Checking Spelling

Considering all the tools FileMaker provides for editing your records, it'll come as no surprise that it also has a full spell checker built right in.

2.8.1. Spell Checking in One Pass

Before printing out your database or otherwise sharing it with the greater public, you'll want to make sure your spelling is correct. If you've been typing new records at lightning speed, there are bound to be some typos. And nothing screams "amateur" louder than a date field that reads "Febuary 15." All the spell checking commands are found under the Edit images/U2192.jpg border=0> Spelling menu. Here you have three choices:

  • Choose Edit Spelling images/U2192.jpg border=0> Check Selection to spell check selected text only.
  • Spelling images/U2192.jpg border=0> Check Record.
  • Spelling images/U2192.jpg border=0> Check All. When you choose this option, youre telling the spell checker to look at every field of every record in the current found set.

Tip: To check spelling in every record, make sure you have them all showing first. Just choose Records Show All Records before running the spell checker


Note: Clicking Cancel doesn't undo all the changes you've made in the spell checker. It simply stops any further checking. If you've already corrected some words, the corrections will stick around after you cancel.


Figure 2-23. If by the magic of planetary alignment, you have no misspellings when you first run the spell checker, you'll still see the Spelling window but the status line will say it's Finished Spelling right away. This behavior is universally disorienting, so don't feel bad when you spend 10 minutes trying to figure out why nothing looks right before you notice that it's already finished. You'll also see that the Replace button now says Done; click it to make the Spelling window go away. In this figure, the spell checker found a typo: "quandrey."

 

2.8.2. Spell Checking as You Type

FileMaker's spell checker also works automatically as you type. This visual spell check is a per-database setting, so you control it from the File Options dialog box. Choose File File Options, then click the Spelling tab. Youll find two options that you can mix and match to help you spell better, run faster, and jump higher. Well, you'll spell better, anyway.

The first option is "Indicate questionable spellings with special underline." If you miss your word processor, this one will make you feel right at home. You'll see that familiar red line underneath any word FileMaker doesn't like the looks of. Plus, if you right-click (Control-click on the Mac) on the underlined word, FileMaker offers a menu containing suggestions for spelling the word properly.

If red lines aren't annoying enough, you could turn on "Beep on questionable spellings" and FileMaker will make your computer beep when you type a space after a misspelled word. Unfortunately, it's just the same old alert beep that your computer makes in all kinds of other situationsso it can be easy to miss. But in combination with the red line, this pair could be a formidable reminder to spell better.


Tip: Use spell checking as you type with caution, because it's just bright enough to catch your errors, but not quite smart enough to know when you don't need it butting in. Lots of perfectly fine database entries aren't in the spelling dictionary, like inventory codes, abbreviations, or even email addresses. Most people (those who don't like being beeped at every seven seconds) turn these options on for typing long text passages, then turn them back off for other data entry tasks.


2.8.3. Managing Spelling Dictionaries

FileMaker comes with spelling dictionaries for various languages and choosing among them is easy. Just choose Edit images/U2192.jpg border=0> Spelling images/U2192.jpg border=0> Select Dictionaries. The Select Dictionaries window lets you choose the language to use for all spell-checking operations. You can see it in Figure 2-24.

Figure 2-24. The Select Dictionaries window lets you pick the spell checker language. You can also opt to use a User Spelling Dictionary (which happens automatically unless you come here and say otherwise). You can actually create as many user dictionaries as you want, and then select the one you want to use for a particular database.

 

2.8.3.1. User dictionaries

Remember from Section 2.8.2 when you clicked the Learn button to teach FileMaker a new word? When you did so, behind the scenes, FileMaker actually added that word to the user dictionary, which is separate from the normal dictionary that comes with FileMaker.

In the Select Dictionaries window shown in Figure 2-24, you can choose whether or not to use the user dictionary. You can select an existing user dictionary (presumably, one you created previously), or create a new one. You can even have multiple user dictionaries for different purposes. For example, if you have two databases, one that tracks your apparel products and one that stores information about tools, it might make sense to keep two user dictionaries. The tools version might include words like "mm" and "pcs" while the apparel version would have "XXL" and "CottonPoly."


Tip: In reality, it's nine times easier to just use one user dictionary, so you don't have to worry about which one is selected. (It generally doesn't hurt to have too many words in your user dictionary, while not having enough makes spell checking much more time consuming. Nothing's worse than having to wade through a dozen correctly spelled words every time). Nevertheless, if you feel the need for more than one, the option is there.


POWER USERS' CLINIC
Rewriting the Dictionary

You've already learned how to add to your dictionary using the Learn button in the spell checker. Well, if you've ever wanted to just tell it what words you want it to skip, you can. Just choose Edit .Spelling .Edit User Dictionary to open the User Dictionary dialog box. Here you can add new entries to the dictionary (type the word and click Add), or remove existing entries (select the word and click Remove).

You can also export all the entries to a text file where you can edit them to your heart's content. When you click Export, FileMaker asks where it should save the export file. The file you get is simply a plain text file with one word on each line. You can then edit in a text-editing program.

If you already have a file that has words you want, you can Import those words into your User dictionary en masse. For instance, if you use a lot of technical terms, you might be able to download a list of terms from your industry and load them into a dictionary in one shot. The file has to have each word on its own line, so if it's in some other format, you'll need to clean it up first. (For example, use your word processor's Find & Replace function to turn a comma-separated list into one with a carriage return between each word.) Also, make sure the file is plain text.

A Microsoft Word file (.doc) or other special format won't work. (Making a plain text file on Windows is a breeze: Just use Notepad, the simple text-editor program in the Accessories folder in your Start menu. On Mac OS X, however, you need a little more care. You can use Text Editit's in your Applications folderbut you must tell it you want plain text. Just choose Format Make Plain Text in Text Edit before you save the file.)


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

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