FileMaker Facts FileMaker GO FileMaker Resources

FileMaker Go Must Have Documentation + Free Toolkit

Ipadshowingfmgo_180w If you are using or creating a FileMaker database and want to provide a satisfying experience via FileMaker Go, you will need the best information available about how FileMaker Go differs from FileMaker Pro.

You will need advice about changes you can make to your current FileMaker database to make it data-safe and touch-friendly to iPhone and iPad users.

Make sure you've got these three resources, handy:

FileMaker Go Development Guide, FMI

FileMaker Go Tech Brief, Scott Love, Soliant

FileMaker Go Training Tool, Richard Carlton Consulting

There is some overlap between the three, but beggars can't be choosers at this preliminary phase of the FileMaker Go learning curve.


Soliant's free FileMaker Go Toolkit is a must have compliment to Scott's above listed Tech Brief. The brief takes its examples from the Toolkit. This iPhone screenshot is an iPhone layout in the toolkit. You get lots of great graphic parts too. You can peruse some scripts. This free toolkit will help you build your first FileMaker Go layouts and look good while doing it!

There are other blog posts and resources out there. These are the top four. As I discover other essential resources, I will post them on FileMaker Fever.

Updated: November 24

FileMaker 11

FileMaker 11: Discoveries


Recommended Resources on the Web:

Mighty Data is doing 11 Filemaker 11 video tutorials in 11 days. The first one is on charting and is a little over 7 minutes long. The second one is on the Inspector. Highly recommended.

Matt Petrowsky has a 10 minute video on FileMaker 11 New Features for the FileMaker Developer.

Secret Weapons Lab has a 2-part in depth review of FileMaker 11 from a developer's perspective.

BillonFileMaker by Bill Doerrfeld has more good FM11 commentary from a developer perspective.

More of My Tips and Comments on FileMaker 11:

As I begin using and testing FileMaker Pro 11, I'm finding little tidbits worth sharing. Here are some of the highlights:

Quick Find is a big win. You don't have to use the Find command so much anymore. Users will quickly learn to try Quick Find before bothering with the Find command. It works in Browse mode which is the normal operating mode in FileMaker. It is really fast unless searching on unindexed fields or related fields where it might slow down a bit or a lot depending on the circumstances (how many records etc.).

Tip: Enable Quick Find Selectively in any existing database. When opened in FileMaker 11, every layout is enabled for Quick Find. So…, if there are places Quick Find makes no sense, you should turn it off in Layout Setup. Also, all fields, including merge fields, on your layouts start their lives as enabled for Quick Find. In Layout Mode, you'll see teeny, tiny yellow magnifying glasses in the lower right corner of some fields. Those are the unindexed and related fields like those in portals that may slow down your Quick Finds. I would turn all those off unless you can think of a reason not to. Then, as time goes by, you can always turn one or two back on if and when the need becomes apparent.

Charting is Awesome. Charts have a way of capturing our attention that numbers don't. It is as easy to do charting in FileMaker as it is in Excel so this doesn't require rocket science or expensive rocket scientists (like yours truly) to start using. I've learned how to use Charting so far from FileMaker 11's online help examples – 4 of them to show different ways to use it. Then, I learned more by watching MightyData's free 7 minute Charting tutorial. Get the tutorial and free demo file here. There are twenty gorgeous color schemes to choose from with the option to specify your own colors if you like. You can hover over a bar or pie slice to see the exact numbers reflected.

Portal Filtering. The Portal Set-up dialog box has a new checkbox called Filter Portal Records. Let's say you have a portal in your clients entry screen that shows invoices for that client, but you would also like to see just the unpaid invoices and just use the full history of all invoices for reference as needed. What I would do is make my portal just a bit smaller and then create a tab control with 2 tabs. The first tab would be Unpaid Invoices and the second would be entitled Invoice History. I would cut the current portal and portal fields and paste them onto each of the 2 tabs. Then in my first Unpaid Invoices tab, I would double-click the portal to bring up portal setup and check the new Filter Portal checkbox. There I would enter Unpaid Balance > 0. And click OK to save it. That's it. A 5 minute project.

