I am transitioning from Acess and have some questions to ask.
I recommend that you purchase the Filemaker Training Series (FTS) and start reading. If you have a background in Access you simply need to be able to translate your experience and skills into FMPro syntax and methods. The FTS is perfect for you, you'll be up to speed in no time.
You need to look at Value Lists (File -> Manage -> Value Lists). You simply want to generate a value list from a fields contents.
all the best
Simple example attached.
Their is a way to make a list that is layout independent.
If you look into the list properties you will also see options that will not denormalize your data (link by key fields instead of data fields).
list example.zip 6.4 K
One of the biggest weaknesses in developing Filemaker compared to Access is the lack of "subforms". There simply isn't the equivalent in FM. A portal shows multiple records from another table, but you can't reuse the same layout on another layout.
To auto-populate, you'll probably want to modify the field definitions (though you could use script triggers).