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Establishing search operators

From: FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training

Video: Establishing search operators

When you're searching for data in FileMaker Pro, you don't always have to specify the exact criterion; for example, if I want to find all the invoices in my example file here, that were created between the year 2000 and 2010, I don't actually have to create 10 new find requests each with a different year. For example, going into Find mode, I won't necessarily have to put in 2,000, then New Request, 2,001 and so on. And by the way, you'll also notice one example of this is I just put in the year 2000 and FileMaker recognized it, because I was in a date field, that will automatically reformat it to put in wildcard characters, and we'll get to those here just in a moment, but what I can do instead is use something that's called Search Operators.

Establishing search operators

When you're searching for data in FileMaker Pro, you don't always have to specify the exact criterion; for example, if I want to find all the invoices in my example file here, that were created between the year 2000 and 2010, I don't actually have to create 10 new find requests each with a different year. For example, going into Find mode, I won't necessarily have to put in 2,000, then New Request, 2,001 and so on. And by the way, you'll also notice one example of this is I just put in the year 2000 and FileMaker recognized it, because I was in a date field, that will automatically reformat it to put in wildcard characters, and we'll get to those here just in a moment, but what I can do instead is use something that's called Search Operators.

So back in Find mode, you'll notice in the Layout bar, next to the Matching Records Include or Omit, that I've got a draft on your called Operators. We have a list of different characters that FileMaker interprets when added in a search criteria. For example, let me show you some of the easy and more useful ones: find duplicates. If you just simply put an exclamation point into a field and nothing else and then Perform your Find, you can then find all the records that have the same value. Of course, it's going to find the original and the duplicate. This is something that a lot of users use to clean up their database.

So, for example, if I put an exclamation point in the Invoice number field and hit Perform, we want it to come up with no records, because we would be little worrisome if there were duplicate invoice numbers in our database. So this is a good way to stay on top of the data that you have in your system, but putting that in the Invoice Date field like we had done before, in executing our find, gives us 64 records. What this actually tells us is that it's really 32 records with a duplicate. It's what that says. Or they could have multiple duplicates. It gives you the original and the duplicate, which is very useful when you're doing things like scrubbing your data, for example.

You will also notice a very handy one back in Find mode, the equal sign that's a called match whole word. What that really means is that if you put in an equal sign ,it's going to find an exact match for any value that follows the equal sign. So let me give you an example of that. If I go into Ship Via, and I put it in an equal sign, right now what I'm telling FileMaker, because I haven't put anything else in there, isn't that I wanted to find every record with an equal sign in the Ship Via field - that it actually would not do - but instead, I'm saying find any record where the value in Ship Via is nothing.

Why is it nothing? bBcause so far that's what I've got following the equal sign. So if you just leave it this way, this is the great way for you to find records that have empty values in certain fields, and that can be useful, again, when you are trying to clean up your data. So let me Perform Find here. You see that I have got five records out of my 146 that do not have a value in Ship Via. That's what the equal sign allows us to do, another excellent tool for cleaning up your data. And there are some more obvious ones, for example, less than, greater than, less than or equal to, those kind of things.

Those will work on number fields and date fields. Keep in mind that in those cases, you still have ranges. For example, I could put in Invoice date less than 2009, for example, and Perform Find, and it tells me that I don't have any matching records, but that works equally well in a Date field as it does in a Number field. But speaking of ranges, you will see there is also a range option there, which is really just ... So you will notice that you don't even have to pick this dropdown menu. This is really just more of a legend, or a guide.

You can simply just type these values in there. So, for example, if I went in to the Invoice Total field, which is a number field, and I type in 1000...1500 and hit Perform Find, you see I get seven records, and all those records have a value between 1000 and 1500. This one is even very close. It's 1490. In that case, it's giving me the range. I can also go into Find, into an open ended, 1000... range and hit Perform Find.