Limitations of the New Portal Filtering Checkbox. Apparently, the Go To Related Records command ignores the filter. So that means, to use my same example above, when you click the button to the left of an Unpaid Invoice, you'll go to that Invoice but the found set will most likely be all the invoices for this client, not the nicer subset of unpaid invoices. Up till now we've had to get into the relationships graph and create new calculated fields or use custom functions to get a portal to filter. Now portal filtering is not so arduous. In my product, I'll probably do it the old-fashioned way so my found set behavior is consistent. But sometimes this limitation won't be a problem and the quick and dirty way will serve just fine. It is always helpful to have a quick way to try out a new feature. If it is a as valuable as you think it is going to be, you can implement it the more robust way on the relationships graph when time permits.

Layout Object Badges. Now that layout objects can do all sorts of back flips, it is helpful to see which ones have special features. There are really nice new colored badge icons to show: Conditional Formatting, Quick Find, Script Triggers and Tooltips. For instance, the Quick Find magnifying glass icons mentioned above come in green or yellow depending on whether the find is going to be fast or slow.

More on Manage Layouts. I mentioned in Tuesday's post that you can create layout groups with the new much improved Manage Layouts window. Besides that, you can leave it open and return to browse mode. This is one more case where more than one tool can be kept available one click away. You can switch to different screens and use the layouts groups after you've checked out a few of those layouts with funny names.

You Don't need to use the little up-down widget to move items in Manage Scripts and Manage Layouts. Now you can drag anywhere on a script name or layout name and move it easily with excellent visual feedback as you do so.

The Text Engine has Changed (Again). In my Studio Manager product, a lot of the buttons are underlined text. All of these links looked cramped when opened in FileMaker 11. With a little experimentation, I found that if I increased the vertical height of those link-styled buttons by 1 pixel, the underscores would move down a bit and look better.

Layout Inspectors. Floating palettes are all rage on the Mac these days and FileMaker Layouts are now the beneficiaries of this trend. In FileMaker 11, you can open 1 Inspector. It has 3 tabs that cover just about any possible layout characteristic. And, you can apply those characteristics to multiple objects at once. Very handy. Even handier you can close the triangles on characteristic groups you don't use often to shorten the palette. Handier yet, you can open multiple Inspectors and show 1 tab on each if you like. This is a killer feature for FIleMaker 11 for the developer who spends more time than he or she might like on layout details and polishing.

Editing Scripts from the Button Setup Screen. This is definitely a developer feature. It is ideal for debugging and for fixing. Here's the deal. Before you would double-click a button that wasn't working right. Then you would click to see what the name of the script was that it was running and scroll up and down the list to see where in the scripts list the script was. Then you would open Manage Scripts, find the script, open it, check it out and fix it if necessary. Now, once you see the script that the button uses, you can edit the script directly from there.

I'll be posting again soon I hope the next batch of things I've found in the new FIleMaker 11.

FileMaker 11 FileMaker News

FileMaker 11 is Out Today and Looking Fabulous

I've got Filemaker Pro 11 Advanced running on my Macbook Air right now
. It came out this morning and ever since I've been working to understand its new features and begin to write about them. I saw a preview at the FileMaker Developer's Conference last summer, but there's nothing like the real thing, released and usable now!

Before you get too excited, you need Leopard 10.5.7 or higher to run FileMaker 11. And Snow Leopard is recommended.

Linear Chat and CNET says FileMaker 11 is Cocoa-based on Mac. I'm still researching this, but apparently the reason FileMaker 11 looks so good on my Snow Leopard Mac today is that is Cocoa-based.

Yay! FileMaker 11 has end-user charting and, of course, developer charting as well so canned charts that show important information can be set to pop-up with a click. The charts look really good and have a lot of functionality and tweakability without scripting or head-scratching.

