Getting Down And Funky With The FileMaker Getfield Function

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

TWITTER: dwaynewright
YOUTUBE: FileMakerThoughts

Introduced with version FileMaker 5.5, this is an odd little function. Kind of a “ is it a dessert topping, is it a floor wax or is it both?” The syntax for the function is ruthlessly simple, GETFIELD(name of field).

The GetField function can return at least two different results based upon if you include quotation marks in the syntax of the field name. If you use quotation marks, you get the information inside of the field. If you don’t use quotation marks, it looks at what is inside of that field, it the data inside the field equal the name of another field, it returns the contents of that field.

Without quotes - value in the field

With quotes - name of the field

So let’s say we have a field called “Variable” and currently it has the text string “First Name” in that field. In that same file, we also have a field called “First Name” and that field contains the text string of “Dwayne.”

If we setup the function as GetField(variable), the function will return the text string of “First Name” as it’s result.

If we setup the function as GetField(“variable”), the function will return the text string of “Dwayne” as it’s result. Given that my name is typed into that field for the record I’m on.

I know that the GetField function takes a little getting used to ... however ... it is a truly fantastically flexible function. I can be very handy in sorting portals and I’ll add an example of that in a later discussion.

More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at

© 2007 - Dwayne Wright -

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.