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Export text to, eg. DTP


Ash435
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I'm a bit new to databases but I'm very confused about this. I can make simple reports but I need to export lists of names (formlists; I'm a teacher) to an indesign document.

I can't seem to just 'select' text across cells in a table or report like one does in excel (why not, it seems so fundamental?). The export text feature is longwinded if I want to quickly access 10 different classes and if I do the whole lot at once (grouped by class) there's no way to tell where one class ends and another starts. The only solution I've got is to export a report as a .pdf file (via Mac OS X) then select classes from there.

Any help for a database newby would be appreciated!

FileMaker Version: 7

Platform: Mac OS X Panther

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Welcome to FileMaker Forums!

Filemaker doesn't have a way to select multiple fields for copying. IMHO this isn't as useful in a database as it is in Excel.

Export works on the Found Set. Are the reports based on finds or based on portals? If they're based on finds (Found sets), an Export button could be added to the layout to do the export. If you script an export, it isn't as long-winded and annoying as usual.

FileMaker exports in various formats, which will work best with InDesign will depend on how much you want to do the formatting. The more you want to format, the more I'd recommend a plain text tab delimited export.

Does this help?

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Filemaker doesn't have a way to select multiple fields for copying. IMHO this isn't as useful in a database as it is in Excel.

Not a true statement.

I use the Script Step "Copy All Records" in a couple of my solutions, The Script will copy all of the data in the all of the fields on whatever layout you choose.

Lee

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As Lee said, the Copy All Records step will get you whatever fields are on the current layout. The same command is available via the Copy menu command. If you don't have the cursor in a field (hit Enter first) it copies all the fields in the current record. If you hold the Option/Alt (I think Alt, but may be shift), it copies all records in the found set (it says so in the menu).

This is not mentioned much, partly because it's been that way forever. People tend to create scripts with buttons for things which they do often rather than use these manual methods; but they're good to know; I use them for copying repetitive calculations. But they should be mentioned, as they are not always obvious from the interface.

Spreadsheets are by their very nature visual tools, with the advantage of being able to grab what you want. But with the disadvantage of having to grab what you want. Databases are more powerful and more flexible, but require a little figuring out to do these kinds of things that you'd normally do by selecting visually.

Another example of this is how to select a bunch of records visually, say the last records. Show All Records, choose first record you want, then Omit Multiple with a really high number; then Show Omitted.

Or, for the first records, Show All, start at the first record, then omit the number you want, then Show Omitted (or just omit the last ones).

You could Omit Multiple for a first set to discard, then Omit Multiple for the end, to get the middle. Or just omit the ones you want, then Show Omitted. I'm sure you get the idea (are probably tired of it).

I'm not too crazy about them changing the Omit keys to "T". OmiT? Not real intuitive, but if you use it often I guess you remember. OS X is really great. Every key combo you hit does something :)-/

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Sorry I blew that one. I thought the Copy All Records only copied FileMaker's internal data format to the clipboard. Did it ever work that way?

Copy All Records in FM6 & 7 puts text on the clipboard with the exact same format as a tab-delimited export.

FileMaker uses the following rules when exporting tab-delimited text files & copying all records:

1) Records are separated by returns. Returns are entered into text fields using the return key on a Mac keyboard or the Enter key on the main part of a PC keyboard. Because exported records are separated by returns, any returns which are in a field must be replaced by a substitute character. FileMaker converts returns to vertical tabs (an

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Thanks for all the help - it would have taken me a long time to work all that out. Good to hear there are lots of options, even if database methods are a little new to me. I'm getting the hang of scripting so I'll stick at it!

BTW, the target text is from a find not a portal. I'm still getting my head round portals. They're not anything to do with the film 'Donnie Darko' are they...?

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Yes, they are :-) They are a view into another space (not another time), determined by the relationship of the portal, which specifies the starting field and the ending field. Often these viewed records are in another file, but they can also be within the same file. In version 7 there are more options, with multiple criteria for the relationship (table occurrence).

A portal is simply a layout device to display records of a relationship on the layout of parent file. Because you are on a record of the current file, the view is determined by the key field in that record; though this key could be a constant value, either calculated or a global field, which would produce the same portal on any parent record.

The actual portal records are in whatever file is the target of the relationship. You can go to them via the relationship, using Go To Related Records [show, Relationship]. You are then in the file with the records and they are the found set.

The Copy All Records step performs on the found set in the file where the step is called, on the fields on the layout active when it is performed. Usually you switch to a special layout, perform the step, then return to the original or another layout. Begin this script with Freeze Window and you never see it happen. The fields are then on the clipboard, to do whatever you want.

There are other ways to get this data out. XML/XSL export gives you control over the outcome. But as you said "newbie" I've not mentioned before. I've rarely used it myself, though for simple exports it is not terribly difficult, and can produce cross-platform text. AppleScript is also good at this, perhaps a little simpler than XML.

In the publishing world FileMaker, AppleScript and InDesign (and probably XML) are used routinely. I don't have InDesign; but I could come up with the AppleScript to get a clean text file. More options.

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