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Please excuse my noobness. Back in the day (1990's -2002ish), I used to develop FMP databases as part of my income but haven't really done anything for years. I'm not even sure that Filemaker is the solution I'm looking for but thought I'd post here and get some feedback.

I'm a jailer in a county jail and we need to keep track of what inmates are where. Currently we use an Excel spreadsheet that I created but it keeps getting corrupted, loses formating, etc. Upkeep is a nightmare so I'd like to explore other options. With my distant FMP background, Filemaker was the first thing that came to mind.

I'd like to emulate the columnar layout of the spreadsheet, so as not to confuse the jail staff, or make them have to learn a whole new system for our inmate log. Generally speaking, as a group we aren't that computer savvy.

So, what do you think? Is FMP a good solution? Specifically, here is what I want to emulate:

The Excel workbook consists of 4 worksheets one for each housing unit (pod) and is printed out and used in landscape mode. Each sheet has 9 columns: Cell, Level, Name, Bail/Outdate, Work Release, Next Court, Mantoux, Meds, and Notes.

Ideally, the database should look pretty much like the spreadsheet (I've attached a pdf of one of the A Pod housing unit sheet, names changed of course), so that jailers could just click in fields and enter data as they do now. Best case would be that an inmate could be changed to a different cell just by changing the cell number (the inmate and all corresponding info would then appear on the correct housing unit sheet).

Is Filemaker a good solution for this? If so, how should I structure the database?

Any help or advise is greatly appreciated. BTW, I'm using FMP 6.

Thanks and sorry for the long post,



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  • 2 weeks later...

Could you post a little more detailed description of what kind of data goes in each field? I have no clue what Mantoux is: could be a boolean value, a date, text, or a number.

And is FMP 8 or 8.5 a possibility? I've found that when you're dealing with less computer savvy individuals, the opening and closing of multiple files in FMP 6 can lead to some frustrating problems. Even if all they have to do is click in a box and type, somebody will find a way to screw it up. Having multiple tables in one file is sooo much easier to work with. It's definitely doable in 6, if that's a limitation.

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