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Using FileMaker Pro

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Working in FileMaker Pro

The following sections walk you through working in some typical FileMaker Pro situations and address many of the common tasks you must be able to perform.

  • ccc.jpg For more information on using other tools to access the data, see the chapters in Part IV, “Data Integration and Publishing,” which begins on p. 519.

Opening a Database

The first step in working with FileMaker Pro, obviously, is opening a database. FileMaker Pro databases can live in various places. They can sit on your own computer, just as any other document might; they can be hosted by another computer; or they can be served by FileMaker Server. On any of those computers, they can be housed on shared volumes or external devices (although there are constraints for the FileMaker Server database locations).

Local Files

Opening a local file is a simple matter of double-clicking its icon in either your Windows environment or the OS X Finder. You can also use FileMaker Pro’s File, Open command or the Quick Start screen, as described previously.

You can use the Open command to navigate to any database file to which you have access—whether it is on your own computer, somewhere else on your network, or on the Internet—if you can get to it from the Open File dialogs shown in Figure 2.15.

Figure 2.15

Figure 2.15. Use the Open command to open a FileMaker Pro database.

Note that in addition to the Open button, there is also a Remote button; it is discussed in the next section.

Remote Files

Working with remote files requires connecting to a server. That server could be a database hosted on FileMaker Server (the software that allows you to host a FileMaker database for use across a LAN or WAN by up to 250 users) or a FileMaker database file that is set to multiuser and running in FileMaker Pro on another person’s workstation. After you connect to a remote database, everything works just as it would with a local connection (although over a busy network, there might be a slight lag in response). The only distinction that you will note is that the title of the window shows not only the name of the database but also—in parentheses—the name of the server on which it is hosted. Compare the title of the window shown in Figure 2.16 remotely with the same database shown in Figure 2.7.

Figure 2.16

Figure 2.16. A FileMaker Pro database opened remotely shows the name of the host in its title.

  • ccc.jpg For more information on FileMaker Server, see Chapter 27, “FileMaker Server and Server Advanced.”

To open a remote database, click the Remote button in the Open File dialog, or choose Open Remote from the File menu. As you can see in Figure 2.17, you can choose from those hosts available to you locally (those on your network, within your domain in corporate environments, or accessible on the Internet), or you can navigate to a particular server via a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) server. You can also view servers and databases that you have previously marked as favorites. Finally, you can type in the address of a file in the box at the bottom. Make certain in this case to use the prefix fmnet.

When you choose Local Hosts, you will first see a list of all the FileMaker servers running on your local network. It might take some time for FileMaker Pro to locate all these servers, so be patient. After you click a hostname (either a local host, an LDAP host, or a Favorites host), FileMaker Pro interrogates that host for the list of databases to display in the list at the right of the dialog. This, too, might take some time. As you navigate through hosts and to an individual database, the fmnet address at the bottom of the dialog fills in automatically.

If you add a database or a FileMaker host to the favorites, it shows up not only in the Favorites of this dialog, but also in the Favorites for the Quick Start screen (shown previously in Figure 2.4). When you select a host or database, you can click Add to Favorites to open the dialog shown in Figure 2.18. It is a good idea to rely on favorites—particularly for remote databases where the network file path might be a lengthy string of numbers and/or words that are easier to select from a Favorites list than to retype.

Figure 2.18

Figure 2.18. Use Favorites to organize your databases and hosts.

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