Using FileMaker Pro as a data tool alongside gFM Business

The enterprise software gFM-Business is based on the FileMaker platform and requires a license of the database software FileMaker Pro for use in a network under Mac OS X or Windows and for editing print layouts. In addition to the use of gFM Business, this software can also be used for other purposes without any problems, because FileMaker Pro has a powerful range of functions to manage and process all types of data in a structured manner.

In this three-part series of articles, we’ll show you some of the options available when you purchase a FileMaker Pro license. Use FileMaker Pro as a data management tool or for editing and creating Excel spreadsheets. If you work a lot with Excel, you’ll have a lot of fun with FileMaker Pro, because FileMaker’s capabilities go far beyond spreadsheets in many areas. In the following we present some of the starter solutions from the brand new FileMaker Pro (Advanced) 15. Most solutions are already available in FileMaker 14. In the second and third parts of this series, we’ll introduce more FileMaker Pro starter solutions and capabilities.

gFM-Business allows data access

If you use the enterprise software gFM-Business, you can easily access all data from gFM-Business with all FileMaker Starter Solutions mentioned below.

Simply add an external data source to the desired gFM business data table in your FileMaker Starter Solution. This applies to all versions and is also possible in the free freeware merchandise management gFM-Business free. The use of gFM Business in conjunction with FileMaker Pro provides unlimited flexibility to manage enterprise data in a structured manner.

FileMaker supports many

data formats

To manage and edit data from external data sources in FileMaker, many different formats are available for importing data. In addition to the usual data formats text, CSV, dBase, etc., Excel tables can also be imported into FileMaker with a simple mouse click. Of course, data can also be exported from FileMaker as an Excel spreadsheet.

For data sources hosted on external servers, FileMaker supports the ODBC standard, which allows you to connect any data source to FileMaker. ODBC drivers are available for many different systems such as MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL or IBM DB/2. Data tables from such systems can be easily inserted into the relationship graph like a FileMaker data table and linked to other tables.

FileMaker Direct Start for Beginners

To make it as easy as possible for beginners to create databases, FileMaker has already integrated a direct start function in several versions. After the software has been installed and started, the direct start window appears in which you can select a starter solution or create your own solution at the push of a button.

The direct start window can be moved down and contains the four most commonly used starter solutions:

  • contacts
  • inventory
  • content management
  • assignments

Clicking on the button [Show advanced solutions] opens another window with many more starter solutions.

The starter solutions are ready-made databases that already have basic functions for collecting and processing data. The databases are structured in such a way that they can be easily expanded to include your own tables, fields and functions. In the following we take a closer look at the starter solutions integrated in FileMaker.

Assets – management of fixed assets

FileMaker Pro’s integrated starter solution for assets allows you to manage and edit assets. Based on the purchase date and the depreciation period, the software automatically calculates the residual value of an asset.

For each plant some master data and up to six pictures or files can be added by Drag & Drop. The database has the ability to print labels, a depreciation report and an inventory report. The list view can be filtered for borrowed items at the push of a button.

Tasks – Simple task management

Manage any task and checklist with FileMaker Pro’s integrated Tasks starter solution. Any number of agents with contact data and any number of systems can be saved for each task.

Tasks can be categorized and sent by e-mail. The list view provides several print layouts and a page view for print output.

Spend Report – Manage Spend and Mileage

With the FileMaker Starter Solution Spend Report, you can manage any spend and mileage. The database enables the creation of any number of expense reports, which can each be assigned to an employee.

Issue reports can be sent as PDF files by e-mail. The list view provides functions for exporting data and importing data from any external file.

Content Management: manage all types of files in FileMaker

The FileMaker Starter Content Management solution allows you to manage any file in FileMaker Pro. Any number of data records can be generated. Files can be dragged &Drop can be added. After adding a file, a preview image of the file is displayed in the corresponding field.

Stored media can be exported at the touch of a button or sent by e-mail. The software has a list view for all media as well as a thumbnail view with preview images, which can be filtered according to the media types photo, image, PDF, audio, video, office and signature.

Event Management – Manage events with FileMaker

The FileMaker Event Management Starter Solution is a more comprehensive database solution for event management. In addition to general master data, any number of participants and guests as well as tasks and the agenda from any number of points can be saved per event.

Status information can be stored for all entries, such as the participation status of a guest or participants in a task. Involved persons can be contacted by e-mail at the push of a button. The solution also includes a print layout for an event report that can be saved, printed or emailed at the click of a mouse. The list view contains separate lists for events and contacts.

Manage research notes with FileMaker

Research notes are another integrated starter solution in FileMaker. Starting from any number of projects, any number of notes, documents and media files can be managed for each project. Files can be saved directly in FileMaker using drag & drop.

The Starter Solution also includes a print layout for a research report that can be saved, printed and emailed at the touch of a button. In the list view for all projects, functions for data export and data import from any external files are available.

Inventory management as

starter solution

Auche inventory management is available in FileMaker Pro as a starter solution. Inventory products can be categorized and assigned to a manufacturer. In addition to general master data such as the object name, article number, barcode, location, unit costs, etc., any number of transactions can be added per data record to display goods receipt and goods issue and then automatically calculate the stock level and stock value.

The software also makes it possible to store a reorder level and the date of the last order. In the list view, an inventory report is available, which can be printed by mouse click or sent by e-mail as a PDF file. There are also functions for exporting data and importing data from any external files.

Easily manage contacts with FileMaker

FileMaker Pro also includes a simple contact management starter solution that allows you to store as many contacts as you want. One business and one private address can be stored separately for each contact. With the function [Send by e-mail] all entered data including a map of the address can be sent by e-mail.

The integrated list view allows arbitrary sorting and filtering of entries according to different categories. In addition, a print layout for printing labels and a function for exporting data and importing data from any external files are available.

Further Starter Solutions in Part Two

With FileMaker, the buyer acquires a powerful tool with which data of all kinds can be easily managed. In this article, we introduced the first eight starter solutions that come standard with FileMaker Pro. In the next part of this article, we will present the following eight additional starter solutions, which are described with FileMakerPro can be shipped:

  • cost estimates
  • meetings
  • personnel data
  • product catalogue
  • projects
  • bills
  • resource planning
  • time accounting

We hope you enjoyed the first part of this series of articles, and maybe it could encourage you to take a closer look at FileMaker Starter Solutions. All Starter Solutions are fully open database solutions that you can easily add more data and functionality to.

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About Author

Markus Schall
Development of FileMaker databases since 1994, modification and extension of FileMaker solutions, conversion of FileMaker databases from .fm, .fp3, .fp5 (FileMaker 2-6) or .fp7 (FileMaker 7-11) to .fmp12 (FileMaker 12-17), interfaces to third-party systems such as online shops, CMS or other databases. Development of individual FileMaker database systems based on the gFM business framework with personal advice from Oldenburg. Operator of the online specialist portal, developer of the CRM and merchandise management system gFM-Business. Member of FileMaker Business Alliance, FileMaker Developers Subscription and FMM Expert. Winner of an FMM Award 2011, awarded by the FileMaker Magazine.

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