FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Saving as a PDF or Excel file


FileMaker Pro 11 Essential Training

with Cris Ippolite

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Video: Saving as a PDF or Excel file

FileMaker Pro has built-in functionality for saving data as either Microsoft Excel or Adobe PDF files. You can see these options when you go into Preview mode in any one of your layouts, because we've got icons in the Status toolbar for Save as Excel and Save as PDF. You can also find these options while you're in any layout, in any mode, under the File menu, under Save/Send Records As. The Save/Send Records As Excel functionality makes it easy for a user to export FileMaker Pro data from the current layout and current found set, and work with it in Excel's Spreadsheet.
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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

Saving as a PDF or Excel file

FileMaker Pro has built-in functionality for saving data as either Microsoft Excel or Adobe PDF files. You can see these options when you go into Preview mode in any one of your layouts, because we've got icons in the Status toolbar for Save as Excel and Save as PDF. You can also find these options while you're in any layout, in any mode, under the File menu, under Save/Send Records As. The Save/Send Records As Excel functionality makes it easy for a user to export FileMaker Pro data from the current layout and current found set, and work with it in Excel's Spreadsheet.

Note also that FileMaker Pro 11 supports both the .xsl and .xslx formats for Microsoft Excel. So the Save as Excel option is great for you if you want to share data that's stored in your FileMaker database with someone who doesn't have access to the database; however, it's not intended to be an alternative to storing the data in your database. You should never create an Excel Spreadsheet and then make modifications to the data, because you'll just end up with data with different versions in different locations. So make sure this is only for sharing subsets of data and not for making modifications.

But in fact, if somebody contacts you and says -- let's say, for example, an accounting person says they want some information that's stored in FileMaker. This is an excellent tool for being able to share that data, and it's really easy to do, too. So if you are asked to do an Export as Excel, you could of course go into the File Export option and choose Excel, which in that case it allows you to pick various fields. But when you're doing the Save As Excel, it's a little bit easier to do, because it's just a single button press. But just remember that the layout that you're on is going to give you the fields that it'll Export.

So basically hitting Save As Excel will give me these three fields, the ProductID, Product Name and Cost, and it will give me the number of records that I currently have in my Found Set. So if we look here, I have all 40 records showing. But if I were to create a subset of those, that's what would Export. So back in Preview mode, if I do want to create the Save as Excel, all I have to do out of Preview mode is hit the Save as Excel button, but keep in mind that in any mode you can go under the File menu and choose Save/Send Records As Excel.

In the Save Records As Excel dialog window, you'll choose the name of your Excel file, as well as the location where we're going to save it, and you can choose which type of Excel Workbook you want to create, and then you also have an option to choose whether its going to be the records being browsed or the current records. Now remember, we had 40 records in our found set, so that means if I choose records being browsed, it's going to give me all 40 records as part of the spreadsheet Export. If I choose Current Record, it's just going to give me whatever the active record was at the time that I pressed Save As Excel. So we'll keep it as Records being browsed.

You see we have a couple of options here. Automatically open file, which I have checked, will open up the file in Excel for me to preview it. I'll make any modifications if I need to, but just to help me take a look at it which I will do in this case, and also a really handy option to Create an e-mail with the spreadsheet as an attachment. So like in the example before where someone in an accounting department, for example, has asked you to send this information over to them. Well, you're going to e-mail it anyway, so why not just hit this button,which will open up a outgoing e-mail on your default mail program, with this spreadsheet attached.

We'll just keep the Automatically open file option open right now. Then we hit the Save button. You see now that the spreadsheet has been saved to the location where we told it. In this case we've actually got 41 records, and that's because of course, Excel uses a row to use your column headers. And you'll notice also that the column headers inside the spreadsheet will be the name of the field. So sometimes you might want to open this up and maybe just change these around, so instead of the naming convention that you used, you can make it to say ID, for example.

And if you've ever use related fields, you'll actually see the table name colon, colon in the field names. So that's definitely something you want to clean up before you share this with anybody. Just like with Excel, FileMaker allows you to output your layouts as a PDF document. It's actually quite easy to do. First just navigate to the layout that you want to create. Let's say we go to our Welcome Letter, and instead of printing out a hardcopy of the Welcome Letter, let's say this time we want to just generate a PDF and send it over to one of our customers.

So now that we've navigated to this layout, we can take a look at what its going to look like in Preview mode, and of course, Preview shows us the margins and the spacing for not only a hardcopy output, but also what the PDF is going to look like. And we're in Preview mode now, so we see we've got the Save as PDF button, but of course, in any mode I can go under the File menu, choose Save/Send Records As and choose PDF. It will give me the same Save Records As PDF option, and here just like with Excel, name the PDF, pick the location where you want it to be saved, and choose whether or not you want the Records being browsed, which is going to be all of the records in the found set.

This time, though, we just want to print the one active record that we're on. So that's going to be the Current record that we see onscreen. Also, though, with a PDF you have the option to choose a Blank record. This means, for example, if you have a form that you've created in your database for data entry, you can print off a PDF version of it with no data in the records, or fields, and then have somebody hand-fill that out and use that for data entry. Just an option here that you have, because of the PDF's write-in capabilities in FileMaker Pro 11. We'll choose Current record. We also see by hitting the Options button that you have all the regular Adobe output options, so you can name the document something.

You can even put a password into the document. These are all options that you might be familiar with if you use Adobe Acrobat anyways. And of course, you see in the bottom, we've got the Automatically open file or Create e-mail with this file as an attachment, just like with Excel. We'll open it up with whatever reader you have, or open it up in an outgoing e-mail. So let's hit OK, and let's hit Save. And now you see the PDF on our desktop, and you see the PDF option, which is a nicely-formatted letter opening up inside Preview on my computer.

So both of these are really great tools for FileMaker, for sharing information on the fly, as either Save As Excel or Save As PDF, both of which will allow you to save out in formats that you can then share with those that don't have access to FileMaker Pro.

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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