FileMaker13 in the Music Classroom – Contacts

FileMaker Large IconWhen you purchase FileMaker13 you are given starter solutions to get you going. Those solutions are very useful – you can learn many tricks and techniques by tearing them apart and looking at how they are constructed for one thing. Another reason they are useful is that you can take that starter solution and adjust it for your situation very easily! This gives you an excellent looking database with a whole lot less work! The starter solutions all come with very nice layouts for using the database on a desktop computer, then there are specific iPad layouts as well as iPhone layouts plus layouts for web based access. Each layout has been setup for a superb user experience on whichever platform you are using.

One of the huge reasons I bought the updated version 13 of FileMaker is the fact that there are so many ways to easily create layouts for iPad and iPhone now. they have done much of the “figuring out” of the specifics for you – like how big everything should be on desktop vs iOS.

Another reason is that there are now sliding panels (saves room on your layout and work so much better than the tabbed interfaces from the past)

A third reason are the new popovers, a technique borrowed from the iOS platform that works so very well in a database!

I took the Contacts starter solution and tore it apart and tweaked things to work for my job as a Band Director. There are some simple steps to make this happen that are not difficult at all. Then if you want to get fancier you may have to dig in a little bit more to learn some more advanced techniques (but seriously, if I can do this, anyone can!)

Step 1 – I got rid of some of the fields that I would not be using. then I added a bunch of fields that I needed because of my situation.

Step 2 – I moved things around in layout mode to better suit me and the way I wanted to work.

Step 3 – I repeated those two steps for the iPad layouts as well as the iPhone layout.

Step 4 – I dug into the layouts and scripts and tweaked some more there -Things like….

  • when clicking on the email icon in the original would bring up only the work email and personal emails. I re-did it so that the following emails would pop up – Personal, Moms, and Dads email.
  • the information on the side panel was not as useful to me until I tweaked it to show parent information as well
  • I added a sliding panel on the right hand side for Personal Info in the desktop layout and Parent Info in the iPad layout.

Take a look at the before and after pics below….

Contacts Original
Contacts Original


Contacts DataBase Tweaked
Contacts DataBase Tweaked

You really should just go try these databases out for yourself. There is a free demo you can download for FileMaker13 from their website. Plus the FileMakerGo app for iOS is now free!

WRAPING IT UP – Some video for you…
Making those changes really are not difficult at all and did not take more than one evening of work – the hardest part was to get the look just right. Things like those lines around the fields and whether or not they should be curved.

I think that pictures are worth a 1000 words but video is worth even more so here are a few YouTube videos I put together to show you where I am at. there is still more to do but what I have so far is just so stinking cool – the fact that I have sweet looking layouts for desktop, iPad and iPhone has me very excited!

The Overview….

Adding Pictures and the List view….

What it looks like on the iPad….

and last but not least it what it looks like on my iPhone….




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