The basic principles of exporting data from FileMaker are straightforward. You first pick a single table from which to export. (You cannot independently export data from two tables at once, although you can export related fields to any extent you want, a topic discussed in more depth later in this chapter.) You then choose an output file format and file location, and pick specific fields from your chosen table for export. Before you export, there are a few extra options you can choose that govern grouping and formatting of the exported data. That's all there is to it. Let's look at each step a bit more closely.
Choosing a Source Table
As with much else in FileMaker 8, the starting point for a data export is determined by the user's context in the current systemspecifically by the currently active layout, which in turn is tied (via its table occurrence) to an underlying data table (aka source table). So the currently active layout controls implicitly which table is the source table for the export.
Choosing an Output File Format
After your context is established, you'll need to choose File, Export to begin the export process. The next step in that process is to choose an output file format and file destination. FileMaker offers you a choice of 12 export formats, as shown in Figure 20.1. Some of these are plain-text formats, such as tab-delimited text, which could be read in any text editor; others are binary file formats that require more specific software to open, such as FileMaker Pro. This chapter goes into greater detail on available file formats in a later section.
Figure 20.1. FileMaker Pro can export data to various formats.
FileMaker 8 sports a couple of new additions to this dialog: the choice to automatically open the file after saving it, and the choice to automatically create an email with the file attached. These choices parallel those available with the new Save as Excel and Save as PDF features; the goal in all cases is to make the final delivery of the data faster and easier.
Selecting Fields to Export
After you've selected an output file type and destination, you'll be prompted to choose some fields to export, via the dialog shown in Figure 20.2.
Figure 20.2. Most fields can be exported from a FileMaker database, but container fields cannot.
With FileMaker 8, when working with field lists, you often have the ability to limit your consideration to only those fields on the current layout, a feature known as field list filtering. By default, the fields displayed in the list at the left are limited to those found on the current layout, as indicated by the Current Layout menu setting. It's possible to switch the view to show all fields in the current table. As in previous versions of FileMaker, it's also possible to select fields from any related table for export.
For more information on exporting related fields, see "Exporting Related Fields," p. 602.
In addition to selecting fields for export, it's also possible to select grouping options for the fields, and to choose whether to format the exported data according to the current layout formats. These options, too, are discussed in more detail later in this chapter.
For more information, see "Exporting Grouped Data," 604, and "Formatting Exported Data," 602.
At any point in the field selection process, you can use the small up/down arrows beside each selected field name to change the order in which the fields are exported: Click the arrow and drag to move the field, or use (-up/down) [Ctrl+up/down] if you prefer the keyboard. After you have a satisfactory field list, click Export, and the data will be exported to the file format and location of your choice.
Exporting Issues to Consider
Although the basic mechanics of exporting are simple, there are a couple of key points that bear remembering:
For more information on privileges and security in FileMaker, see Chapter 12, "Implementing Security," 325.
For more information, see "Working with Large Fields and Container Fields," 607, and "Formatting Exported Data," 602.
Part I: Getting Started with FileMaker 8
Using FileMaker Pro
Defining and Working with Fields
Working with Layouts
Part II: Developing Solutions with FileMaker
Relational Database Design
Working with Multiple Tables
Working with Relationships
Getting Started with Calculations
Getting Started with Scripting
Getting Started with Reporting
Part III: Developer Techniques
Developing for Multiuser Deployment
Advanced Interface Techniques
Advanced Calculation Techniques
Advanced Scripting Techniques
Advanced Portal Techniques
Debugging and Troubleshooting
Converting Systems from Previous Versions of FileMaker Pro
Part IV: Data Integration and Publishing
Importing Data into FileMaker Pro
Exporting Data from FileMaker
Instant Web Publishing
FileMaker and Web Services
Custom Web Publishing
Part V: Deploying a FileMaker Solution
Deploying and Extending FileMaker
FileMaker Server and Server Advanced
Documenting Your FileMaker Solutions