Importing Concerns With FileMaker Auto-Enter And Repeating Fields

From Dwayne Wright PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM
Certified FileMaker Developer

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When you are importing data into a table that has field auto enter options or repeating fields, you may have to make a decision that can affect the integrity of the data in the file. When this is the case, FileMaker will toss up a dialog box to warn you about the situation.

This is the dialog box that FileMaker will show you when your import operation may affect auto-enter or repeating fields.

Auto-enter fields (such as serial value fields and lookups) may need special attention. Most database files have a primary key field. That is a field that uniquely identifies every record in the file by the data in that field. This is a key element in many relationships between two FileMaker files. Normally, you will want to have the perform auto-enter options checked to make sure that auto-enter options are performed. In some cases, the lookups that are also done when this option is checked can cause you problems.

Say that you have been working on the FileMaker files off-line and are going to upload them to your server. You import the data from the server because it contains information that you don’t have in your new files. If you have the auto enter / lookup check during the import, the lookup data will be the most current information and NOT the data when the record was originally entered in. An invoice database would be a prime example. It would import the latest prices for products and not the prices they were originally sold at. Think about your data ( in both source and destination files ) before you check or un-check this option.

For the most part, repeating fields are not used that much any longer. They were popular before FileMaker 3 came out and were used mostly because FileMaker was not a relational database back in those days. As with the auto-enter option, think about your data ( in both source and destination files ) before you check or uncheck this option.

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