4 Replies Latest reply on Feb 24, 2009 11:05 AM by ninja

    Make FileMaker look like Excel?

    Ayla

      Title

      Make FileMaker look like Excel?

      Post

      Hi

       

      I'm trying to sell the idea of using FileMaker Pro 10 instead of Excel, for an order database, to a user in our company.

       

      She likes the idea, but there are some things she is missing from Excel:

       

      1. Different height on rows. Some rows has 2 lines of text in them and you can't see both lines, without first clicking on the cell / field.

       

      2. She is using a split view, left / right, showing the same database. She would like be able to scroll down/up in both views at once, just like in Excel. Meaning, when you scroll down in the left view, the right view follows.

       

      3. Notes. In Excel she has small notes coupled with some of the cells. Like reminders and such.

       

      4. When doing a search, she would like a drop-down box with options. For example, she want to search for a supplier and instead of remembering the name, all the suppliers appears in a drop-down box.

       

      5. When changing the color of the text in a cell, the color should be visible all the time, also when the cell isn't clicked. So you have a quick overview of which cells are red for example.

       

      Are these things possible in FileMaker Pro 10 and how?

       

      PS. She is a long time (many years) Excel user, but the order document has now grown so big that it's not feasible to work with in Excel. 

       

      Thanks

      Martin 

        • 1. Re: Make FileMaker look like Excel?
          hiatts
            

          you can do some... but in the end fmp is not excel... the trade off to move to fmp should outweigh these issues... 

           

          fmp can do some things far better than excel and if designed well she may end up preferring an fmp solution... personally, i wouldnt waste my time, sell it to management 

          • 2. Re: Make FileMaker look like Excel?
            Ayla
              

            Thanks for the reply.

             

            Management want's the user to be happy, so I hope I can at least fix some of the issues, I listed above.

             

            Anybody who has some solutions?

             

            Thanks :) 

            • 3. Re: Make FileMaker look like Excel?
              pmconaway
                

              Alya, Some what you are asking about are easy things done in FMP. For instance, a drop-down box that has it's list built from list of suppliers is easy to do. Some of the other option might take a little FMP programming work. One item that comes to mind is that #3, a notes and reminders feature, there are many ways to do this. You could create a related database table that shows any notes or reminders for that client, this field could show up on the main view if you want.  Some of your questions are just a matter of configuring the FMP layout so that it appears how you want it. #5, the changing color feature, I think FMP 10 allows you to color code fields based on values that would be a way to implement this feature.

               

              Please keep in mind that FMP is not Excel, and while you can create some if not all of the Excel functionality your user will have to accept some changes. In the long run, I feel that FMP will be a much better option that using the Excel spreadsheet. If you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask.  

              • 4. Re: Make FileMaker look like Excel?
                ninja
                  

                Howdy Ayla,

                Thanks for the post.  Change can be difficult for people...more difficult for some than others...I feel your pain.

                 

                Bullet by bullet... 

                1. Different height on rows. Some rows has 2 lines of text in them and you can't see both lines, without first clicking on the cell / field.

                You can't have the "autofit" function like XL, where the # of rows grows as text is added.  What you CAN do is make all the fields big enough for the largest size they'll need to be.  You'll guess wrong on some fields...warn her about it...and you'll have to readjust those as needed (or as exceeded)

                 

                2. She is using a split view, left / right, showing the same database. She would like be able to scroll down/up in both views at once, just like in Excel. Meaning, when you scroll down in the left view, the right view follows.

                Nope, you cant have this one.  If it's worthwhile, you can build a single layout that LOOKS like a split layout, but your single layout will only be able to show one record at a time.

                 

                3. Notes. In Excel she has small notes coupled with some of the cells. Like reminders and such.

                You can do this as suggested above, with a Notes Table.  Then you can have a small button (like the XL corner color marker) that actually performs a GoToLayout function which takes you to a layout in which the note is shown for that field only.  If you do it this way, understand beforehand that you may end up with a boatload of layouts...decide if it's worth it or not.  I use this for our customer ordering Dbase for notes on shipping or payment terms or the like.

                 

                4. When doing a search, she would like a drop-down box with options. For example, she want to search for a supplier and instead of remembering the name, all the suppliers appears in a drop-down box.

                If your suppliers all have their own records in a linked Supplier Table, this should be straightforward with a value list based on the supplier field.

                 

                5. When changing the color of the text in a cell, the color should be visible all the time, also when the cell isn't clicked. So you have a quick overview of which cells are red for example.

                ln FMP10, you have conditional formatting which can make coloring automatic.  you'll have to sit with her and work out what colors she uses for what things.  Chances are you'll both have to give a little.  If she wants to color them herself, make the field background light grey so that Black, White and all colors in between can be seen at all times.  (Text format-->Color).  Also make sure that her privileges allow her to color the fonts.

                 

                Oh the joys of change...did someone write a song about that?  No that was the winds of...