How about using one field just for the serial number, a second field for the (abbreviated) last name, and thirdly, a calculation text field that simply puts the two together using the & operator?
And use the combined calculation field for display purposes and perhaps for finds, but use just the serial number field for linking to other related records.
The answers above are right on, but don't answer your question directly...
Just in case you need the last step spelled out:
Your calculation field mentioned by jonasg would be defined as Left (name ; 3) & Table::SerialNumberField
Make sure your calculation result is set to text.
Agreeing with Phil, just use the serial number for your relationships...not the calculation.
I can see I am going to really love this forum!
First, thanks for the answers.
Here is what I found.....
Left (name ; 3) & Table::SerialNumberField
Produced and ERROR message saying table wasn't defined.
This calculation did the job:
Left ( Last Name ; 3 ) & SerNumGen
Believe it or not, years ago, I used to do FM Pro database work for a living. Over the years, I have forgotten the syntax. So, you will see a lot of me here for a while as I get the rust out!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)
Ninja, why did you suggest the TABLE? Maybe I missed something here. Thanks...
Table:: was a placeholder to be replaced with the name from your database. Since both Last name and SerNumGen are in the same table, you don't need a table occurrence name to refer to the field.