FileMaker Pro databases can be as simple as a phone list for the soccer team or as complex as a company-wide system for purchasing, sales, inventory, invoicing, shipping, and customer tracking. But they all have a few important aspects in common and essentially work the same way. This chapter gives you a tour of FileMaker’s major features and gets you up and running on your very first database.
FileMaker’s vast assortment of tools and options can make its window as intimidating as a jumbo-jet cockpit. But the program’s menu commands, dialog boxes, keyboard shortcuts, and other options stay largely consistent across all databases, from the most basic to the most high-powered. Almost everything you learn in the next few pages applies to every database you’ll ever use.
Because a database usually solves a problem of some kind, some FileMaker experts call a database a solution, as in, “I can create an inventory solution for your bakery, but it’s going to cost you some dough.” Usually, database and solution mean the same thing, although the term solution sometimes implies a system of several connected databases (more on that in Part 3).