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In addition to adding and editing records inside your FileMaker database, deleting records is also pretty easy to do, and actually it might be a little bit too easy. I'm going to show you how you can delete data out of your FileMaker database and then talk to you about some ways that you might want to protect your database against accidental deletions. First, just like creating and duplicating records, you can delete a record by going under either the Records menu and choosing Delete Record, or using the corresponding Quick Key, which in Apple would be Command+E, or in Windows would be Ctrl+E. Or you can go under the Status toolbar and see the button for Delete Record.
Selecting any one of these options will delete the record that you're currently on at the time that you perform the action. So you see here that we're on record number 4. So if I hit the Delete Record button, first you'll see that FileMaker will never just go ahead and delete the record. It's going to first ask your user, would you like to permanently delete this entire record with there default option to cancel? This is in case they unintentionally hit the Delete button and therefore don't have to lose the data. Your users can easily hit the Cancel button to not delete any records. However, if you do choose to delete a record, you'll notice now that your record count, in this case went, from four records to three records, meaning that that record is permanently deleted and no longer part of the database.
You can't undo a delete, either. If you go under your Edit, you'll see that you have Can't Undo and Can't Redo. So there's no way to retrieve a record once its been deleted. Just like when you create a record, or you edit a record in FileMaker, deleting a record is final. You should also be aware that under the Records menu, right below the Delete Record option, is an option called Delete All Records. This doesn't have a corresponding Quick Key, luckily, but your users should be aware that if they accidentally select this option, instead of Delete Record, they're going to see a dialog that's supposed to be different, but to many users might not be different enough.
You'll notice here that it says, Permanently Delete all three records, and it's getting that number three because of the Found Set that we've created. We'll talk more about Found Sets in the chapter on Finding Records, but the Found Set is however many records you currently have active in the database. If you have all records active in the database, that means that hitting Delete All will completely empty out your FileMaker database. This is a little bit too much power to put in the hands of your users, so your users should be cautioned during user training to never hit Delete All, unless they absolutely need to.
As a matter of fact, you can configure Security to not allow users to delete records at all, or just allow Admin users to be able to perform delete activities. Since the database is just a storage container, you can imagine the bad repercussions when it is completely emptied out. Since we're discussing what happens when somebody accidentally deletes your database, it's probably a good time to talk to you about backing up your data. Now, there's a couple of ways that you can back up your database, first of which, you can go under your File menu and choose Save Copy As, which allows you a couple of different options for saving copies, either as an empty clone or a compacted copy that contains data.
For a backup, you'll want to choose compacted copy. But the more common way to do backups is through FileMaker Server. If you're hosting your database, you can consult the FileMaker Server Help System to show you how to set up something that's called a Backup Schedule. However, if you do not host your database on FileMaker Server, it's a good idea to use the File > Save a Copy As activity as often as possible. You should never have just one copy of the database. You should always be employing some type of backup mechanism. It's very important, since the data in your database is usually the lifeblood of an organization, that you really need to have some sort of backup plan in place.
When working with databases, everyone is bound to make mistakes. So FileMaker allows you the ability to delete records, so that you can correct your mistakes and therefore maintain the integrity of your database. However, users must use caution when deleting records, so that you do not create problems caused by permanently deleting important data.
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