It tells me that 80 of these records are either $1,000 or more. And there are a lot of things to choose from. Another one that's helpful is the zero or more characters, which is that asterisk. So let's say you are trying to find any record that actually has a value in a field. Just simply type and asterisk in there and nothing else and perform a find, and you will see now we get 141 out of the 146. If you remember when we did the equal sign, meaning anything that had empty value or no value in Ship Via, we got five, so this makes sense. This is the inverse of that. So you should really experiment with these to get familiar with how they work with your data.

I think that not only will you find them useful, from a development perspective, but if you train your users on these, they will find them to be useful, but one special thing that you should be aware of, though. If you switch over to the Customer List layout, let's say I want to do a search in the Email field, and what I am looking for, let's say, are properly formatted Emails, which we would use this trick to say I want to search in this field for the At symbol character, and if I find records that don't have an At symbol in there, then I know that I don't have a real Email or a properly formatted Email in this field.

Let's see what happens when I put the At symbol in this field, and then we hit Perform. You see I get No records matches criteria. Now that might not actually be true, because we could have some records in here that do not have any values. For example, if I go in and I take the At symbol out of this first record. All right. Now let's do that search again. Let's say At symbol, and I want to omit anything without the At symbol. So when I hit Perform Find, now it gives me everything. Why is it giving me all the At symbols and the not? Well, the reason for that is because FileMaker has the At symbol as one of it's Search operators.

Unfortunately, they had this built-into the program before Emails were even around. So what this means is it's more of like a wildcard character, which means any one character. So if I am truly searching for an At symbol, or an equal sign, or an exclamation point, and I want it to be recognized just as the character, what I have to do there is wrap it in quotations. And anytime something in quotations, in this context, FileMaker will evaluate this as just the character that you are looking for, rather than the functions. So now you see it performs properly.

I omitted anything that had an At symbol in it, and sure enough, we see this record here that matches that criteria. How is this At symbol used? Well that actually has its own valuable use for us. So, for example, if we go into Find mode again, and under City, if I type in L@s, and I Perform a Find, I am going to get Las, and Las, but that's because we put the wildcard in between L and the S, so these are the correct values that we are getting in return. So in addition of doing multiple requests, you can also insert different Search operators to assists you in locating data with minimal data entry in the search requests themselves.

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This video is part of

Image for FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training
FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training

