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David Kachlon

fmp17 a beginner...

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Hi. So, I just downloaded FileMaker pro and I have a few question. Question #1. Is it possible for me to import the contents of a PDF file into a database simply by adding a "button" where the user loads the PDF file from a FileMaker app. Number two, once I have this information, is it possible to add to my PDF file and then save it back as a PDF file. If someone can help me do this on the Trial version, I will certainly buy the full version. Thank you!

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Hello David

Manipulating PDF's in a sophisticated way is not a standard feature of FileMaker (it is tool for creating business apps based on databases at its core).

However, to your questions :-

1) You can certainly import PDF's into fields in FileMaker. Create a field of type 'Container' in File->Manage->Database->Fields. Create a layout with that field on, and add a button that layout.

Then in 'Button Setup' make that button perform a script, with the script steps

Go to Field [myContainer]
Insert PDF

This will allow the user to select a PDF from their computer or device, and it will be inserted into the field that you specified in line 1.


2) FileMaker can 'Save Records as PDF' (that is a script step), and one of the options is to 'Append to existing PDF'. Therefore, you can export some data from one of your layouts to a PDF already existing on the users computer or device, and FileMaker will add new pages to the end of that PDF, rather than overwrite it.

So if you have a report saved in a container field, and you want to export some more data to extend that PDF report, then you would do something like

// Tell FileMaker where yo would like to store the existing PDF while it is being appended-to
Set Variable [ $path ; Get (DesktopPath) & "fileName.pdf" ]

//Export the existing PDF from the container to the path you defined
Export Field Contents [ myContainer ; "$path" ]

//Go to the layout that generates your report and find the right fields, sorted into the right order
Go To Layout ["myPrintLayout" ]
Perform Find
Sort Records

//Export your records as PDF, but append them to the PDF we exported at the beginning
Save Records as PDF [Append ; "$path" ; Records being browsed]

//Now import the newly extended PDF back into your container
Go to Field [myContainer]
Insert PDF [ "$path" ]

If you want to do more sophisticated PDF editing, you can use the MonkeyBreadSoftware plugin, which has many PDF functions. On a Mac they are easier, on a PC you have to also purchase the PDFKit software to enhance the Windows capability.

Hope this helps.

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360works has a plugin, Scribe,  that allows you to send and get data from pdfs. However, I am curious about your workflow. Are pdfs part of an old workflow that you'll retire once filemaker is in place?

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