Layout Groups will be appreciated by just about any firm using FileMaker to cleanup the layouts menu. Now you can put all those junky layouts that may never be used again in a Folder or two and get them out of the way. For my Studio Manager product with 250+ layouts, it sure will be a faster scroll once layouts are organized into folders. There's also layout search built-in, just start typing.

Learn More.'s FileMaker Pro 11 New Features page is a good place to start to see the new features and watch little videos to learn more. You might also find FileMaker's Features page helpful as a list of key things in each release of filemaker starting with what's new in FM11.

Keep an eye on FileMaker Fever for more details in this post and others to follow.

I've got a brief post on FileMaker 11 on my Studio Manager Story blog for Studio Manager customers. Don't miss it, if you are a customer.

FileMaker 10 Studio Manager

Studio Manager 10 Posts May Be of Interest

We are running a series of blog posts over at my product site: Studio Manager Story. As of December 15, we've got 7 posts on new features. We expect to release Studio Manager 10 on December 21st. In the meantime, we will be writing posts about the new features. We've got a calendar for job deadlines, find-as-you-type filtering and other tidbits that might give you ideas for your own applications. Half the battle is converting a vague wish into a clearly defined and aesthetically pleasing feature.

FileMaker 10 FileMaker Ideas Software Development Studio Manager

The Wisdom of Whitespace

Check out my two part series on whitespace and why you want it in software. It is posted on my Studio Manager Stories product blog. FileMaker is the tool that gives you leverage when it comes to whitespace. The Wisdom of Whitespace. The Wisdom of Whitespace, Part 2.

FileMaker 10 Script Triggers

Gold Mining with FileMaker Pro 10 Script Triggers


If you are using FileMaker, upgrade to FileMaker 10 if you haven't already. Now, what are all the things you've always thought you couldn't do and had to live with? Time to start removing obstacles and adding power to your database with Script Triggers.

Keep reading, there's a nice unlocked sample file at the end this story.

The genie is out of the bottle. Now you don't have to make your users do all the work to make things happen in your database. For example, if you need a script to assemble the perfect up-to-date value list, you can have it. If users have training issues and tend to enter the wrong data sometimes, you can trap those things on-the-fly and then train your users and clean up after them.

Maybe we are lucky that we didn't get Script Triggers earlier. FileMaker databases tend to be built with strong fundamentals. Developers haven't been enraptured making the database do fancy back flips – because it hasn't been possible till now. What's cool is that script triggers are so full-featured that there is a lot you can do with them without writing long scripts. Short scripts work wonders.

Here's where gold mining comes in. We just recently had the FileMaker Developer's Conference. Hundreds of FileMaker developers got religion at the conference and what we learned is that script triggers don't have to be difficult. They can be easy and make our lives and our users' lives easier.

Everyone is out there learning tricks and shortcuts that weren't possible till now. Gold mining is what you do to see what your fellow developers are telling and selling. There's more blogging than ever. Twitter has gotten an active group of FileMaker developers tweeting now. If you are lucky some of our top FileMaker developers will start selling us their tricks piecemeal.

Example files are being shared all over the net. My example is simple and easy. Maybe it will be the one that either fixes a problem you have with your database or gets you excited about learning more about Script Triggers. So here goes.

Timesheet Date Script Trigger. I have a Timesheet Entry Screen in my Studio Manager product. There is a timesheet for each person for each day. When you create a new timesheet, it fills in your employee number and today's date. Then it is up to you to enter line items for the work you've done entering job, billing category and time expended. It does the job well and quickly.

Except, every now and then a user will realize a little late that he wants the timesheet date to be yesterday not today. So he or she changes the date. Since every line item copies the timesheet date into itself automatically as it is created, if my user has entered 3 line items for 9/15 and then changes the timesheet date to 9/14, we've got an inconsistency that will show up in weirdness in time reports. I've used calculated field messages that show up on the line items to tell my user that he's screwed things up. But it is clunky. Script triggers give me a better and simple option.

