A.1. Getting Help from FileMaker Itself

The installation CDs for FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced include online help files, electronic documentation, templates, and example files. The installer program always installs Online help, but the others are optional. When you choose the Easy Install option in the Install panel of the installation wizard, you get everything installed. Choose Custom Install instead to pick and choose which of the optional files you want installed. And if FileMaker's already installed on your computer, but the helpers listed below are missing, you can perform a Custom Install and choose the helper files you need without having to uninstall and reinstall FileMaker itself.

On Windows you can find these helpers at C: images/U2192.jpg border=0> Program Files images/U2192.jpg border=0> FileMaker images/U2192.jpg border=0> File-Maker Pro 8 images/U2192.jpg border=0> English Extras. And on the Mac, look in Macintosh HD images/U2192.jpg border=0> Applications images/U2192.jpg border=0> FileMaker Pro 8 images/U2192.jpg border=0> English Extras.

A.1.1. FileMaker Pro Help

To access FileMaker's onboard help files, choose Help FileMaker Pro Help. You can also simply press F1 (Windows) or -? (Mac). If you launch Help while no dialog boxes are open, it opens to the Contents page (Figure A-1).

If what you need help with is the dialog box that's open in front of you, whatever you do don't close it! Instead, leave the dialog box open, which tells FileMaker you want context-sensitive help. For example, if you choose File Define Database, then click the Relationships tab, and images/U2192.jpg border=0> FileMaker Pro Help, the file opens to the detail page called "Working with related tables and files."

Figure A-1. Click a link to see help on any of the general topics listed on the Contents page of FileMaker's Help file. By drilling down through these lists, you'll reach a detail page for the topic you're interested in. For example, if you want to know how to set options for a field, click "Creating a database" on the Contents page, then click "Setting options for fields." You can also search Help by typing keywords in the "Ask a Question" field.

Detail pages within the Help system provide assistance with technical terms. When you see underlined words or phrases, click those links for a short definition. At the bottom of each page is a list of related topics for further reading.

One of the most useful parts of the Help file is a comprehensive list of FileMaker's functions. As in the Specify Calculation dialog box, the functions are listed two ways: by type and alphabetically. The detail page for each function gives you the function name, parameter(s), data type returned, and a description of what the function does. Use these pages to help you when you're using a function for the first time.

A.1.2. Templates

You got a glimpse of these starter solutions in Chapter 1, when you created your first new file from the Contact Management template. You see all these template files listed in the New Database dialog boxunless you've previously checked that dialog box's option to "No longer show this dialog." If you've turned this option on, but want to see the templates listed again, choose FileMaker Pro Preferences (Mac) or Edit images/U2192.jpg border=0> Preferences (Windows), then turn on the "Show templates in new Database dialog box" option on the General tab of the Preferences dialog box. The next time you choose File images/U2192.jpg border=0> New Database, FileMakers templates will be listed. Pick the template you want, and FileMaker creates a new copy of the file for you. You can add data, create and edit scripts, or delete objects you don't need without affecting the original template.


Tip: If you prefer, you can navigate to the Templates folder and launch the template you want just like any other file. When you launch a template file directly, though, you're opening the original template file, and any changes you make to the template will be reflected in any new copies you make when you choose File New Database.


  • FileMaker Pro User's Guide. At 115 pages (or more), this manual provides an overview to FileMaker's features, with some step-by-step instructions.
  • Installation Guide for FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced. This short guide tells you about registration and support options, hardware and software requirements, and walks you through the steps for installing FileMaker on Mac and on Windows.
  • FileMaker Instant Web Publishing Guide. This manual tells you how to design databases that are suitable for web publishing using FileMaker's Instant Web Publishing feature.
  • Customizing Starter Solutions. If you want to customize FileMaker's templates, use this guide to learn more about their structure and features.
  • Installing FileMaker ODBC and JDBC Client Drivers. Learn how to install xDBC drivers.
  • FileMaker ODBC and JDBC Developer's Guide. Use this guide to get up to speed on sharing FileMaker data with xDBC sources.

Note: The document names given above are the official titles of the guides. They may not exactly match the PDF file names, but they're close enough so you can find the one you're looking for.


A.1.4. XML Examples

Example files, including a database and sample XML and XSLT files, are in a folder aptly titled Examples. These simple files serve as a primer for working with File-Maker and XML. To get started, open the database file ("xml example.fp7"), then run each script to see how XML import and export works. Then take a look at the steps that make up each script, paying particular attention to the options set for the Import Records and Export Records steps. Finally, take a look at the files that are imported and the files that are created by the export scripts. In them you'll see how your XML pages should be structured.

Part I: Introduction to FileMaker Pro

Your First Database

Organizing and Editing Records

Building a New Database

Part II: Layout Basics

Layout Basics

Creating Layouts

Advanced Layouts and Reports

Part III: Multiple Tables and Relationships

Multiple Tables and Relationships

Advanced Relationship Techniques

Part IV: Calculations

Introduction to Calculations

Calculations and Data Types

Advanced Calculations

Extending Calculations

Part V: Scripting

Scripting Basics

Script Steps

Advanced Scripting

Part VI: Security and Integration

Security

Exporting and Importing

Sharing Your Database

Developer Utilities

Part VII: Appendixes

Appendix A. Getting Help





FileMaker Pro 8. The Missing Manual
FileMaker Pro 8: The Missing Manual
ISBN: 0596005792
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 176
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