5 Replies Latest reply on Jul 2, 2013 8:25 PM by Vaughan

    Really Dumb Question


      I work in a corporate organization that is hell-bent on excel spreadsheets. Needless to say, it drives me nuts. I use FMP to collect and view data in a way that makes sense but I'm too inexperienced to know if my approach is correct. Here's the question:


      Does it make sense to use FMP when I'm not creating data with FMP?


      My goal is to export the one relavant inventory database into an excel spreadsheet and import that spreadsheet into FMP. Ideally, I can view and distribute the data in a way that make sense to me and the other 90% of the company. Problem is, I'm horrible at generating layouts and am probalbly making everything way too complex. Any pointers in the right direction would be very appreciated.


      I know I'm leaving out a lot of information that would help pinpoint an answer but I'll provide specifics if it helps clarify the question.


      I appreciate your help.


        • 1. Re: Really Dumb Question

          Firstly, I beleive that there is no such thing as a "really dumb question", as I beleive all questions are a sign of intelligence, so it's never dumb.


          Now, as for what you're doing and what tools you're using... FileMaker is an excellent tool for manipulating data, especially Excel data and producing it into many formats for displaying more meaningful information. If you have an understanding of importing from Excel, then this is a great start.


          ... as for layouts, most layout design is pretty straight forward, so I'm sure you'll go far.

          A lot of this may depend on how are you delivering the data to others, if you are using filemaker to create nice reports, then pdf or print them... then I would say, the most important part of your database design may involve creating report layouts from within FileMaker Pro. The "wizard" that FileMaker provides for creating new layouts for reporting is a pretty good start, but it would probably benefit you if you are to learn a little about creating summary fields, using them in sub-summary parts on a layout etc... some books or on-line resources might help you there.


          if you are just using filemaker to then export the data out to Excel again, then I would say that most of what you need to do is creating fields, then learning the import/export options is what you'll need to focus on.


          Feel free to add any more info, then I could suggest some techniques that may help, good luck!

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Really Dumb Question

            I do find it easier to "browse" thru data sets, when they are in FileMaker


            and quickly do complex "finds", to narrow a search


            and import data into a second "related" table, to see which items are common ( or missing )





            > Does it make sense to use FMP when I'm not creating data with FMP?

            • 3. Re: Really Dumb Question



              It sounds as though you may need to bring data in from Excel and push it back out there frequently, all the while sharing it with others (who may be modifying it). If that's the case, tracking what's current may become a bigger issue. Meanwhile, a few FMP features you may want to examine further:


              * Recurring imports - automating import from same Excel file into FMP (http://help.filemaker.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7532/~/setting-up-recurring-imports-in-filemaker-pro)

              * Table view - can be manipulated much like Excel, as far as dragging to re-order columns and re-size them

              * Modifying table view in Browse mode - adding columns that are not on the layout, hiding columns that are, re-ordering columns (use the button at the right side of the screen)

              * Export options - File > Export Records.. requires that you specifiy fields and their order using a dialog, but File > Save/Send Records As > Excel just pushes out all the fields in their current order (GREAT from Table view)




              Debi Rubel
              FullCity Consulting

              • 4. Re: Really Dumb Question

                Great pointers Peter.  Understanding summary and subsummary parts are key to breaking down relavant data, now for the tricky part of actually applying them in a layout...


                Here's a more specific question to what I'm trying to do:


                I need to take this data (sensitive data removed):

                PC Laptop ComputerComputersComputers36540743AAAA###Dell Laptop Core 2 Duo / 2.26 Ghz19-Aug-0915-Jun-13IN####.##0



                06280717.5836227912065571746WHITE TAPE

                LAPTOPLaptopDELLLATITUDE E64000



                and turn it into something like this:

                Product Catalog Sample.png

                (image pulled from a google image search)


                I need to do this for all of the different categories pertaining to my Video Department.  Screens, Projectors, Cameras, Video Switchers, etc.


                A template would help but I think I'm trying to swallow this whole and it tends to get a bit overwhelming.  Perhaps I'm approaching this all wrong?


                Thanks for looking!


                • 5. Re: Really Dumb Question

                  Hint: in FileMaker, this is bacsically a mailing label layout. Just need to make sure that the item descriptions fit within the space allowed.