Filemaker Automation/Scripting
April 19, 2006 7:18 PM   Subscribe

I need some help with Filemaker. I think that there is more of my work that I can make it do.

At the place when I work as an office assistant, we use Filemaker Pro (7) to keep track of records. Often, I have to input the exact same information for about 30 people, which means lots of tedious mouse-keyboard movement (or at least tedious tab-enter movement). I can't help but feeling like there is an easier way to do this: can't I tell Filemaker something like, "mark 'glorp' in field 'X' for all blue widgets"? Isn't this what it is for?

Google searches for scripts and automation have been confusing: they lead to overwhelming repositories of information or services that do this same thing. Can anyone offer some good FAQs, how-tos, and getting started guides?

FWIW, this is running on Windows XP. I am pretty computer-savvy but have no programming experience. I know how to hash together something like this on OS X using Automator, but alas, we're not using Macs...
posted by rossination to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Oh, yes, you can easily write a script for stamping a specific bit of info. If you've played with the ScriptMaker at all, it shouldn't be difficult. You can create a new script that tells FM to go to a specified field in the record, insert the desired data/text, move to the next field, etc., then stop. It will also allow you to run it step by step in order to test and debug. You can then create a little button on your input page that runs the stamp script, if you like. Take a little tour of the current scripts (the scripts menu is right there at the top of your screen) to get an idea of how FileMaker likes to read things, or dig out the manual if you have it.

Here's a helpful page from FileMaker; don't miss the additional links at the bottom. See also.
posted by moira at 7:43 PM on April 19, 2006

I don't know about FAQ's and guides, but if, while viewing the form that you described above, you just click "View" and choose "Table" then you'll see all of your data in a tabular form. Then you can search in the "widgets" field for "blue" (click control-F, type "blue" in the widgets field, hit return). This will return all records with blue widgets. Then type "glorp" in field X for the top record. With that field still highlighted choose "Records", "Replace contents". This will fill down "glorp" to all of your found records (all of the blue ones).

This is really very simple even though my explanation sounds non-simple.

It's possible that whoever wrote the database has menu items locked which will make it impossible for you to select the things that I've mentioned above. This is just a simple rights issue - contact the person who wrote it and ask for the right to select all menus.
posted by crapples at 7:48 PM on April 19, 2006

Do the records already exist? If so, can you do a find and bring up all your blue widget records?

Go to the first record. Enter 'glorp' in field 'x'. then press ctrl-= (control equals). This brings up the replace dialog screen. You have three choices - replace with the data in the field, replace with a serial number, or replace with a calculated field. make your choice and click replace. 'glorp' will now appear in field 'x' for all found records.

This is a powerful command, so make sure you're only doing it on the desired found set. There is no undo.

Now, if this is a repatitive data entry - all new blue widget records shoudl have 'glorp' for 'x' - you can have the field auto-enter the data on creation. The other thing is to create a script that sets all required values in different fields for each record.

I'm not sure if you need something to always populate the same data (which would call for the auto enter feature), set data in a field for a lot of records (the replace feature) or populate fields based on conditions (a script). There are lots of options.
posted by jazon at 7:54 PM on April 19, 2006

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