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So far in this title, we've discussed how to work with FileMaker to set up tables and fields in a FileMaker file for you to store data. Now, we're going to turn the discussion to working with data in those tables. In this chapter, we're going to be talking about working with records of data, starting first with creating or duplicating records. If you open up the file entitled 06_01, you'll notice that it has two records of data stored in it. We know that because in the upper left- hand corner of the Status toolbar, we see that there is a total number of two records, and that we're on the second record.
We, of course, can use the Book icon to navigate to the other records in the database, or simply type in a number and hit Enter to navigate us directly to the record of our choosing. A record in a database is an instance of whatever we're storing in the database table. So, in this case, we're in a layout based on the Customer table. So, that means that any one of these records that we're storing represents any one record. If you're familiar with spreadsheets, you'll be familiar with the Table view, and you'll notice that FileMaker records are no different than a row inside of a spreadsheet.
Back into Form View. There's different ways that you can add records to your database. Most common are to go under the Records menu and choose New Record, or you can follow one of the shortcuts that you see listed next to the option in our menu. On a Mac, you would use Command+N, and on Windows, it would be Ctrl+N. You can also use the buttons in your Status toolbar. As you see here, New Record is one of your default options. Pressing this button will allow you to create one of these new records. We notice now that our count changed to 3. We see that some of the fields have already been populated, because those are set for Auto-Enter, and you'll also notice something else onscreen.
All the other fields go blank. Now granted, you could have just come from a record that had data in all of the fields, and when you hit New Record, most of the things go blank. If you have a bunch of fields onscreen that don't have Auto-Enter, the entire field itself will go blank. It's important that both you and your users understand that you haven't deleted anything by hitting that button. But instead what you've done is created a new blank record that will allow you to enter data into the database. You're going to see that the fields onscreen are all blank, except for the _pkCustomerID, AddressState, the DateCreated, RecordCreatedBy, and the DataModified, and those, of course, were the ones that we set up with Auto-Entry.
We covered Auto-Entry in the previous chapter. When you click inside of a field, you'll notice that that field becomes black, and your cursor starts blinking. That indicates the active field and the location of your cursor. This will allow you to add new information into the field, like, for example, the name of a company. Then after you've entered all the appropriate information, you can click outside of the field. This is actually how FileMaker saves data. So, at the moment that we were still in the field, and you see all of the other fields show up with the dotted lines, it hadn't yet saved it to the database.
There is no Save button in FileMaker, because it is a database. And a lot of users who use other applications aren't used to this concept, because in most cases, you have to hit Save to commit any of the changes that you've just made, for example, on a spreadsheet, or on a Word document, or really anything else. But in FileMaker, and other databases, you just type the information into the field, and then click outside of the field, and this action is called committing a record. That's the activity of saving it. Now, keep in mind that you can't really navigate off the record. Anything you do, if you change to another layout or various other things, will commit it.
So really, FileMaker almost has an autosave-type option. These other events that will commit a record include clicking outside the Field area, pressing the Enter key, unless, of course, you change the field behavior of the Enter key, and we'll discuss that in Layout movies. If you switch modes, for example, from Browse mode to Find mode, or Browse mode to Layout mode, your value will automatically get committed, or if you switch from one layout to another, or even creating new records by hitting New Record, or if you simply close the file completely. By the way, if you have any field validation that you set up in these fields, it's going to try to run the validation before it allows any of these activities to occur.
So, not having data that passes muster might prohibit one of these activities from occurring. Tabbing from field to field within a record, however, will not commit the record. It's a good idea to get this concept of committing a record down, because you'll see this come up later in things like scripts and calculations, or just working with some more complex data entry concepts. There are other ways to create records, too, for example, using script steps, but we'll cover those in the chapter on scripting. Another way to add records to the database is do what's called duplicating a record. So, if you already have a record in your database, like this Record number 3 that you see here, and most of the information in your new record is going to be the same, then you can save yourself some data entry by simply duplicating it.
We can choose the option Duplicate Record, which then creates an exact duplicate of this record, except that that the primary key value has changed because that's the role of a primary key value. But we'll notice now that we can go in and type some other data, and thus commit it. You see the data in the original field doesn't change, but now we have a new record that was created using the original. So, this is a good idea if you want to save yourself a lot of data entry. The commands for duplicating the record can be found in the same locations, like we mentioned ,under the Record menu, or you can see if you open up your Status toolbar, you can add by right- clicking > Customize toolbar.
You can add Duplicate if you'd like. It's not one of the defaults, however. Or you can use the shortcut keys: Ctrl+D on Windows or Command+D on Apple. Now, of course, since we've duplicated a record, you see that we've got four total records in our database. These two options, of course, are how you can create new records in your database, which are an important building block when you're managing the data that goes inside of your FileMaker Pro database. These two options for either creating or duplicating records are important building blocks when managing the data that goes inside of your FileMaker Pro file.
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