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Can FMP print to a plain text file?

Question asked by geezerhiker on May 12, 2014
Latest reply on May 18, 2014 by BenKreunen


Can FMP print to a plain text file?


     I have a file with weekly events and I want to display them in a nicely formatted way, one event to a row, grouped by months, with maybe a header and footer. And make a printed report. No problem so far.

     But I also want to export this data, with formatting, into an HTML file so that I can include in a web site. The grouping by months that is handled in FMP by sub-summaries will translate into a series of <table>'s in HTML.

     I have made a layout that uses text boxes full of HTML tags and merge fields and sub-summaries to get all this stuff into a report that looks just like the desired plain text HTML file.  Then I print or export to a PDF file, leave FMP, extract the text from the PDF and paste it into text editor.

     This PDF-extracting nonsense offends my sensibilities - it just seems wrong to package this simple text info into a big, fat PDF file just so I can strip the PDF away.

     It also seems to be a brittle solution - if something changes in the way FMP produces PDFs or in the way Mac OS X handles them my solution could shatter. (In fact, this whole process won't work if my layout used Helvetica instead of Courier!! I discovered this by pure chance and dumb luck, since this has absolutely nothing to do with fonts. BTW I believe the issue there is fixed vs. proportional widths. But who knows, really.)

     I am aware that I can use a calculated field to export the weekly records in the format I like, but that doesn't help with the monthly summary parts. And I suppose I could write a big fat script to generate everything from scratch. But it seems a shame (and, once again, a bit brittle) to reinvent that wheel.

     Attaching images of my layout and a preview for (possible) clarification.