By "delete tables" do you mean "delete files"? Don't see why you would want to delete tables, but replacing your old files with the updated copies would be necessary after importing the new records into your central file or group of files.
You appear to lump together two different problems:
1) Windows systems require a few more pixels of space for the same text than does a mac system. That can affect the look of some layouts when they are designed on a Mac and then opened in Windows. Once you tweak the layouts to fix this on the windows machine, you can copy the files back to the Mac system and they should then work fine on both platforms
2) Synching your files. Whether you manually copy the files back across the network to your laptops or use software for this, you'll want to make sure that all files being copied are first closed before you copy them back to your laptops. If Filemaker is open, the copy can be corrupted.
Yes , I ment delete the files.
I think I understand What you are saying in regard to moving files between mac and windows. I will play with that a little to see if I can work that out.
In regard to syncing files; I have been deleting files on windows machine or field machines after exporting daily records and then when all files are updated on mac I would save copy as / name it exact same name / and my home network lets me put it right on laptop where I put my filemaker files. If I understand you correctly this is incorrect as filemaker files on mac would still be open. Operating the laptop I can access closed files in mac through network and drag and drop them into laptop where I keep filemaker files, would this be preferable?
Save a copy will be ok. I'm referring to dragging files across the network manually or allowing some kind of "file synch" utility to compare file modification dates and copy files over if they have a newer date. If you use either of those two options, make sure that the files being copied are not open at the time they are copied.
If I can permanently fix layout glitch between mac layout and windows layout so I don't have to adjust layouts on field machines so they don't cut off the p's, g's y's etc. that will save me time. It sounds like I can.
Am I correct in assuming that you think my current mode of operation is probably the best for what I'm trying to accomplish or do you see a better alternative.
Thanks for the advice.
The best method is not to need to "synch" in the first place. "Synching" is one of those major ugly tangles that are best avoided by hosting the file via one means or another if at all possible.
In your case, the approach you are describing sounds reasonable if you never modify existing data in the same record on more than one machine at a time. Adding new records can be farely straightforward though care must be taken so that any auto-entered serial number fields include a value unique to the local machine to avoid two records created on two machines from getting the same exact ID value.
Where it really, really gets ugly, is if it's possible that one user could pull up a record on the home office machine and change "John Smith" to John Schmidt" while another user corrects the city field from "San Jos" to "San Jose" and a third user notices yet another discrepancy and makes yet a another change to the same record. Merging all those changes back into the record so that the correct changes are kept and the incorrect ones are discarded requires human monitering and intervention each time your system detects a difference between two copies of the same record when both have modification dates that date later than the last "synch".
Sometimes is just easier to have duplicate layouts, one for the mac and the other for windows. Then you trap for the platform in you startup script, set it to a global field and set your scripts to go to the appropriate layout based on the platform.
A lot of electrons have been used over in the FM Go forum on the subject of syncing. There really isn't that much difference between syncing from a laptop and an iPad, so if you haven't already you might want to do a search over in that forum.
There is a commercial product by WorldSync that will keep track of changes and do the heavy lifting for you, but I have not personally used it, but those who have swear by it.