Learning FileMaker Pro 15 - Volume 1

Complete Course for Mastering FileMaker Pro
4.5 (50 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a
course's star rating by considering a number of different factors
such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the
likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
166 students enrolled
Take This Course
  • Lectures 127
  • Length 20 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
Wishlisted Wishlist

How taking a course works


Find online courses made by experts from around the world.


Take your courses with you and learn anywhere, anytime.


Learn and practice real-world skills and achieve your goals.

About This Course

Published 5/2016 English

Course Description


UPDATED!!! Experience Richard's dynamic and exciting teaching format, while learning both basic, intermediate, and advanced FileMaker development skills. With 26 years of FileMaker experience and a long time speaker at FileMaker's Developer Conference, Richard will teach you all the ins and outs of building FileMaker Solutions, while keeping an eye on customizing your own copy of a FREE Starter Solution! 

  • Learn basic skills such as adding fields and managing layouts.
  • Learn intermediate skills, like script triggers, relationally connecting tables, and mastering the relationship graph.
  • Learn advanced skills like configuration and security of FileMaker Server.
  • Learning about deploying and hosting the database for hundreds of simultaneous users

The work file for this software is a copy of FM Starting Point, which is a completely free and unlocked CRM. This free database works on Macs, Windows, iPads, iPhone and Android devices. We'll teach you how to customize it for your business needs while learning important FileMaker skills.

This FULL course is a good step toward getting your FileMaker Certification. Remember this is part one of a two part course.

For maximum awesomeness... this course will reference a number of third party products, a couple of books, etc. I make NO money in these references. During this course, we will also reference the use of FM Starting Point... to use as a free software... to anchor the development of your internal systems. You will be required to input your personal information to get this free software.

What are the requirements?

  • This course assumes the user has FileMaker Pro 15 installed on their computer. Additional free software will be recommended and is optional to download.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Learn to to build and deploy FileMaker 15 solutions
  • Learn to organize and design a database
  • Learn to create buttons, and customize layouts
  • Learn to build scalable databases
  • Learn the basics behind SMTP, and email plugins
  • Learn tricks for performance optimization

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is a big course that covers topics for basic, intermediate and advanced skills.
  • No programming knowledge is required.
  • Intermediate users will learn a great deal, moving them into the "Expert" category.
  • Advanced users will benefit from learning techniques that they probably missed because they did not attend the annual FileMaker Developer's conference.
  • People with simple skills, like basic Excel skills will learn a tremendous amount from this course

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: 0100 - Introductions - Overview

Quick Course Summary

This training course focuses on FileMaker 15 and FM Starting Point 4.6, but is largely still applicable to FM 14, 13, 12, and 11.   There are corresponding versions of FM Starting point for these versions of FileMaker


FileMaker is a Box of Tools!

The FileMaker platform consists of many powerful products that allow you to build any type of custom solution you need... to solve any type of business need.


Examples of FileMaker Solutions

FM Starting Point solutions are finding their way into a number of different types of business, including the following: training, marketing, aviation, legal, etc.


Which FileMaker product(s) should I purchase?

Picking the right mix of FileMaker products is critical for successful business deployment. The current product lineup: One Server, and 3 types of clients - Pro, Go, and WebDirect


Operating System Compatibility issues, etc

A guide to understanding what devices and operating systems are needed to run various versions of FileMaker.  Also, for those with older operating systems.... you can purchase the current versions of FileMaker... and then "downgrade."


Pricing out FileMaker and FLT

A basic video about the math behind FileMaker's cost.

Along with telling about the brand New FileMaker Licensing program.


FileMakers Business Model

What and how connections work and cost.


Whats new in FileMaker 15

A breakdown of the awesome new features you can expect in FileMaker 15


What do I need to know...

Plugins now need to be 64 bit... for Windows and Mac.   32 bit plugs won't work anymore.  Keep in mind that I think that there is a 32 bit version of Pro available for Windows.  For this... 32 bit Plug-ins should be fine.

FileMaker Server has been 64 bit since FileMaker 13.


How do I host a file?

Basic outline of peer to peer hosting and FileMaker Server hosting... concepts and benefits of using FileMaker Server.


Pro Advanced is for Developers...

