Creating a database from scratch (rather than copying an existing one or using a template) involves many steps, but the first is always to define its fields. Although you don't have to immediately define every fieldFileMaker Pro is perfectly happy if you add, delete, and edit field definitions as you develop and refine the databaseI'll make it easy for you. Since I already know what fields will be needed, we'll create and set options for the Main layout's fields in this chapter. (In later chapters, we'll define fields for the other layoutsfields that will be used to gather data in the related tables and to present reports.)
After naming and specifying a type for each field (such as Text, Number, or Calculation), we'll set options for the fields. Field options can be divided into the following classes:
Auto-enter. These options let you specify a default value that will automatically be entered for the field whenever you create a new record. An auto-enter value could be the next serial number in a sequence, today's date, or a fixed value (such as California or 100.00).
Validation. Validation settings are used to prevent unwanted values in a field. For example, you can specify that a field's value be within a particular range, that the value be unique, or that its length be limited to a maximum number of characters. You can also specify whether a user will be allowed to override the validation criteria.
Storage. You can set storage options to index a field (allowing you to rapidly sort on or search the field) or treat it as a global field (giving it a single value for the entire database, as you might do to set a sales tax percentage).
After we finish defining fields and setting options for them, FileMaker will generate a default layout for the database.