Lookups In FileMaker Portals Not Working Reliably

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

WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
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YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

Any FileMaker table can lookup data from a related table as long as the relationship is valid between the two table. This can include the fields in a portal and the child table they belong to. Please forgive me if this seems vague but the topic is challenging to describe.

You can setup the fields in a portal to perform a lookup. That is to say that one field in a portal can do an auto enter lookup action based upon data you place in another field.


For example, I have a FileMaker database that I use to enter in office expenses. In the parent file, I have the date and vendor specifics. I have a portal in this file for all the possible line items on an expense record. The line items file has a relationship to itself. This way the tax classification information can automatically be entered from a previous record. Other information can be auto entered as well including quantities and amounts. This is handy for expenses that reoccur with very little variation.

Now on occasion, the lookups in the portal row will fail. If you have a similar setup, this could be happening to you as well. The reason my lookups will fail is that I didn’t exit the newly created parent record before I started entering data in the portal. This causes the cascading relationship I use for the lookup in the child file to no longer be valid.

So if you encounter this problem, simply exit the record before entering data into the portal. This can be done by clicking outside of a field or using the ENTER key on your keyboard.

Explaining this to all your users may be more challenging. In this case you can create a button of some sort to help the users exit the record.

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