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If you drag your Excel spreadsheet to FileMaker, it will create the same table in FileMaker as f1, f2, f3. You can preserve the field names by 1) importing from Excel directly to your FileMaker file and mapping which field maps to which or 2) create a new table in FileMaker by importing and selecting at the bottom of the Target pop-up, New Table (whatever). It will create a new table, import the records, and name the fields the same name as the Excel spreadsheet instead of f1, f2. It's a cool feature.
One key factor I didn't see mentioned is that you must click the [x] Don't import first record (contains field names), at the lower left of the Import dialog.