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Importing data


FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training

with Cris Ippolite

Video: Importing data

So far in this title, we've been working with creating one record at a time, but the true value of a database is to store and manage a lot of data. The best way to get a large amount of data into your database at one shot is to import data from another source. We've already discussed creating a database from a spreadsheet, and even importing a spreadsheet into your database as a new table, but in this movie, we'll discuss just importing the data into your database. This will also allow us to work with large sets of data in some of the upcoming chapters. First, let's take a look at our Products layout.
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  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

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Watch the Online Video Course FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training
9h 11m Beginner Jun 25, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training, Cris Ippolite demonstrates the principal features and functions of this popular database software, including creating tables and relationships, managing fields and records, and working with layouts. The course shows FileMaker developers how to find, sort, and share data as well as how to create reports, calculations, and scripts. It also covers brand new features in FileMaker Pro 11 such as the Inspector tool, charting, and portal filtering. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Creating databases from templates
  • Creating fields in spreadsheet format
  • Creating tables and relationships
  • Defining key fields
  • Adding validation and auto-enter values to fields
  • Managing records, including duplicating, locking, and deleting records
  • Creating and managing layouts
  • Formatting layout objects
  • Finding and sorting data
  • Creating calculation fields
  • Building reports
  • Printing and saving as PDF or Excel
  • Writing and triggering scripts
  • Using relationships throughout a database
FileMaker Pro
Cris Ippolite

Importing data

So far in this title, we've been working with creating one record at a time, but the true value of a database is to store and manage a lot of data. The best way to get a large amount of data into your database at one shot is to import data from another source. We've already discussed creating a database from a spreadsheet, and even importing a spreadsheet into your database as a new table, but in this movie, we'll discuss just importing the data into your database. This will also allow us to work with large sets of data in some of the upcoming chapters. First, let's take a look at our Products layout.

You'll notice here in Products that we no longer have any data, even though when we first set up this file we imported not only the table and field definitions, but also its data. But for the sake of this exercise, we're going to work with an empty Products table. So, in order to bring data into this table, we're going to use a function that's called the Import function. The Import function can be found under the File menu by choosing File, then Import Records. FileMaker allows you to exchange information with other applications by exporting data from other file formats, then importing that data into FileMaker Pro.

So, here we're going to assume that we already have exported data from another data source. Most data applications will allow you to create data exports, so this is a pretty common function. So, what I'm going to do is choose File from the File > Import functions. We're going to choose the exercise folder 7/07_01. Now, you'll also notice, in the bottom left-hand corner, that you can choose from various different file format types. These are all the compatible import source formats. The most common are Comma-Separated Text, or a CSV file or, a Tab-Separated Text or a .TXT file.

Then of course, there's two options for Excel, either the older format of Excel or the newer XLSX format. If FileMaker Pro does not support the format of a particular application, you may still be able to convert that data by exporting data from that application into a format that FileMaker Pro supports, like one of these on this list. For example, FileMaker Pro does not import Microsoft Access files, but you can export the data from Microsoft Access into a format that FileMaker Pro does support, and then import that data into FileMaker Pro.

In this case, we're going to import data into an empty table, or the Products table, more specifically, and when importing, we should exercise more caution, as some of the Import options will overwrite existing data and cannot be undone. So, it's important first to pay attention to what layout you're on when you first invoke the Import dialog. Here, we've purposely chosen the Products layout, because it's based on the table, Products, that currently has no data. But if I was trying to import Products data, and I happen to be on the Customers layout, it's going to try to force that Product data into the Customer layout.

That's not the desired effect that we're going for here. So, step number one is pick the context or the layout that represents the table for which you're trying to import data. Then go under File > Import. Now we're going to choose the Products.csv, which is a Comma-Separated Text document, and we're going to hit Open. The first thing that you should know is that the source file you're selecting doesn't need to have the same number of fields, or have fields in the same order as the target file. It just needs to have the same type of data. So, in our case, this Comma- Separated File has fields created for all the different types of attributes for each product.

During this Import process, this Import Field Mapping window allows you to line up the different fields from your source with the appropriate destination fields inside of your target table. Let's open up this window just a tad, so we can see all the fields. You'll see here that we've got the source on the left-hand side, which is Products.csv, and then our destination table, which is going to be the target where all the data is going to go. You see that at this point, you can change to other tables, but right now we're going to stick with Products. On this screen, you have a couple of decisions that you need to make. The first one is that double-check to make sure that your Target table is correct before you proceed, and you can see here that we've got the correct one, Products, chosen.

Then you're going to see the two sets of fields, the one on the left, and the one on the right. At this point, you're going to have to line up the field, so that they actually match. One way you can start to line them up if you have similar field names is by using this dropdown menu in the bottom right-hand corner. You can choose last order, creation order, field names, for example. By choosing field names, you see that it's given us a little bit of a head start by lining up some of them with the data that might be in the right spot; however, you'll see some that do have the same name aren't lined up appropriately. That's what these little handles are for within FileMaker that allows to line up these fields to the right spot.