94 video lessons · 14980 viewers

Cris Ippolite
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 7m 22s
    1. Welcome
      1m 8s
    2. Understanding the FileMaker family
      2m 15s
    3. Using the FileMaker Quick Start screen
      2m 52s
    4. Using the exercise files
      1m 7s
  2. 21m 9s
    1. What is a database?
      2m 26s
    2. Flat vs. relational databases
      2m 29s
    3. How FileMaker works
      4m 48s
    4. Understanding the essential preferences
      3m 13s
    5. Touring the interface
      8m 13s
  3. 11m 44s
    1. Creating databases from templates
      2m 29s
    2. Creating new databases in the spreadsheet-like format
      5m 35s
    3. Importing tables
      3m 40s
  4. 9m 9s
    1. Determining which tables you will need
      5m 10s
    2. Creating tables in the Managing Tables window
      3m 59s
  5. 34m 47s
    1. Understanding relationship types
      6m 58s
    2. Diagramming relationships (with ER diagrams)
      8m 50s
    3. Determining which key fields you need
      5m 18s
    4. Defining primary and foreign keys
      7m 56s
    5. Creating relationships using the relationships graph and table occurrences
      5m 45s
  6. 50m 34s
    1. Deciding what fields you will need
      5m 34s
    2. Understanding field types
      7m 54s
    3. Defining fields
      9m 56s
    4. Using Auto Enter options in fields
      9m 33s
    5. Reviewing field validation options
      8m 16s
    6. Building with container fields
      9m 21s
  7. 14m 8s
    1. Creating and duplicating records
      5m 40s
    2. Editing and locking records
      4m 42s
    3. Deleting records and backing up files
      3m 46s
  8. 21m 6s
    1. Importing data
      9m 57s
    2. Importing records to refresh data
      7m 2s
    3. Exporting data
      4m 7s
  9. 18m 30s
    1. Understanding layouts
      4m 15s
    2. Using the Layout Assistant to create List views
      7m 59s
    3. Using the Layout Assistant to create labels and envelopes
      6m 16s
  10. 27m 11s
    1. Using the Layout Setup dialog box
      4m 54s
    2. Understanding layout parts
      4m 40s
    3. Understanding the new Inspector
      2m 26s
    4. Exploring the Status Area in Layout mode
      6m 46s
    5. Managing layouts and layout folders
      8m 25s
  11. 41m 9s
    1. Arranging, aligning, grouping, and locking layout objects
      11m 5s
    2. Placing and formatting objects, parts, and graphics
      4m 10s
    3. Formatting fields and applying field attributes
      8m 26s
    4. Setting field behaviors
      4m 4s
    5. Using the Tab Control feature
      9m 8s
    6. Setting tab order
      4m 16s
  12. 36m 48s
    1. Using the basic find functions
      7m 31s
    2. Reviewing new requests in the Find mode
      5m 54s
    3. Establishing search operators
      6m 43s
    4. Constraining or extending found sets
      3m 24s
    5. Finding records using date, time, or timestamp criteria
      5m 18s
    6. Using Fast Match and Quick Find
      4m 41s
    7. Working with saved finds
      3m 17s
  13. 17m 28s
    1. Sorting with one criterion
      6m 4s
    2. Sorting with related fields
      2m 18s
    3. Sorting with multiple criteria
      1m 36s
    4. Sorting using custom values
      3m 14s
    5. Sorting using buttons
      4m 16s
  14. 17m 14s
    1. Reviewing Field/Control styles
      5m 43s
    2. Creating and applying static value lists
      5m 20s
    3. Creating and applying dynamic value lists
      6m 11s
  15. 23m 52s
    1. Previewing pages and print options
      6m 20s
    2. Printing in different views
      2m 54s
    3. Sliding objects
      3m 26s
    4. Printing merge letters
      4m 53s
    5. Saving as a PDF or Excel file
      6m 19s
  16. 15m 1s
    1. Building simple reports with summary fields
      4m 36s
    2. Creating subsummary reports
      6m 51s
    3. Creating subsummary reports in Table view
      3m 34s
  17. 52m 19s
    1. Defining calculations
      2m 31s
    2. Exploring the Calculation dialog box
      5m 8s
    3. Using number functions
      12m 41s
    4. Using date and time functions
      4m 58s
    5. Using text functions
      11m 43s
    6. Using get functions
      4m 0s
    7. Using logic functions
      11m 18s
  18. 46m 56s
    1. Understanding scripts and script steps
      2m 23s
    2. Assigning script steps to buttons
      3m 54s
    3. Understanding the ScriptMaker dialog box
      8m 28s
    4. Creating multi-line scripts
      6m 44s
    5. Adding find criteria to a script
      4m 58s
    6. Understanding the If script step
      8m 36s
    7. Using script parameters
      4m 42s
    8. Reviewing the Send Mail option
      7m 11s
  19. 28m 0s
    1. Understanding script triggers
      2m 41s
    2. Using object-based triggers
      11m 58s
    3. Using layout-based triggers
      7m 51s
    4. Using file-based triggers (Open and Close scripts)
      5m 30s
  20. 56m 42s
    1. Using related fields
      7m 18s
    2. Creating portals and using portal filtering
      10m 38s
    3. Using related fields in calculations
      7m 6s
    4. Understanding multi-predicate relationships
      11m 11s
    5. Using the Go to Related Record script step
      7m 26s
    6. Creating a chart
      13m 3s
  21. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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