You'll first need to figure out what hardware configuration you will use. If your scanner is connected via USB directly to a computer, almost all such scanners use "keyboard emulation" to send data to the computer. The data is input just as though someone typed the data scanned from the barcode. To add to that, most such scanners can be configured to append additional characters that are input before and after the scanned data.You can use such characters to trip script triggers in FileMaker in order to automate the scanning process.
If the above description matches what you have in mind, see this thread for some ideas on barcode scanning: Need help writing script to integrate barcode scanning
Thanks so much. I appreciate the basic information. The thread looks somewhat involved, but I'll spend some time studying it and give it a try once I get a scanner.
It's really simple...as long as your scanner is recognized by Filemaker - i.e.. it just needs to set the scanned value into whatever field is currently active.
1. set up a GLOBAL FIELD in any table to use as the New Scan input field.
2. Place that field on any Layout.
3. Make sure user's cursor is IN that field - default action when landing on Layout, and AFTER Scan script is run
4. Scan the nametag barcode - make sure the barcode is printed with the following character * BEFORE and AFTER actual serail #...so 123 becomes *123*. This simply tells the Scanner where to start and stop reading the serails # embedded in barcode.
5. Attach an onObjectModify Script Trigger to 'do stuff' when new # has been scanned/or_manually_entered into field, then clear that field, and return User to the field for more scanning. 'do stuff' = go find Participant in List and mark them as checked-in or wahtever. You can just stay in Particpant List View, with the gloabl Scan Field placed on header.
Hope that helps,
Thanks, David. This really looks good. Now all I have to do is get a scanner. Any suggestions on an inexpensive one that will do what I need?
It's been a while since I've bought one for use in FM, but IF you use a MAC, look for MAC-compatible ones (that's important) - which will limit your choices considerably. I do not recommend the finger-held scanners unless you are going to be doing a ton of scanning. Expect to pay around $120-$180 for basic USB-connected Scanner...Wireless Scanners are also out there now, but probably a bit more expensive - and will require batteries (which adds another failure point at convention). Cheers,
Note: One of the reasons the script examples in the thread use a more sophisticated method with the OnLayoutKeystroke trigger is that it enables you to set up a layout where all you have to do is start scanning barcodes. The trigger is tripped with each scan, the script detects the triggering "prefix" that tells it the data is from the scanner and not the keyboard and it puts the cursor into the correct field for you to receive the scanned data.
Phil and David--
Thanks a bunch to you both. You've really set me on the right path. Now I'll get a scanner and get to work. It may take me a while, but I'll try to get back to you and let you know how things are going.