Chapter 14. Reporting and Analysis

A database excels at keeping track of things—itsy bitsy teeny tiny details about hundreds, thousands, even millions of little things. But people aren’t so good at dealing with all that detail (hence the invention of the database). They like to see the big picture. If you want to understand your customer’s music tastes, then a report of 200,000 individual CD sales doesn’t do you much good: The information is in there somewhere, but your feeble mind stands no chance of ferreting it out. But a report that divides that information into 25 music genres, each with sales totals, both in aggregate and by gender, helps you interpret all those reams of data at a glance. In other words, a well-designed report summarizes the data for you, like the one you saw on Creating a Dynamic Report with the Assistant. FileMaker’s not only fantastic at showing you information, it also excels at helping you see what it all means.

Summary Fields and Sub-summary Parts

The very cornerstone of high-level analysis in FileMaker Pro, is the summary report. To boil the values in a set of records down to totals, averages, or one of several other aggregate measures, the Summary Field is your tool. But hand-in-hand with the Summary Field are the Sub-summary and Grand Summary layout parts. A single Summary Field placed on a single Sub-summary layout part can, for example, form a report that displays one line for each city that appears in your address book database and a count of how ...

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