Put a Script Trigger on the Timesheet Date field. Select the field. Choose Format/Set Script Triggers… (or Cmd-double-click the object). Check the OnObjectExit trigger and leave the Browse mode checkbox checked. Select a script that is near where you would like to put your new script for the Timesheet Date field.

Right now since I don't know how many of these script trigger scripts I'm going to have, I create a script folder called something like "TS Script Triggers". The TS is the Table abbreviation for Timesheets.

Here's my script. I'll explain it below. View it full size by clicking it.


What the script runs when my user exits the timesheet date field: Are there any line items? If so, does the timesheet date just exitted match the date in the first line item? No? Then throw up a dialog for the user and ask him how he wants to resolve the discrepancy. Default to changing the line item dates for him. Cancel changes the timesheet date back to the original value in case there was a data entry error. All done, no error messages to create and calculate –nothing.

Look at the script above. Yes, it does involve an extremely simple loop but I could have used a Replace command just as well. It is dead simple. I will never get confused trying to figure out this script.

Here's the unlocked sample file for your learning pleasure. There is a similar script trigger for Employee Number because you could have similar needs there.

Resources: I'll be adding to this list as quickly as I can. 

Using Script Triggers in FileMaker Pro FMI Tech Brief

Six Fried Rice blog. From FileMaker Pro 10 Missing Manual author, Geoff Coffey. Lots of good posts on Script Triggers among other things.

Dwayne Wright's Example Files blog.

Nightwing's 10 Demos for FileMaker Pro 10. Ray Cologon is author of the FileMaker Pro 10 Bible. The Active Highlight demo that highlights the current record in a list screen is a good place to start.


FileMaker Video on Object Script Triggers. John Mark Osborne behind the mike – 12 minutes.

FileMaker Video on Layout Script Triggers. John Mark Osborne - 10 minutes.

ArrayThe Philadelphia FileMaker User Group. Try Arbitrarily Navigating an Array of Fields in FMP 10 for some keyboard navigation.

FileMaker Tips

FileMaker Kernels

I’ve written a few brief blurbs in my twitter stream of late that I thought you should know about. I’ve provided a bit more detail here since I’ve got plenty of room. The 140 character limit on twitter forces brevity.

Feel free to follow me on twitter. I’m tokerud. My posts tend heavily towards personal technology. If you use an iPhone or iPod touch, you gotta use Tweetie. At $2.99, it is a great little app.

Here you go:

Download Twitter Data to FileMaker. At, It is a snap to download all your followers, people you follow and all the tweets in your twitter stream plus the last 1000 of your own tweets. Select *Everything* and then click the *Get ’em!* button.

FileMaker Developer Cards. Color laminated 8.5×11. Color highlights for which version of FM. $14.95. Available at cardsfm.comYou get two, two-sided cards. Way cool. Really well done!

FileMaker Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. August 13-16. I’m local – a ferry ride away in Tiburon so will be commuting. Hope to see you there.

Please, No More Fake tabs. I used native tabs in my FileMaker product 2 yrs ago because they look cool and are simple to use and change. With FM10 script triggers attached to tab controls, tabs can fulfill their rightful destiny.

Cramped Screens? Most definitely. The user interface of FileMaker 10 is now more friendly and flexible with a customizable status toolbar on top. But, entry screens built in previous versions of FileMaker, will seem cramped on the left without a status area there. Make your screens shorter and wider to compensate. FileMaker 10 is well worth the effort!

FileMaker 10

FileMaker 10 Subsummaries in Table View, Part 2

I've now added table view layouts to 5 tables in a development version of Studio Manager. The results are even better than expected. Using tables with multiple subsummaries with sort and find buttons delivers an incredible browsing experience.

In the example of my Contacts Table View, I have  subsummaries for industry and company. Sorting by Industry, Company with the button provided at the bottom of the screen yields this readable and still editable view of contacts.

