How to Speed Up Your FileMaker 7 and FileMaker 8 Databases

Indexing Dialog

For all practical purposes, FileMaker 7 took away the limits for how complex and large a FileMaker database can be. What it didn’t do is massively increase performance so that FileMaker 7 or 8 will always run at a acceptable speeds when processing and working with very large amounts of data.

Since you can now create big databases that run slower than you like, FileMaker Inc. wants you to know ways you can improve performance when you are using big files.

At Devcon 2005, FileMaker Inc. guru, Andy LeCates took some of his limited presentation time to advise us to turn off unnecessary indexing. Indexing a field means that every time something is done to modify the data in that field – such as entering, editing, replacing or importing – extra time will be taken to update that field’s index.

By default, fields are set to Automatically create indexes as needed. And the easiest way to create your databases is to just leave that setting that way. Quick and dirty development that focuses on getting working versions up and running as soon as possible to get early user feedback, should leave this setting alone.

However, once you are in the polishing stages of development, if you have a reason to optimize performance, indexing is one useful place to look. You can go through any table and look to see which fields have indexing turned on. And turn some of those indexes off by clicking None and unchecking Automatically create indexes as needed.

If you look at the field definitions list, you may see a group of similar fields such as 8 rates fields and only one of them is indexed. You can probably safely assume that indexing rates is a rare need and just turn off indexing for the rate that had indexing turned on (automatically). It is better to avoid the performance hit of indexing than to make this rarely done find faster.

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5 thoughts on “How to Speed Up Your FileMaker 7 and FileMaker 8 Databases

  1. michael

    Janet-
    Have you noticed that your new blog format goes all wonky when trying to view it in NetNewsWire in a browser view?

    Reply
  2. Janet Tokerud

    Hey, Michael and everyone else. I couldn’t find an old NetNewsWire subscription for this blog but I created a new one it looks absolutely fine. Michael, could your try resubscribing and see if that resolves the problem you are experiencing?

    Reply
  3. Nicolas Favieri

    Janet
    I use filemaker 7 pro since 2004. I’ve build a database that reached 3GB, it contains 370,000 records that have 1 container each linked to an image and two large text fields with keywords. The last two weeks the file gets damaged every time i make a process.
    I dont want to waste your time, but if you got a minute and know why this could be, i’ll apreciate your help.
    Thanks in Advance
    Nicolas

    Reply
  4. Secret Weapon Labs

    For users of FileMaker 7 Server

    The Unofficial Apple Weblog over at tuaw.com has an interesting post on a possible quirk of using FileMaker Server 7 and the ability to backup to a mounted network or external hard drive. The issue may actually be limited to the blog poster, but the …

    Reply

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