Linking two tables by a name field can be problematic. Imagine what you have to do if a school changes it's name, for example. Using auto-entered ID's for the primary key avoids those issues. And it is possible to set up an auto-complete enabled drop down list with school names and still link records by ID. See this demo for an example:
FileMaker 12 users: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/78737945/SimpleNameLookupDemo.fmp12
Pre FileMaker 12 Users: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/78737945/SimpleNameLookupDemo.fp7
And a calculation field can be set up that omits specified words such as "The" from the beginning of the school name and such a field could be used as the value source for the drop down list demo'd in the above demo file.
You may also find the search portals used in this demo file of interest: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0pm1gdqcfi2ndpv/EnhancedValueSelection.fp7
If you are using FileMaker 12, Use Open from the File menu to open this file and get a copy converted to the .fmp12 file format.
I obtained a list of standardized school names along with unique IDs from the Dept of Education. So now I have a unique identifier to work with.Now I have a bunch of Contacts::Company Name entries that would roughly correspond to the new standardized list of schools.My goal is to get the Contacts::Company Name to match up to Schools::School Name via the newly acquired unique ID.I could export the Contacts::Company Name back to excel and do something like VLOOKUP to do a partial match, but I wonder if there's a more efficient way of going about matching and reconciling the two lists within FileMaker.
I obtained a list of standardized school names along with unique IDs from the Dept of Education. So now I have a unique identifier to work with.That is still not the optimum value to use as a primary key. Any data imported from an outsides source might be changed on you in the future. By all means import such data into your database as it can be useful for searches and sorts, but use an internally generated ID such as a serial number field or get ( UUID ) to uniquely identify each record.