If you need to turn on encryption, debug a script that's going sideways, or import a script, table, or field from another file... then you will need FileMaker Pro Advanced.  There are an additional 8 or 9 other extra features as well.

Section 2: 0200 - FM Starting Point Walkthrough

Beginning Technical Walk through

Beginning of our technical walkthrough series, discussing the Preferences table, which has ONE RECORD.  We do not show the status area when displaying layouts.   Adding records to the preferences table is bad, and will result in erratic behavior of FMSP.


Desktop, iPad and WebDirect

Get the inside scoop on how and why RCC organized the FileMaker layouts the way we did, plus how we can support the devices that we support.   For example, there is minimal support the for the iPhone.  Why?  Watch and find out.


Learn our organizational secret for Scripts in FMSP

Well, it's not really a secret.  It's pretty straightforward, but new developers never think to do this.  We start you out on the "right foot" with FMSP.


Complexity is Banned in FMSP... violators will be banished

I want FMSP to be understood by new FileMaker users, power users, or by  "junior level" developers.   More experienced FileMaker developers who write complex advanced scripts prevent new FileMaker users from understanding a database... and as a result... prevent them from making useful customizations.


Technical Walkthrough

Accounts are really companies or organization.   Does your new project really need the accounts module?  If not, you can remove it.  FMSP key fields have prefixes.  We also walk through the various sections and secondary navigation modules.


Technical Walkthrough

Includes instructions on how to customize Invoice Status.  Also what fields may be removed... depending upon the structure of your database.  Also there is a limited inventory tracking system built in.

* 2 Different Printer Layout Styles are available for printing or emailing PDFs.

* Printed Layouts are managed differently in FMSP... than a typical on screen data entry layout.   We normally make sure they are different layouts... depending upon the intended use.

* Reporting is VERY limited in FMSP... since most businesses will have different needs and expectations for the reports the want to see.


Technical Walkthrough

Email Template automated system... for quick selection of emails, and firing them off to customers...

* We demo a version of the email template system, using an older database with an older UI.


Technical Walk through

The features here have been in use for a long time... and people really like it.   The 2nd half of the video is a technical under-the-hood look.


Discussion of Feature - Transactional Model

We discuss our deployment of a "transactional model" within FMSP.   We don't do this that often... but we need to here... because the FileMaker Inc. Invoice Starter solution has a serious defect.


A How to Walkthrough

Customizing the Estimate to invoice transfer process

uses skills that you have already worked on. You will learn how to format portal tabs as well  and make sure you completely understand the background to the overarching process


Also in Estimates

Margin and Markup are totally different formulas... so don't let their similarity fool you.


Digital Document Management and FMSP

In this video you'll learn about dealing with digital document management, why it's important, and where its used in FMSP


The Basic and Advance pieces of the Calendar System

Working On the User interface that the customer/developer works with and some of the smaller tips and tricks

We also discuss the deficiencies of the Calendar

We also learn about connecting other parts of your solution to the Calendar


Connecting to calendars in your solution

We learn about the behind the scenes in the relationships and diagnostics relating to Calendars

Notes and tasks can be elsewhere in your solution and we look at their automation into Calendars


Dynamically changing the value in a Tab Panel

All the in's and outs of the tab panel in FMSP and how to modify its values and calcs


Structural Considerations and Planning for Charts on a Dashboard

This video requires advanced skills found in later video courses The charts that we deal with are not based on number or text fields....We'll also be going over chart rendering and performance in your solution


Calculating the Charts... Word Problem Hell!!!

Lets teach you how to build A dashboard...keep in mind this is advanced and you'll need FileMaker skills from later videos in order to complete this.  You'll need also to understand Word problems and how they relate to solving your problems in your charts


Using PSOS... to speed the generation of the Charts!

PSOS remember is Perform Script On Server please remember that if you aren't an advanced user this video may be confusing.  This video wraps up the Chart building set of videos and in it we cover the actual chart building scripts themselves and how you apply them and where

Section 3: 0300 - Fundamentals and Basics

Basic video overview

Collections of Similar types of information goes into TablesFields are individual data elements.   What are outside examples of a database?  Ebay is one!   Database = Template = Solution.   The FileMaker platform uses the .fmp12 file format.   FileMaker uses screens, called Layouts.