Only the fields in your Target side, or the right side, can be moved. So, in the case of Cost, we'll want to click on the Field and move the handles up, as you see in the blue highlight, to line up with the Cost field. There's a couple of other ones that would work in the same manner. Now, in some cases, you're going to be lining up fields that don't have names that match exactly. Like, for example, the fields in our Target file, called Unit Dimensions, is going to line up with the field from the Source, called Dimensions. You'll also notice that in this case, there isn't an arrow between the two fields.

An arrow indicates that we do want to move fields from the Source to the current table. If we uncheck the arrow, by simply clicking in between two fields, we'll see that that will omit them from the Import. So, once you're done lining up your desired fields, you'll want to select the values that you do want to import by making sure they have an arrow, and unchecking the items that do not. You'll also notice that some fields, like Extended Cost and Extended Price, don't have arrows next to them and show up in gray. That's because those are calculated fields that you cannot put data into, because they're evaluating data from various other fields, and you will always omit these from your Import.

As a matter of fact, if you try to include them, you'll see the arrow with the red line next to it, which as indicated down here below, means the Target cannot receive data into this field. So, we'll make sure that those are all turned off. Now, once you have all your fields lined up between the Source and the Target, you'll need to choose whether or not to import the first record. You'll see that option here in the bottom left-hand corner of your window, and you'll choose that option if the Source file uses the first record as column headers. Many times, you'll see this with spreadsheets that use the first row to identify what the column header names will be.

In our example, our first row is the column header information, so we do want to check this option, so that we don't import a record that has the words Dimension, or Description or Price inside the appropriate fields in our new product table. If you get all the way to this stage, and you realize that in your current table you don't have a field for you to be able to map up with one of the Source fields, you can always go down to the bottom right-hand corner and hit your Manage Database button, which will bring up the Manage Database and go right to Fields and allow you to create a new field. Once that new field is created, you'll see that on the Target Fields list, and then you can match up your Source field with the new field you've created.

This makes it so that you don't have to close out this window and start all over again, just because you've forgotten a field. Now we're ready to import, so we're going to hit the Import button. Before it proceeds with the import, you're going to see the Import Options window up here. The main decision to make here is on the top, whether or not to perform autoenter options while importing. If you recall when we discussed setting up autoenter options, anytime a new record is created, things like Date Created or serial values like Primary Keys can be automatically populated for every new record.

Since, in this case, we're actually going to be creating a new record in our database for every record that exists in the source, we have the option here to say whether or not our autoentry values should be triggered. In this example, we actually do want to check the box, so that our Primary Key values, or our _pkProductID values, will continue to serialize, and at the same time FileMaker's internal counter will be updated to the new serial value reflected by the total number of records we're importing into the Product table. After we hit Import, we then see something called the Import Summary.

This shows the total number of fields that were imported, or any errors that may have occurred. An error would indicate that it did not import a record, because one of the fields had violated a validation setting, for example, if you set up a field in your database, to only accept nonempty values into a Product Name field, then those records from your source will be skipped during the import if they do contain no value. However, if your Validation setting is set to Only during data entry, then they will be included in the import and will not show up as an error.

Once we dismiss this summary, we hit OK, and now we see that we've got 30 records in our new Products table. FileMaker not only added the new records, and lined up all the fields as we've instructed, but you can see here, it automatically created serial values for every product. If we go under the File > Manage > Database, double-click on the _pkProductID, we'll see that it's also updated the new value with the new number of records that are in our database. You'll also see that it's created what's called a Found Set that includes all of the records that we imported in.

This way, if we already had, let's say, a thousand records in the database, and we import in 30, it doesn't mix them with the general population of data until we get to approve them one last time. That way, we could go under Records > Delete Found Records, and delete the newly imported records, in case we've done something wrong during the import process. Now, we're going to do one more example of the imports to show a little different method. We'll do it a little bit quicker this time, File > Import Records, the same way as we had done before. This time, we're going to select FileMaker Pro Files, and we're going to choose a FileMaker file called Products_Plants.

I wanted to show you this option, because importing from other FileMaker databases where the fields match is a lot easier of a process. We simply then choose this matching names option, and all of the fields automatically sync up with their appropriate fields from the source. Now we hit Import, perform autoenter options again. And this time you'll see we have no errors, but ten new records were created, and the ten new records that were imported are isolated as a Found Set, giving us an opportunity to delete these records if we need to. The true value of a database is to store and manage as much data as you can, and the best way to get a large amount of data into your database at one time is to use the Import functionality.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training .

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Q: In the Chapter 16 tutorial, “Using Text Functions,” the instructor discusses how to calculate the First Name and Last Name from the Full Name. However, the method does not account for names ending with  “Jr.” or “Sr.” or “III,” etc.  How can I account for added suffixes in names?
A: For cases like this, you can create a third "Suffix" field. Then change the FullName calculation to:

NameFirst&" "&NameLast&" "&Suffix 

This way, nothing will appear if the Suffix has no value, but if it does have a value the suffix will appear.
Q: What information is actually on the “Invoice Line Item” table in the examples, and how does it actually connect to the tables that it comes from?
A: The information in each line item is native to the "Invoice Line Item" table. The fields are defined in that table and each record represents "A Product appearing on an Invoice."
Each time a product is used on an invoice, a record in the line item table is created. Many of the fields, for example "Quantity," are native to that table because those values only exists when a Product is used in an Invoice, and not as attributes of a Product itself.
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