FileMaker Pro 8: Giving You No Excuse To Not Have a Database


Unfortunately, many businesses still rely on Microsoft Excel to keep track of their data. Why? Excel is very easy to use for basic data entry. It’s columns and rows make it simple to add headings (first name, last name, etc) and rows of information corresponding to these headings.
However, these same businesses (are you one) really limit themselves by using Excel as they miss the POWER of mining the data for INFORMATION, generating reports and creating forms for data entry.
I’ll admit, creating a database is not very easy for most people and it’s just easier to use Excel, many would think. However the key in building a database is which database program you use to build your database.
File Maker is a proven leader in database solutions and does not disappoint with the release of its latest database series – File Maker 8. While File Maker 7 was a huge improvement its focus was on the back end, primarily, things that the end user might not have noticed or appreciated all that much.
With version 8, FileMaker has polished FileMaker and continues to make it one of the easiest and feature rich databases to use.
New Features in File Maker 8 include the ability to create PDF files from within File Maker. It’s not necessary for everyone to have File Maker in order to view the data you want them to read. In these cases, create a PDF file for the report(s) they need to read. When you create PDF files in File Maker you can also control the security parameters of the created PDF file and attach the PDF file to an email message with one click. Sounds simple? It is, but when you create a PDF you are most likely creating it to send to someone else via email. Right? This one click step will save you a lot of time.
File Maker is Excel friendly and can easily create Excel files and again enables one click email of that file.
I was VERY impressed with File Maker’s ability to enable out of the box email mail merge. I know MANY businesses that email customers with no personalization and simply dump email addresses into the “bcc” line of their email message. FileMaker 8 lets you send personalized email messages to your database. Personalization will increase the response rate of your email and enable you to communicate more precisely with your audience.
When entering dates into a field sometimes it helps to have a calendar handy as you don’t know if 7 June 2008 is a Monday or Thursday, for example. Version 8 of File Maker has a built in calendar so that as you are inputting dates – you always input the right one.
Other enhanced features in FileMaker include a better search tool, filters and more. If you use a previous version of FileMaker and like it – you’ll love version 8. If you use another database, I would encourage you to give FileMaker a try.
FileMaker has not left its programmers out of the fun but has included several tools to make their programming experience and functionality much better in areas including scripts, data viewing and more.
File Makers line of products include File Maker Pro, Advanced, Server, Server Advanced and applications.
File Maker by itself is powerful and you can create your own solutions but File Maker and File Maker’s partners have several “out of the box” solutions that you can try as well. With these packaged solutions you can get up and running using FileMaker Pro 8, even faster.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook