Chapter 16. 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 the point of keeping track of all those details is to understand them: You need to know what all those data points mean. For example, if you want to understand your customers’ music tastes, a line item report of 200,000 individual MP3 sales doesn’t do you much good: The information is in there somewhere, but a feeble human brain stands no chance of ferreting it out. A report that divides that information into 25 music genres, each with sales totals, and then further broken down by gender, would help you interpret all that data at a glance. In other words, a well-designed report, like the one you saw on Creating a Dynamic Report with the Assistant, summarizes the data for you. Now that you’ve learned how to create a vessel for all your data, it’s time to learn how to analyze what it all means.

Summary Fields and Subsummary Parts

Analysis doesn’t mean you need a degree in statistics. You only need to know how to create reports. FileMaker’s flagship report is the summary report. The report uses a list layout, along with two special tools for categorizing and totaling the data. First, Subsummary parts create categories, and then you place summary fields in the Subsummary parts to figure out the math. At its simplest, a subsummary report could print your contacts database, grouping and counting all your contacts by ...

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