Basic video overview

Files, Tables, Fields, and Layouts... and now we have relationships.   Relationships are driven by key fields.   Relationships allow data from multiple tables to be displayed on a single layout at one time.   Scripts are little computer programs that can help automate activities in FileMaker.


Browse, Find, Preview, and Layout

Browse mode is for using the database and editing the data.   Layout mode is for customizing the look of the database.   Find mode is for executing a Search in the database.   Preview is for "previewing" how a print job will look if the print command is run... or if a PDF is created from the current layout.   The menu bar changes based upon the mode you are in.


Basic database usage by end users

Super basic video that might be good for people who have no previous exposure to FileMaker.   Navigating between fields, Browse mode, flipping between records.   Deleting records is not necessarily a good thing, so think about that carefully.


Yah... its totally automatic.

FileMaker saves pretty much everything automatically.

There are a few caveats especially with backups and server though... we talk about those as well


Upgrading a DB from FileMaker 7, 8 , 9, 10, and 11 to 15

it's Pretty straightforward... but a couple of "gotcha's" and FYI's.


Upgrading a DB from FileMaker 4 or 5 to the FM 7 format...

If you have a simple database, then this can be a simple process.   But if you have a large complex solution, then this can be an ugly process.   You will need MetaDataMagic to help analyze the .fp5 format to determine all the issues that have to be mitigated.   

You might want to weigh the cost of migration, versus the cost of a total rebuild.  A number of companies opt to go with the rebuild.


The when why's and how's of Copying A FileMaker Database

You can use a copy of FMSP as a backup if you're testing something or you're about to make a big change that could potentially destroy the database... copying your database is almost never a bad idea

Section 4: 0400 - Performing Finds & Sorts

Search, Queries... FInds in FIleMaker

"Found sets" are collections of records that match a particular find request.  Find mode focuses all user activities on the "found set."   Default searches in FileMaker are wild card searches that search the first part of each word.


"and & "or" searches in FileMaker

Learning to do finds for various items at one time as an "and" find... or as an "or" find is an important skill to learn. 


Hunt down ranges of records based on a date

Performing a range search in FileMaker is one of the most useful skills to use, and to teach other FileMaker users.


Reserve characters can help Finds.

Special operators... i.e. reserved characters can do magical things when in FileMaker find mode.   Search for an empty field, email addresses, exact searches, or other wild card searches.


Where the rubber meets the road...

Understanding Indexes is the key to understanding how to make your finds run fast.   Make sure that fields that users will search on will be indexed.  If they are not indexed, expect SLOW performance.

Stored Calcs... will perform FINDS much faster.

Unstored Calcs ... cannot be indexed, resulting in slow searches.


95% of FileMaker users never use this.

Extending and Constraining a found set are super helpful skills to help figure out more complex finds... especially where multiple requests need to be worked out.  Unless you're a rocket scientist and you can do everything in your head, you will want to learn this skill set to help build complex finds.


Fundamental Basic Skill Set

Sorts are limited to the current found set.  Keep in mind, that added sorts will cause a performance hit on the database when you do it.  So automatic scripted sorts should only be used for those sorts that you actually need.   We haven't talked about scripting yet... but for now remember to limit sorts to perform only when needed.   Not just for fun... especially for shared databases on the internet.


Sorting AD and BC date fields.

Sorts sound simple, until you have AD and BC dates.  These are custom sort orders... and the content in which your sorting by cause problems and get complicated

Section 5: 0500 - Working on Fields and layouts

Overview of Layout Menu Bar

Basics of the layout tools for building and editing layouts.  Detailed discussion of the tool bar in layout mode.


4 panels of Goodness... a tool of modern FileMaker

Understanding all the panels of the inspector is important, and will come with time as you start building solutions in FileMaker.  FM12 only had 3 panels, but 13, 14, and 15 all have 4 panels.  We talk about the POSITION panel more in a later video on object alignment.  This is more of a well-rounded summary.

Short discussion about naming objects


Formatting fields - Adjusting Currency... etc.

Note: This is FMSP 4.5... although this is no longer the latest release.

