phone numbers - home, work, 
FAX, beeper, modem, spouse work, car 
phone - but most people will not have all 
types. By creating a second repeating field, 
Phone Type (also text, same number of 
repeats as Phone), and using it in parallel 
with the Phone field (see Figure 1) you can 
store phone type without creating many 


The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing 





separate fields. You lose nothing, by the 
way, in your ability to Find all records 
with a phone number of a certain type. To 
Find all records with a FAX number, just 
do a Find and put FAX in the first line of 
Phone Type. It will find all records with a 
FAX number regardless of where in the 
repeating field the “FAX” entry occurs. 
Thus you need not enter phone numbers 
in any particular sequence. 

“OK,” you say, “but suppose I want to 
create a FAX cover letter for this address 
file with phone numbers. I want to put the 
FAX number of the recipient on the FAX 
cover sheet, but this FAX number is buried 
in some indeterminate line of a repeating 
field, and the fact that it is the FAX num¬ 
ber isn’t even in the same field as the num¬ 
ber itself. How in the world can I deal with 
this situation using your scheme?” 

As Miss Piggy would say, “Pas prob- 
leme, ma petite chou-fleur”. I would not 
leave you in the lurch. Create another re¬ 
peating field but this time make it a text 
calculation: 

FAX Phone Calc = {text result} 

lf(Phone Type = “FAX", Phone, 

Figure 2 shows how all three fields 
work together. FAX Phone Calc extracts 
on the FAX phone number(s). Place FAX 
Phone Calc on the FAX cover sheet layout 
and chose “Slide Objects” for the FAX 
Phone Calc field and the associated hori¬ 
zontal line. Figure 3 shows such a FAX 
Cover layout. Figure 4 shows the result as 
it will print out. 

I keep phone numbers in repeating 
fields like this and I find it more efficient. 


Figure 1 



Figure 2 


Harris 

Phone 

408438-2778 
408 221-6916 
408 761-5468 
408 761-3987 


Phone Type 

Home 

Car 

FAX 

Work 


FAXPhoneCalc 

408 761-5468 


Watertechnics FAX: 408 761-S468 

64D Penny Lane 

Watsonville, CA 95076 

408 761-3987 

AppleLink x2338 


FAX COVER SHEET 



Watertechnics FAX: 408 761-S468 

64D Penny Lane 

Watsonville, CA 95076 

408 761-3987 

AppleLink x2338 

FAX COVER SHEET 

To Michael Harris _ 

Company Watertechnics _ 

City Watsonville _ 


Fax No. 408 761-5468 

Figure 4 


The FileMaker Report ©1991 Elk Horn Publishing Issue 41 • Page 15 

























The FileMaker Report 

A Journal for FileMaker™ Users 

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Designed by: Kathy Tomyris and Joe Kroeger 

The Library of Congress ISSN number for The FileMaker 
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About Subscriptions 

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About FileMaker 

The latest version of FileMaker is FileMaker Pro 1.0 v 2 
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About Claris 

Claris Corporation is the publisher of the FileMaker II 
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name are registered trademarks of Claris Corporation. 
The main address for Claris (see below for mail stops) is: 
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M/S X-YY 
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Santa Clara, CA 95052 

Customer Relations is M/S C-ll. Technical Support is 
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Support hours are 6:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through 
Thursday and 6:00 am to 2:00 pm on Friday, Pacific 
Time. The Claris recorded help line is 800-735-7393. The 
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