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.