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One of the most powerful and useful capabilities of FileMaker Pro is its capacity to group and summarize data in a report format. This allows you to do things like, aggregate, organize and otherwise just manipulate data that users have already entered into your system into reports and outputs that give visibility of data you wouldn't normally have. The most powerful type of report in FileMaker is something that's called a sub-summary report. In general, a sub-summary report is a way to present a list of data that's grouped by a certain variable. Let me give you an example of this inside of our Invoice List View.
A sub-summary report is based on a Layout part that's called a sub-summary part. Let's take a look in Layout mode, and we'll see the layout that we currently have has a Header, Body and Footer. We can also see that by going under the Layouts menu to Parts Setup. But now I'm going to introduce you to the summary parts. First, we're going to hit the Create button, and we see we've got our Part Definition window. We see that Header, Body and Footer are already grayed out, because we already have those parts in our layout, and we can only have one of each.
But I want to introduce you to the Sub-summary when sorted by part. It's quite a mouthful of a name, but it does contain a very specific and important piece of information, and that's the, when sorted by; we'll get to that in a second. What a aub-summary when sorted by part allows you to do is group data based on a certain break field, and the break field is something that you're going to introduce, and it's also something you're going to be sorting by. The way you introduce the break field is by selecting the sub-summary Part and then choose a field from the window on the right.
So in plain English, what this really means is Group by. So we're choosing a Grouping Part, and we need to choose the field by which we're going to group. So we've got 146 different invoices in our Invoice Table. Maybe it might be more helpful to look at these if we group them by Customer name. However, we don't have a Customer name field defined in the Invoice Table, because it's related to the Customer table. So why don't we click here and choose the related Customer Table and just simply pick the CompanyName field? So, FileMaker asked us what do we want to group by? And we said we want to group by CompanyName.
So now we hit OK, and we see we're being asked where we want to print the Part. In this case it's just really asking us, do we want the Part to be above the Body or below the Body? And in this case we're saying Print Above. So now let's hit Done and do a little bit of cosmetic changes to our Layout. First, let's get rid of the ContactName. Select both of those holding down the Shift Key and hit Delete. And now let's move the Invoice number field over to the right - just a little cosmetic touch-up - and you'll notice now that we've got this new part, the Sub-summary Part and if you go into the bottom left-hand corner here and toggle, to click to display the Parts, you'll see that it gives more description: Sub-summary when sorted by Customer's CompanyName.
So what we want to do is place a field here that's going to show up in our layout that will represent each group. In this case, we're just going to pull in the break field, which we determined was the related CompanyName. So let's say Insert > Field > choose Customers. We don't need a label on this case, and we'll say CompanyName. Insert > Field > Customers > CompanyName. So let's drop that part in between the Summary field, which we need to make sure it's totally encased inside that summary field, and now let's go back into Browse mode and hit Save.
Nothing too spectacular yet, because as a matter of fact, we haven't changed anything inside the Layout, by the looks of it, but there's one little secret here. If you remember, when we defined the Sub- summary Part, there was also something else in the name of the Part where it said sub-summary when sorted by. So let's see what happens when we sort by that break field. Of course, we remember the break field was from the Customer Table, and it was CompanyName, so let's see what happens now in Browse mode when we hit Sort. Now you see we've got the List View, but the orders are grouped by each customer, and if we do Show All and Sort again, thus triggering the groups, let's take a look at what happens at the top of our list.
Now you see we've got a customer and all their customers orders, the next customer, all their orders, so on and so on and so on. If we go into Layout mode, we can make just a couple of cosmetic changes. For example, if we choose the Summary Part, give it a little fill color, choose the CompanyName, maybe make it bold and also transparent, and you can see this will really make our Layout pop.
Now we have a report that groups by Customer, very clearly, and then gives us all the individual invoices for each one of those customers listed below, and one more thing to really make this a report. In Layout mode, remember the TotalSummary field. Well, here's something interesting. If we go into Layouts > Parts Setup > and hit Create, let's add another Sub-summary Part when sorted by - that's right, you guessed it - CompanyName, but this time let's say Print Below.
So now you see it's created a Sub-summary Part below the Body. So now what we're going to do is Shift+ Select both the TotalSummary field label and field, hit Copy, and now we're going to paste. So let's use our arrows to move this just above the other. Now it's the same field; we just put it into sub-summary Part. So what happens when we go into Browse mode now? We'll notice that the same Summary Part is now giving us a Total for each customer and then moving on to the next customer, and so on and so on, until finally, at the bottom, it's giving us a total of all customers.
So what's actually happening here is that we're creating mini found sets using sub-summary parts, and the data within the found sets is being summarized by a Summary field, because of course Summary fields summarize data within found sets. So what a sub-summary part does is not only group information, but create mini found sets of that information for us to use in our reports. So in just a few minutes, you can take any List View, add a couple of Summary Parts to it in a Summary field and end up giving yourself a group report, which will allow you to aggregate, organize, synthesize or even manipulate data that other users may have already entered into your database.
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