Adding new fields; finding space on an FMSP layout for new fields; introduction to Tab Objects; introduction to locking objects; Aligning objects; format painter tool; formatting number field for financial currency data type; reordering tab panels.


Basics of Defining Calc fields and Hiding Objects.

Introduction to calculation fields and hidden objects.

*** We do NOT discuss Unstored Calc fields yet.


Defining fields, and Custom Formatting of Fields

Creating fields for a survey is easy.   Creating an easy-to-use survey takes more work.   Formatting the fields for easy data entry is the trick.  We will need to find a section in FMSP to build our pet survey.   We will need to delete some existing fields to make some room.


How Value Lists really work - Basic Value list setup

Radio buttons and check boxes gone wild... in FileMaker.  These tools can auto enter data into normal text fields which can be super handy.   Radio buttons and checks boxes can also obscure actual data in the field... if the actual data in the field does not match an approved value for the value list.


Also Managing Objects Layers in FileMaker

Deleting objects on a layout without affecting the database structure, managing object layers, and customizing Tab Controls which are made up of individual tab panels.   More advanced Object layering with hidden objects and conditional formatting of text blocks.


What do you do with funky formatted text?

Users frequently copy and paste text from other sources into a FileMaker database.   This creates local styling which can override your nice, pretty layouts.  You need to clean the text and learn how to format text fields.  Also covered: Selecting multiple objects in layout mode.


Add Dynamic data to a Text block

Seamlessly adding dynamic data in the form of fields, tightly mixed with blocks of text data is best handled by Merge fields, which cannot be manually edited in BROWSE mode.


Performance and Update Issues

Sometimes you have a choice between using a Stored Calc, and an Unstored Calc.   But often, FileMaker will FORCE you to use a unstored calc... because of the contents of the formula.

3 Things That can Make a Stored Calculation Field Reevaluate:

(1) When you First Define the Field... (Duh)

(2) Make a new record. FileMaker will reevaluate the Calculation

(3) If LOCAL referenced data Changes (Local... Not related data). Variables are NOT considered Locally referenced data.   They are nothing.  Not Local data and not referenced data.

Stored Calc cannot handle variables at all... and will not evaluate reliably.   Think of Variables like transient Get functions.  Always in flux and changing.  For that reason... if your connecting a variable to a calculation filed, make sure it is unstored.

Unstored Calcs have the Same Dependencies, plus one additional One:

* If the Unstored Calc is drawn on screen... it will reevaluate.


FileMaker forces a Calc to be Unstored if:

(1) Reference Related Data

(2) Reference Global Field

(3) Reference Summary Field

(4) Reference another Unstored Calc (in case you're trying to cheat)


Summary of Button Options

Use conditional formatting to control Glyph Color. Glyphs are a GRAPHIC on top of a button.


Button Bar used in a Very Clever Fashion

The Creator of FileMaker's Starter Solutions, Nick Hunter, showed me this technique.


Understand these layout objects

Slide Controls were added in FileMaker 13 and sometimes developers get confused as to the proper deployment for Tab Controls... as opposed to Slide Controls. 


Popovers quickly display additional info

Popovers may seem cute and cuddly, but they have some serious short comings for both the FileMaker Go and WebDirect platforms.   For FileMaker Pro... Popovers provide another awesome option for providing data, adding navigational controls, etc. Record locking is discussed.


Lots of options of auto populating data into fields

Auto enter options can fire upon creation of a record, upon modification, or upon trigger of a calculation, etc.   They are extremely powerful.   They are used to form the "backbone" of the automatic processes that drive FileMaker.  My opinion... is that they are still useful... but more complex situations would probably be better suited by leveraging script triggers, which are new tool with exponentially more precision and power.


Digital Document Storage

Starting with the release of FM 12, and improved in 13, 14 and 15... Digital Document Management is now built into the base FileMaker Platform... without the need for 3rd party add-ons.


Understanding streaming, Scripting etc

Selecting "Interactive Content" can hose performance for a hosted solution.  Plus we wrote some scripts to allow for easy opening of the container content.  We also show how FM Go shows "Interactive" containers.  We also show how to script the export of the container, into a temporary folder, and then have the operating system open it.


