Automation in FileMaker Pro is accomplished via scripts. Scripts are created in a part of FileMaker called ScriptMaker and consist of steps (instructions) that FileMaker executes in sequence. A script can perform a one-step operation, such as switching to a particular layout, or it can contain a complex series of steps, such as selecting a subset of records, sorting them, switching to a report layout, displaying and printing the resulting report, re-sorting the records to their original order, and then returning to the original layout.
There are several ways to execute a script. First, any script can be listed in the Scripts menu, where it can be chosen in the same way that you choose other menu commands. The first ten listed scripts are also assigned a (Mac) or (PC) keyboard shortcut numbered from 1 through 0. Second, you can attach a script to a button on any layout. Clicking the button executes its script.
We'll create the scripts needed to automate a variety of useful functions in Investment Minder, such as adding and deleting records, switching layouts, and generating reports. In the process, you'll get a thorough introduction to ScriptMaker.
In this chapter, you'll also learn about creating and using value lists. A value list is a list of data values that can be attached to a field to make data entry easier and ensure consistency. Finally, we'll perform the few additional clean-up tasks needed to complete the database.