Combining database files can be done, but with the starter solutions, it's not a trivial excersize. I don't recommend trying that unless you have a good understanding of how FileMaker relationship design and scripting works. It requires a lot of "under the hood" work to get layouts and scripts that refer to a contacts table in the Projects File to refer instead to the contact management table in the contacts file.
You may find it easier to open up the projects database and add the additional features/layouts/scripts for contact management that you want to it "from scratch".
Well adding to what Phil said above...
Database design is important and quite frankly critical, two models to consder.
1. Separeated Data Model
Allon you have described a separated data model design, this is where you compartamentalize the data into separate files, Contacts, Projects, Invoice etc... There is a time and place to use this design model, generally best to decide early on to avoid later heavy lifting in a rebuild. The Main reasons you would want to break your MOdules / Data in to separate files is as follows:
a. Some or all Tables or Cluster Groups (Groups of tables or table occurrences) will contain extremely large amounts of data / records. Personally I have my limit at north of 50,000 for this consideration with FileMaker. Other developers use 100,000 +. Has to do with load times, speed, stability, recoveries etc..
b. You want to have the ability to change out interfaces with minimal or now data migration between versions, same goes for the backend replacement of a data module.
2. Single File Development
Allon assuming your development is not going to be for a few hundread users, stick with a single database file for the solution. Thus what Phil posted at 7:13 AM you take the Projects database and add the Contact Management Table to the file, then the scripts and then the Layouts. Doing it in that order will minimize if not prevent broken links. If you are using FileMaker Developer the "COPY" funtion is very useful for the table. Also note you can copy an entire script in both versions of FileMaker and Paste them into another file.
Doing this will make your life easier and your solution easier to manage.
Thanks guys. this answers my question well. I am new to filemaker but have always liked and played with each version a little.
We run a graphic design/print firm and want to update our old (sql) database system and would love to move to filemaker.
I posted the query because combining the contacts starter and the projects starter (with a little further updating) will get us close to what we need. I thought it was strange how the starters (except for contacts) lacked a contacts element so I thought that maybe the practise was to combine or run simultainiously.
Will keep working through the tutorials and keep working on.