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Baffling Windows font problem on Mac-created FMP database

Question asked by MikeMcKay on Feb 25, 2014
Latest reply on Feb 25, 2014 by MikeMcKay


Baffling Windows font problem on Mac-created FMP database



                         Grateful thanks in advance to those with the patience to wade through this story. I'll try to keep it as succinct as possible.

                         1) I set up a database in Filemaker Pro for one of our clients, which happens to be the Catholic high school the owners of my company are alumni of.

                         2) This database, intended to track recruitment efforts aimed at prospective students and their families, was populated from two sources: a purchased list, and the school's existing database of elementary and middle-school students.

                         3) Getting the purchased list into the database was no problem. The school's student list, however, was maintained in an ancient and long-orphaned proprietary database system. All efforts to pry the data out of that system and export it into something that could be used in the new database failed.

                         4) So in desperation, I printed out a list of the students and their addresses, scanned all 32 pages into .pdf documents, performed OCR and ultimately prepared a text file that could be imported into my database.

                         5) This I did successfully, and on my Mac system, everything in the database I created looks and works just fine.

                         6) However, when I put the FileMaker Pro database on the school's Windows system, a portion of the records from the school's database (the ones I scanned) appeared with gobbledegook (nonsense characters) on some of the school's PCs. On others, the info is there, but there is a space between every character in each field of each record.

                         7) Changing the font as it applies to the fields in the Layout section of Filemaker has no effect on this.

                         8) What's especially weird is that this problem occurs in only a subset (about 540 records) of the school's records I scanned and imported. The other entries from the school appear normally on the school's PCs (and remember, EVERYTHING appears normal on my Mac). I double-checked the source files, and ALL of these entries were scanned and prepared in exactly the same way, and appear to be uniform on my Mac.

                         9) I re-exported the faulty records from my database into a plain text file, which again appears normal when I open it up on my Mac system. But when I opened it in NotePad on the school's system, I again saw the same weird font with spaces between every character. So I didn't even bother to import this back into the school's Filemaker database. 

                         Is there some sort of Character Set setting or something like that on a PC that would account for this? I've been unable to fix this by doing anything within Filemaker Pro.

                         Any other ideas? 

                         Thanks again for any help.
                         P.S. I should point out that the school had different versions of FMP on the three machines I tied into this database. I don't recall which PC has which, but I think they may include FMP 7, 9 and 11. Could this account for why some PCs display complete gobbledegook, while others have the weird font spacing on the faulty subset? (On the other hand, the exported plain text file also appears weird when opened in NotePad, which leads me to believe this has nothing to do with FileMaker.) The Mac I created the database on is running FMP 11.