People Goal 1 - Part 3: Choose your data types

Document created by mark_baum on Mar 5, 2015Last modified by communitymanager on May 12, 2015
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Now that you’ve identified the data points you need, it’s time to choose the data type for each one.

Go through both of your lists and for each data point, decide what data type it should be based on the descriptions below. Don’t worry if most (or all) of the time you choose "text". Just give it some thought.


Here are brief descriptions of the six basic data types in FileMaker:


  • Text - stores letters, numbers, symbols, and line breaks. This is the most flexible data type. Each field can contain up to 2Gb of data per record.

  • Number - stores numeric values, including decimals. Each field can contain up to 800 digits per record.


  • Date - stores dates (Gregorian calendar) with a range from the year 1 C.E. to the year 4000. The month, day, and year order is based on your system’s settings at the time you created the file.

  • Time - stores times in hours, minutes, and seconds. By default, times are displayed as hh:mm:ss.


  • Timestamp - stores a combination of date and time to reference a specific moment. For example: 1/1/2003 2:39:46 AM.

  • Container - stores a picture, file (such as a Microsoft Word or Excel file), PDF, multimedia file, or OLE object (Windows).  Each field can contain up to 4GB of data per record, though in practice this could make your database file unmanageably large.

For more detailed information on all field types, click here.



Compare with the example scenario lists


Finally, compare your lists with the ones from the example scenario to see if you might have left anything out. The scenario required two lists: Contacts and Activities.

The data points in the Contacts list are pretty straightforward — they document who the contact is and how to reach them.


The data points in the Activities list document the salesperson’s communication with each contact, based on the goal of scheduling followup communication and showing a history of past communication. Two more data types were needed in this case: date and time.

Main List: Contacts


First NameText
Last NameText
Job TitleText
Work PhoneText
Work FaxText
Mobile PhoneText
Home PhoneText
Work EmailText
Personal EmailText
Work Address 1Text
Work Address 2Text
Work CityText
Work CountryText
Work StateText
Work Postal CodeText


Secondary List: Activities

Activity DateDate
Activity TimeTime
Activity TypeText
Activity StatusText
Activity NotesText