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Copy Fields in Column to Clipboard; Delete Multiple Rows

Question asked by PrestonHardison on Oct 3, 2011
Latest reply on Oct 3, 2011 by philmodjunk


Copy Fields in Column to Clipboard; Delete Multiple Rows


I'm evaluating FileMaker Pro 11 as an alternative to Microsoft Access. I need to convert because I am approaching the database size limit on Access, and some limits to functionality. FileMaker Pro looks attractive, but I've found two limitations that are critical to my workflow needs. I have not yet found a satisfactory answer in the knowledge base or in the forums.


I have multiple uses of relational databases, some using the relational model, some not. My most common use is to use the database as a flat file staging area to prepare text data for import into a fully relational system. In doing this, I import a lot of "junk" records that I need to delete in bulk with a minimum number of mouse movements and/or keystrokes. I repeat this action hundreds of times a day, involving thousands of records. So moving a mouse thousands of times to a delete record button, deleting them one at a time isn't going to work. I need to use a database for this rather than a spreadsheet for many reasons - I may import hundreds of thousands of records; I need the convenience of key integrity to automatically weed out duplicates; and I need the software to treat the imput as straight text wothout having to go through multiple steps with each batch of appends (e.g. Excel - one must use the "append as text" command each time, that uses multiple entries and a cursor trip to the menu bar each time; and on batch conversions will stubbornly forget that cell properties have been set to text and convert, for example, page ranges to a formula calculation).


Once I have text files in the database, I need to select multiple sequential fields in one or more columns, on the fly, and copy them into the clipboard. I then paste these into a spreadsheet or word processor for further transformations before re-copying and pasting them back into the database as unique records.


Both of these are simple and straightforward in Access. Access allows one to select blocks of fields from sequential records and from multiple columns into the clipboard as delimited data, which can be pasted easily into other programs. The key is ease - in Access this is done with shift+select (with mouse or arrow key). Access also allows one to select multiple rows by the same method, and delete them all at once. Of course, one can set this up to enforce or not enforce transaction integrity, so that if a parent record is deleted, child records are also deleted. But I'm not using it that way - again as a simple flat file. And again, for those who might reply, why not simply use a flat file, I refer you to the limitations above, and the need to have more powerful filter and view technologies to support the workflow.


Are these functions something that can be done in FileMaker Pro with a script that can be integrated into the normal behavior of the program? Ideally the script would work through keystrokes and mouse movements/selections. Any solution that would force hundreds of trips across a large screen to a button would not work.