Final thoughts on how to stay out of trouble

Unless you are a senior FileMaker Kung-Fu developer, the "Store Only as a Reference to a File" option is bad news, and will get you in trouble.   This is essentially a FileMaker legacy behavior that has been preserved in the newest version of FMP.  I would recommend staying away from this.


Major concept for Developers

Understanding how FileMaker files behave when shared with multiple users is an important skill if you do much work in FileMaker.  Understanding record locking, sorts, find, and Global fields... are all important to successfully deploying a shared solution.  Of course FMSP already is designed to be shared... so we thought this out in advance, but you will want to learn this if you do much development.   Record locking ... which is handled automatically by FileMaker will result in a Lock Sync Error... if 2 people try to edit the same record at the same time.


Unique tools...one value for every record

Global fields are a great tool for scripting and other unique data organization.  Globals have different properties.   One value for the table... but essentially accessible anywhere in the file through a relationship.


Popup text by mouse hovering

A user can add a text description to various objects in Layout mode.  This text will then pop-up when a user hovers their mouse over the corresponding object.  This has limited uses... largely due to the lack of controls provided by FMI.


Lots of features means lots of little icons

Part of learning to develop in FileMaker is learning all the little icons that may be assigned to an object in layout mode.


Aligning Objects and Misc features

Learning the various methods for aligning objects, and learning what works for YOU as a developer is an important step in your development.   We will also spend some time in the VIEW menu item and also the POSITION panel of the inspector.  Multiple Inspectors, Grid system, & customizing toolbar is "User Specific" so changes are not shared with other people. Also learn about: Unlimited number levels of undos and Grouping and Ungrouping objects.


Managing Stencils for all the iOS Devices

In addition to customizing a prebuilt FileMaker template like FM Starting Point, you can create a layout from scratch.  You can specify a custom layout size in the Stencil.  When you create a layout, you can also specify a custom layout size.  Please reference the 2 cheat sheets in the work files for this training course.


Old school field Validations...that apply at the field definition level

WordCount allows you to count the number of words.


When I was your age...I walked 10 miles to school...barefoot...in the snow!

Before FileMaker 3 we needed repeating fields... and the LOOKUP functionality to make basic databases in FileMaker.  Now... we use repeating fields sparingly.  FM Starting Point uses repeating fields to help manage containers.  In the mathematics and engineering fields, these are essential arrays... 1-D arrays.


Stay in Layout mode...and understand the badges...

No more drilling down for conditional formatting, etc, etc.   FileMaker 14 introduced Layout level tooltips... to tell you all the attributes for an object.  Very cool!


Managing Portals and Invoices...

By modifying your portal you can create a multi-page invoice.  It is simple, yet powerful.


Inside the Event Management Starter Solution...

The Event Management Starter Solution demonstrates some cool new menus and labels


Container fields in FileMaker will act different depending on whether they are set with interactive content or not.

NOT a remote container video... this video deals with the more common interactive fields and tips and tricks with the interactivity components


How to display currencies besides Dollars.

The ins and outs of Currencies in FileMaaker....and how to represent them correctly through appropriate number fields.


Making sure Money...looks like Money....

This video finishes up the currency dialog with how to get them properly formatted in a textfield and the troubles and resolution to that.


Validate with the USPS...

A decently advanced discussion about validating addresses along with Guest speaker Jonathan Ray.

Section 6: 0600 - Advanced Layout Techniques

Shared Styles and Themes Part 1

 Most legacy layouts will have the "Classic" theme, and that is very wasteful and slow when compared to other themes.  Using a custom theme and shared Styles, like what we did for ALL layouts in FMSP 4.6, will make layouts load twice as fast.   Before we start customizing a theme, we should remove unnecessary objects from the layouts... to minimize network traffic from the server to the client.


Shared Styles and Themes Part 2

Learn to make a layout load twice as fast.  This video is one of the most critical videos to watch if you want to learn how to lighten your layouts and make the load 200% faster.  No Joke.  This is a new technique in FileMaker 13 and optimized in 14 and 15.


Shared Styles and Themes Part 3

Learn not to blow up your hard work of shared styles.  Avoid the format painter tool because it creates it own blocks of CSS... AKA a "local CSS override."   Be careful about copying objects from one layout, to another layout that uses a different theme.


