Fitting FileMaker to your needsFileMaker is such a versatile data organization tool that I'll provide a quick overview to help you gain an understanding of some of its potential.
Any database can impose some order to your information. Good database setup helps initially, but soon you want to use your information. Here's where FileMaker really shines. It has some distinct advantages over less endowed data management systems.
1) FileMaker incorporates a word processor and abilities from page layout and presentation programs. This combination allows your information to be presented effectively to your organization, to customers, clients and to the general public without the need to export data to other programs. Details from your statistics can be inserted into letters and other forms of communications automatically. Names, facts, figures and blocks of text, text that may be standard 'boilerplate' text, or instead unique to one communication can be mingled in one document.
2) FileMaker can insert photos, charts and other graphics into forms, letters and any document or presentation you create. And you can chart your data too.
3) FileMaker has multiple paths to the Internet. Instant Web Publishing is the simplest, while a PHP frontend to your FileMaker data allows unlimited potential on the web. You can also create customized web page generation systems tailored to your needs. Fill in a form, write your text, include ads, click on a button, and you are ready to place your page online.
4) FileMaker can integrate as many aspects of your operation as you care to digitize. Your suppliers, their products; your customers, their purchases. Even combine the two - which customer is buying from which supplier!
5) FileMaker can make custom labeled windows, named after the report its displaying or function being done, making what you are looking at obvious, and ready to be closed when you are done. You can ask FileMaker to display as much or as little information as is needed for each situation. And with the Accounts and Privileges features, you can decide who has access to which subsets of your information.
6) FileMker can display websites directly within your database file. This feature is so new all the potential uses have yet to be found. It is very useful for research projects, tracking competitors sites and extracting information off the web. I've been combining book research and internet research ion the same page display, making it easy to combine information from any source. An excellent tool for writers!.
7) Print directly on envelopes both your intended recipients address and your letterhead. Or use pre-printed envelopes and just print the recipient. Save the cost and labor of labels.
8) FileMaker now has automated charting abilities. Long a shortcoming, now this is a strength! Now you can watch your data climb into all the commonly used chart types. Printable, presentable and good looking too.
Want to relate data from different aspects of your business? No problem! Here are a few real-life ways to get more from your business records with FileMaker: Automatically incorporate information off the web too.
The basic facts - how many and how much - will be readily available for all your records, for sales, purchases, investigations, inquiries or for any other category you can create and track.
Place all products from a specific source onscreen alongside an order form automatically generated for that supplier, then drag and drop their part or item number into the order form to auto enter all needed detail there. Go back to enter quantities and you are done.
Let your sales figures combine with past orders to prompt you to order again.
Organize your research - click a button to find 'basics' in all categories, or find 'basics' in one category, or all notes and webpages on a specific subject or division of one subject. Integrate webpages directly into your database. Take notes off the web without leaving FileMaker.
Relate all product information together - descriptions, sources, costs, who is buying it, anything.
Use your database as a presentation tool. Eliminate the need for separate Powerpoint documents, use FileMaker and your already existing data instead. Create a template layout or two for use in all your presentations- online, in the classroom, in front of clients at meetings, on the road, at home or in the office. FileMaker excels at presenting photos, and selection the proper ones is a snap.
Use your already-recorded names and addresses to generate Google Maps (or use other map sources) without the need to reenter again. Print the map out along with the why and who and what about of the planned visit.
Once a tracking number for a shipment via FedEx, USPS or UPS is entered, automatically get the tracking results in FileMaker without reentering anything.
Tracking stocks? That can be automated too with FileMaker and web resources.
Use birthdays to produce age, days to the next birthday, or a list of all birthdays in the next week or month. Useful for keeping clients and family members happy! Generate a list of all US holidays for any year. All this with or without an actual calendar.