It's important to understand how Finds in FileMaker work when you specify criteria in related records such as your portal. You are telling FileMaker to find all records in the layout's table that have at least one related record that matches your criteria. Once the find is performed, you are returned to browse mode and all related records referenced on the layout are displayed as they always are. That means that related records that match your find criteria and related records that do not match your criteria will both be displayed.
You have two alternatives if you want to limit the portal records to only those that match your criteria:
1) manipulate the portal to "filter" out non matching records. This is easier to do in FileMaker 11, but can be done in older versions as well.
2) Use a layout based on the portal table, with fields from parent table included in header, footer, or sub summary parts. A search performed here will exclude records that don't match your criteria as you are no longer entering the criteria into fields of a related record.
Thanks so much for your quick response.
For option 2, how do i search a specific date i.e. '2010' for a merge field?
Don't use a merge field if you want the user to specify criteria in it directly. Merge fields are specifically designed to prevent users from entering and editing their contents.
If you really need that merge field (Please explain why you need it--there may be alternatives), you can add a text field with global storage to your layout and use a script to search the records. The script can enter find mode and then use a Set field step to use the data in the global field to set up the find criteria before going aheand and finding the records.
Ah, ok. Got it. Now its working. For some reason i thought i needed a merge field there to create the list report i was looking for.