After converting my 5.5 files to version 10, I did exactly that. I performed text searches of each field's name on a series of database design reports generated with FileMaker Advanced. If the only instance of a field that I could find was in the field definition entry in the report, I could safely delete the field. I often renamed a suspect field to be something espcially unique such as add ZZZ to the start of the field name before generating the report to make this process simpler. It still was a tedious job, though I was able to strip over 100 field definitions out of my system by the time I finished.
I also was careful to keep multiple interim back up copies so that I could return to a previous version if I found that I had deleted a field by mistake.
Could you outline the steps you took more specifically?
"I performed text searches of each field's name on a series of database design reports generated with FileMaker Advanced."
I don't know if I really understand this process you mentioned above.
Thanks for responding and I hope I can finally figure out how to streamline my database! Good advice about keeping mutliple backup copies.
Say your field has this field name: Name
First, I enter Manage | Database | Fields and change the field name to something more unique: ZZZName.
Then I use FileMaker advanced to create a Database Design Report.
I open the report and use my Browser to search for ZZZName.
If the ZZZName is only found in the table of field definitions created in this report, it is safe to delete. If I find it referred to in other field definitions, scripts, layouts, value lists or such, I then have to either return the field to its original field name and keep it or I have to analyze these additional references to determine whether or not I should keep the field.
What Phil says is important. Before deleting a field definition, you need to determine if it's being used AT ALL, and not just on a Layout. Fields can perform important tasks and never be on a layout. A prime example (of course) is a serial PK which shouldn't be on any layout.