Clicking the Industry column heading yields a subhead for each industry, but does not put in company headings. Clicking the Company column head shows Company headings with the employees in that company listed beneath it. The user chooses the sort and view that helps with the work at hand.

Excel vs. FileMaker 10 Table View. Move over Excel, Table View goes you one better in many situations. Excel's strength is ad hoc analysis with calculations involved. We know that lots of people use Excel as a list manager. It will even ask you if you want to make a list and switch into a lightweight database.


FileMaker is the king of the hill in the end-user database game. Excel database and standard Excel is no competition for the masters. The ease of putting buttons on the screen and making them do simple finds and sorts is unmatched. You get column resizing and reordering. You get adding columns from data in your database without going into Layout mode.

I've never experienced data browsing like this in my 25 years of building databases. One of my practices in building FileMaker systems is to have a list screen for every table in the database. I've used the List View for these so that I could label my columns the way I wanted. However, I may be replacing the list screens with my new Table Views because they are so much more dynamic and useful for quick analysis and reporting. [Part 1]

FileMaker 10 FileMaker Discoveries FileMaker Resources

VTC’s Video FileMaker Tutorials Are Great and whole bunch are Free

I heard about this but never got around to checking it out till today. Somehow or other I landed on John Mark Osborne's FileMaker Pro Beginner Tutorials page today. It lists about 40 free training segments of about 5 minutes each. Some of these are featured at the site.

No matter. The point is John Mark Osborne does a great job and a lot of this beginner tutorial applies whether you are a beginner or not. It features a top FileMaker  guru and master teacher talking about the new Features in FileMaker Pro 10.

That's not all. There are other topics like FileMaker Pro 10 Intermediate and another for Advanced. Again there are large numbers of free segments. The Intermediate and Advanced trainings are also taught by John Mark.

This is a try it and we think you will like it way of selling the VTC training. It's a gift. I don't know about you, but I'm watching these videos – the free ones at least. And, I'm telling my customers about them.

 John Mark starts teaching FileMaker Pro 10 certification this Spring, so he knows the latest in a very thorough way. Even advanced developers will benefit from listening and watching John Mark teach the beginner, intermediate and advanced tutorial. He talks about a lot of fundamentals and expresses his opinions on best practices such as field naming.

FileMaker 10

Subhead and Subtotal Bliss in Table View with FileMaker Pro 10

This feature is a great one to implement the minute you purchase FileMaker Pro 10. You can drastically beef up the value of table views by adding sub-summary parts – lots of them. This feature is so good that I plan to add about 20 table view layouts to my own Studio Manager product.

Here's what you usually get in Table view:

Tableview Unsorted

In this example, the table is sorted by Filename which doesn't have a sub-summary on the layout. I tried adding a sub-summary above for the Drive field, so when I sort by Drive by clicking the Drive column heading, I get this:

Tableview Sorted by Drive

I then added a sub-summary above for File Type and then a sub-summary below to allow me to show a record count. When I click the File Type column heading which causes a sort by File Type, I get this:

Tableview Sorted by File Type

The layout I created looks like this in Layout mode:

Tableview Layout

I like this a lot because all I had to do was create this layout which takes about 5 minutes max. And I have multiple views based on the column my user clicks. This is browsing your data! This empowers the user. If your data is such that you really need multiple sorts to occur, you  may need to add buttons for your sorts in the footer area.

Finally, the thing I like most is that I can do this with a single layout that is not complicated or hard to figure out. No tricks to remember or stacked fields or anything like that.

One more thing: the Modify Button. The user gets to add or remove fields to his or her view when he wants without going into Layout mode. Removing fields is especially great. You don't want a field? Just uncheck the checkbox:

Modify Table View dialog

Notice that you can add fields from here as well by clicking the plus button. If you do, you get this new Add Fields dialog:

Add Fields dialog

This is ease of use folks! [Continue to: Part 2]