Much of that I can't answer without a more detailed understanding of what your want to do with your database.
customer files ...quotes, survey, invoice, aftersales
sound like a possible list of tables for your database linked in relationships. You might have more than one quote record for a customer, and more than one invoice for a customer. "Survey" and "aftersales" also sound like additional tables or even groups of related tables, but it all depends on what these represent and what data you might need to record for each.
for the address/contact info do I have to do this on every tab or do I do it as a portal?
By "tab" do you actually mean "layout"? Or do you really mean the tabs of a tab control placed on a single layout? In either case, what exactly do you mean by "do this"? Address fields would probably be fields defined in the customer table unless they were entered into their own additional table. How you relate the table with the address fields to other tables in your database and how you choose to design your layout will have much to do with what you do with such fields. You should only need to enter a customer's address a single time, but there are many different ways to display that address on a FileMaker layout.
Hello Thank you for coming back to me. I need to set up a system so that when customers come in we can keep any quotations for them then invoices, survey details, photos and any aftersales notes on a file for them. I'm not sure I need a database for each different section so I was creating a database for 'customers' then within the layout having a 'tab' for each of the other sections. If we were to print just the section 'survey details' for instance I would need their address/tel no details to appear on the page therefore do I add this to the 'tab page also'? I am trying to get my head around portals also. There are a few fields that would repeat on the other 'tab' pages but I am unclear as to whether I just add these as 'fields' (I can see that the information appears in these) or should these be entered onto the 'tab' pages as a portal? I am getting to grips with adding fields, buttons, formatting etc it is more the basic structure I'm struggling with.
I am describing a single database, but you need tables linked in relationships. FileMaker is a relational database system. It's designed to function with multiple tables linked in relationships. You'll want those tables and relationships so that you do not need to enter customer info--such as an address more than once even though you may provide them with many different quotes, invoices, etc.
To start, you need a table of customers and a table of quotes. You may need a table of invoices or the same table might be set up to hold both quotes and invoices. If the data for an invoice and the data for a quote is nearly or exactly the same, you can probably use just one table for each with a field that identifies which are invoices and which quotes. Your invoices and quotes may need to specify a varying list of items to be purchased or quoted on that invoice or quote. That will also require at least one more related table, probably two.
Just that part of your database would look like this:
Customers::__pkCustomerID = QuotesInvoices::_fkCustomerID
QuotesInvoices::__pkQInvID = LineItems::_fkQInvID
ProductsServicesLabor::__pkPSLID = LineItems::_fkPSLID
For a given customer, you might create one record in customers, but 2 quotes and 1 invoice with both the quotes and invoices listing different combinations of items matching to specific products, services and or labor charges that make up that quote or invoice.
with such tables and relationships, you could set up a layout based on customers with a tab control where the first tab panel lists customer info, the second could contain a portal that is filtered to list all Quotes, a third could have a portal listing all Invoices. Buttons placed inside the rows of these two portals could take the user to layouts where you see the quote or invoice with a portal listing all specified line items.
That is just one possible layout design. Many other possibilities exist.
Thank you so much - I think I am starting to get my head around all this now. I thought I had to set up a 'database' for each of these but am now realising that it is one database with many 'tables' that I then create a relationship with! I think I can do this now. I'm just now quite sure how to set up the quotes to show on the 'quotes tab' page. I understand how to set it up as a portal but how do I show many quotes (some customers have quite a few!!).
I really appreciate your help!! If only they had a phone number - it would make it all so much quicker and easier!
A portal shows all related records, or all related records that pass an additional filter if you specify a portal filter. If you select the option for a portal scroll bar, it will list all related records no matter how many quotes have been created for a given client. Whether you can "fit" all the details you want to see on that quote into the row of the portal is another question. You will probably need to put just a few details such as date and a total in the portal row and add a button that opens up a different layout designed to show all the details of the quote.
Thank you - will go and see if I can make it work!