Working with Fields - File Maker

You’ve already seen how easy it is to enter data into FileMaker Pro fields by typing with the keyboard, but there are many other ways to enter or edit data. This is especially true for special kinds of data like sounds, QuickTime movies, images, and OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) objects.

Entering Text Data
Text data is anything you can type on the keyboard. Text data can be entered into text, number, date, time, and global fields. Calculation and summary fields contain text, but the data is computed for you by FileMaker and can’t be manually altered.

Type It!
Of course, any enterable field can be populated with text data just by typing on your keyboard.

Data can be entered into a field automatically if you have auto-entry options for the field set up.

Data can be copied or pasted into text data fields between FileMaker fields or between FileMaker and another application. To copy text data, highlight it with the mouse and copy it, using the same menu item or keyboard combination used for copying a whole record. To paste the data, place the cursor where you want to paste the text (the insertion point), then paste it in.

Paste Special under the Edit menu is an option that when used in a text data field brings up a window allowing you to paste text into a field as either unformatted or formatted. Pasting formatted text keeps all the bold, italic, or other attributes of the text you’re pasting intact. Paste Special has more uses when pasting into a container field, as you’ll learn shortly.

Drag and Drop
If “Enable drag and drop text selection” is enabled in General Application Preferences, you can highlight text in one field and drag and drop it into another field. Regardless of whether this box is checked, you can always drag a block of text from an external application into a FileMaker field.

Insert Menu Commands
If you put your cursor in a text field and look under the Insert menu, you’ll see that you can quickly enter the current date, time, or user name (from General Application Preferences) into a field.

For example, say you want to enter the current time into a time field. Just put your cursor in the time field and select Insert Time from the Insert menu or type CONTROL-; /COMMAND-; (that’s the semicolon key). You can also type CONTROL- –/COMMAND- –(that’s the dash key) to enter the current date into a field or CONTROL- SHIFT -N /COMMAND - SHIFT- N to enter the current user name into a field.

Another Insert menu command is From Index, which allows you to select a value to enter into a field from the index for that field. Go to Company.fp5 in the Computer Shop database system and go to Detail View 2. Enter browse mode and put your cursor into the City field of one of the existing records and choose From Index from the Insert menu (or you can type CONTROL-I /COMMAND-I). A window comes up that looks like this:

View Index

showing you every value entered into that field across all records in the database.

Double-click a value or single-click one and click the Paste button, and that value is entered into the field.

Checking the “Show individual words” box will display a list of all unique words in the field across the database instead of every unique phrase or full value. For example, it there was only one index of the Notes field (containing the phrase “This customer doesn’t pay!”) in the Company.fp5 database for this record would look like:


The last Insert menu command you might use to paste data into a field is the From Last Record command. If you create yet another Company.fp5 record, put our cursor in the notes field and select from last record (or typed CONTROL/ COMMAND-’ (the apostrophe character), the data that’s in that same field on the last record you were viewing will be pasted in at the insertion point (not the data from the last record in the database, but the data from the last record selected for viewing on screen).

Value Lists

If you have set up a value list that’s attached to a field, like the State field in Company.fp5, you can enter data into a field by making a selection using the list, whether it is a drop-down menu, checkbox, and so on.

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