There are two choices when highlighting an existing field and editing the field name
Save will create a new field wih that name
Change will save the changed field name.
OK, but do you know how to retrieve the data that was in the "old" field?
Changing a field name in define fields will not alter the data stored in it nor the value returned if it is a calculation under normal circumstances. Something else must be happening here, but there is no way to tell without knowing more about your database.
It's also very important to make numerous frequent back ups of your file--especially when you are making design changes. Do you have a back up copy?
Yes, fortunately it was on a server which is backed up every night. So I'm just going to get yesterday's version back. The database is just a bunch of text fields and a few number fields, with names like
The confirmation # field is not linked to other fields (the "total cost" is unit price x quantity + shipping, but confirmation # is not linked like those fields are).
That really is all that I did...
One thing is that the original responder said there was a "Change" option as opposed to a "Save" option, but I don't see that- only the "Save" option. Upon selecting "Define Fields" and changing the o to an i there are available buttons for
but no "Change" or even "Cancel"
I can live with the mis-spelling, it just seems as though this should be an easier thing to fix.
To repeat. Simply changing a field's name will not alter data stored in it in any way. I suggest taking a copy of the file down off the server and trying to recreate what you did--paying close attention to each step.
Being able to rename fields without it affecting database function has long been a key advantage over many other database systems. (Try changing the name of a field in access and all kinds of things may "break" on you!) But even in other database systems, changing a field's name does not cause the field in question to lose its data unless some other action is also involved.
"...the original responder said there was a "Change" option as opposed to a "Save" option, but I don't see that- only the "Save" option"
Your version of filemaker does not have a "change" button--only the save button. Later versions of filemaker added that button and eliminated the "save" option--you have OK and Cancel buttons instead.
FMP6 has "Create" and "Save" options as opposed to "Create" and "Change" when working in the Define Fields dialog.
Phil is correct when he states:
"Changing a field name in define fields will not alter the data stored in it nor the value returned if it is a calculation under normal circumstances."
In some cases changing the field type will destroy the data stored in the field, but this will not happen without warning.
I just did some tests to see how FMP6 resolves field name changes, since it restricts you to one table per file. When you open the Define Fields dialog, FMP6 will automatically open all related files in a minimized state in the lower left portion of your screen. When you change a field name, Filemake resolves all changes throughout the related files.
This prevents things from getting "broken", as Phil had mentioned.
OK, I appreciate all of the information about what the program should do and should not have done, but how do I get the data from that field BACK? Does anyone know? I really truly honestly did not do anything but change the name and I did not get a warning that the information would disappear.
Haven't you already answered that question for yourself? You indicated you have a backup file. That file is your best, safest way to get this data back. You can import the data from this back up or simply replace your current copy with the back up--you'll have to be the judge of which approach is best as it depends on what's been done with your data since you lost the field.
I have suggested you make a copy of this back up, open it on your desktop and try making the change again to see what happens.
Have you tried this?
I asked the IT guy to find "yesterday's" version of the file, but that file had the field empty as well. So I'm not sure if he wasn't able to get an "old" version of the file, or if changing the name on one file somehow affected others?
Most IT departments make sequential backups that go back more than one day. I'd ask and see if they can find an older backup. If they only back up one day, they are leaving your data at serious risk. (In many systems--not just filemaker--a problem may not be discovered right away and may linger hidden in the file for quite some time.)
Here at my "shop" we keep nightly rotating backups of 3-4 weeks worth of data and archive one such back up file set a month for further insurance.
If you can't get an old enough back up, then you are truly stuck here.
There's not much else we can tell you. What you describe appears to be impossible, therefore we've suggested that something else was also involved in the disappearence of this data. Since we don't know what that "something else" is, we have no way to advise you short of getting a back up that predates the loss.