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The first time that you launch FileMaker, it's probably a good idea to get familiar with some of the different preferences that are available to you. If you are a Mac user, you can find the Preferences dialog under the FileMaker Pro menu, here. Or if you're on a Windows machine, you can find it at the bottom of your Edit menu. Either way, it'll open up the Preferences dialog, and you see here in the Preferences dialog that we have five different tabs to choose from, and I'm just going to go through a couple of these settings to show you some of the ones that you'll probably be using more often, and we'll skip over some of the ones that you may not use that often at all.
So first you'll open up to the General tab, and you'll see in the General tab we have a couple of default settings already chosen for us. The first of which, that I'm going to point out to you, is how many different recently opened files the your use. If you work with a lot of different files, you probably want to use the recently opened file option, which allows you to not have to open up a file, find it on your computer or even find it on your network if it's hosted on the server, and here it allows you to choose how many different files you want to see. The most useful option though is here under User Name, where you see you've got two options to either choose the system name or another name.
The User Name is the name that FileMaker Pro uses to identify what copy of FileMaker Pro you're using to access this database. So, for example, here, when we installed FileMaker Pro on this machine, it grabbed the name of the user account that we were logged in as when we did the installation; in that case, it's my name. But if you want to identify your computer, for example, as like a shipping computer, or the finance computer, or station number 1 one or that type of thing, you can choose the Other option and type in the name of the machine. That way you can find out not only who is accessing your database, but what machine they're using to access the database.
The other thing you can use the User Name for is that whatever name shows up here, if it's the System name or the Other name, that's going to be the name that, by default, gets put into your User Name field, when you're logging into your database. So if we use the same User Name all the time, it's not a bad idea to go into here, click Other and type in that User Name so that it saves you one field worth of entry when logging into your database. Moving on to the Layout section, I want to show you this option right here. By default, the Add newly defined fields to the current layout option is chosen.
What that means is that if you're creating your database from scratch, and you're defining fields, which we'll talk about later in the title, these fields will appear on whatever layout you're on, as you create them. But later on down the road when you're getting into more of the maintenance mode on your database, and you're not creating a lot of fields, you probably want to turn this off. So my advice is to keep the default on when you first start creating your database and then later turn it off, so you don't have fields appearing on layouts that you spent a lot of time trying to finesse and make look perfect. In Memory it's safe for you to keep everything as their defaults, and Plug-Ins are something where if you buy something called a plug-in from a third-party vendor, which allows you to extend the functionality FileMaker, this is where you'll be able to turn them on or off ,or even configure them.
That's information that you'll get from the plug-in manufacturers. And under Fonts, the most useful setting here is the ability to specify the default font. You can leave it here as the default Helvetica option. So just like with many other software applications, Preferences are something that you probably want to check out the first couple times you open the application, and then you can just really leave them set as you start to work with the database.
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