Massive Performance Improvements

This is a super clever process that I learned from Nicholas Hunter (the creater of FileMaker's Starter Solutions).  This saves a ton of processing time and effort if you have a number of hidden objects with the same formula.  This can be a factor in performance improvements.


Scanning for hidden objects...

This Get function is handy for determining if something is actually hidden... without using a big long calculation.


With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility!

OnWindowFirstOpen, OnWindowOpen, OnWindowClose, and OnWindowLastClose.


Pre Trigger and Post Trigger Execution, and Layout Targeted Triggers

OnLayoutEnter, OnModeEnter, OnRecordLoad.  OnLayoutSizeChange is pretty much targeted at FileMaker Go users, so we cover this trigger in our FileMaker for Mobile Devices video course... in great detail.


Stopping Pre Trigger Events...with a Script Parameter

OnObjectEnter, OnObjectKeystroke, OnLayoutKeystroke, OnPanelSwitch... for Tab or Slide Panels. 


Managing field validations and workflow

OnObjectModify, OnObjectValidate, OnObjectSave, OnObjectExit.   Some of the most used script triggers!

New content dealing with more subtle issues of the script triggers. We also discuss Directed Workflow... for workflow management.


Exiting Objects, Records and Layouts

OnRecordCommit, OnRecordRevert, OnViewExit, OnModeExit, OnLayoutExit, OnWindowClose, InstallOnTimer.

InstallOnTimer is an automatic Window Script activator tool.


*** Super Advanced Topic ***

Advanced discussion, covering the use of OnRecordLoad Script Trigger, Get (NthRecord),  Get(RecordNumber).   Cartesian Join, Summary field List field.


*** Super Advanced Topic *** Uses Virtual List...

You need to have mastered the previous video on virtual list prior to watching this video.

Sample files available from http://www.newleafdata.com


*** Semi Advanced Topic ***  

How to jump from one record... to another through a relationship.  Also covers how this interacts with Anchor Buoy, and the design methodology of FMSP.

Also covers error trapping error 101, and the option of setting up Portals to add records by clicking on a new line... i.e. "Cascading adds"


*** Semi Advanced Topic ***  

Richard Carlton and Michael Wallace go under the hood of the RCC FileMaker Layout Optimizer. From analyzing scripts to discussion of the Base Elements plugin, there is a lot of great info to be learned!

To download the RCC FileMaker Layout Optimizer: http://rcconsulting.com/downloads.html


You need to hack SVG's to get them to work with FileMaker 

Featuring Claus Lavendt of DataManix... who explains what an SVG is... how its different that a PNG... and how to hack the SVG to get it to work with FM15.  Unless it is hacked, FMI won't be able to control the color the icon dynamically.   The helper tool assists with this.

Section 7: 0700 - Emailing, Imports and Exports

Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed

  • Loading
  • Loading
  • Loading

Instructor Biography

Richard Carlton, CEO & Senior Engineer

Richard Carlton
CEO & Senior Engineer
Richard Carlton Consulting Inc
Senior Trainer and Platform Advocate

Richard Carlton is the CEO, and a Senior Engineer at Richard Carlton Consulting Inc. and its subsidiaries.

Richard has been involved with the FileMaker platform since 1990 and has grown RCC into one of the largest top tier FileMaker consultancies worldwide. Richard works closely with RCC's staff: a team of 28 FileMaker developers and supporting web designers. He has offices in California, Nevada, and Texas. Richard is a frequent speaker at the FileMaker Developers Conference on a variety of topics involving mobile application development, and client server integration.

Richard is the Product Manager for FM Starting Point, the popular and most downloaded free FileMaker CRM Starter Solution.

Richard has previously worked with VTC as a Video Training Author, and then later, started a new video publishing company, dedicated to the needs of the FileMaker community. LearningFileMaker is a new startup, and is dedicated to the FileMaker Platform, with hundreds of videos and upwards of 50 hours of recorded content available for free.

Richard won 2015 Excellence Award from FileMaker Inc (Apple Inc) for outstanding video and product creation, leading to enhanced business development.

RCC and LearningFileMaker are headquartered in Santa Clara, CA.

Ready to start learning?
Take This Course