The File Maintenance utility doesn't come into play as you're developing a database. Instead, you use it periodically on existing, actively used databaseswith good reason. As people add, remove, and modify records in a database, FileMaker has to go to great lengths to make room for things in the file on your hard drive. For the sake of speed, the program avoids actions that require massive reorganization of the data on disk. As FileMaker shuffles things around, information from one record can spread to different parts of the file, and sections of the file can be wastedtoo small to hold anything useful, but stuck there in the middle of the file anyway.
The Tools images/U2192.jpg border=0> File Maintenance command tidies up such scattered data and frees unused disk space. When you choose it, you see the File Maintenance dialog box (Figure 19-18).
The Compact File option goes through the file from top to bottom seeking out the wasted space. When it finds some, it moves everything else in the file a little bit so the wasted space is gone. In the end, you have a file that's as small as possible.
The Optimize File option works differently. It goes through the records, layouts, scripts, and other elements of your database and makes sure all the information for each element is together. Instead of searching all over your large file to get the entire Customer list, FileMaker can stay within a consecutive block of information in a small area of the file. Everything in the database works just a little bit faster.
Warning: Running File Maintenance on a damaged file can actually make the problem worse. If you have any doubt about the stability of your file, choose File Save a Copy As images/U2192.jpg border=0> Compressed Copy instead. This command rebuilds the databases internal structure and can fix many minor problems.
Part I: Introduction to FileMaker Pro
Your First Database
Organizing and Editing Records
Building a New Database
Part II: Layout Basics
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
Part V: Scripting
Part VI: Security and Integration
Exporting and Importing
Sharing Your Database
Part VII: Appendixes
Appendix A. Getting Help