FileMaker Calculation Fields With Repetitions

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

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A calculation field can have a repeating storage option set for it just like a text, number, date, time, timestamp and container field.

Repeating fields are odd little things and I seldom use them anymore. Back before FileMaker 3, they were a workaround for the flat nature of FileMaker. According to the FileMaker wikipedia entry, FileMaker 3 rolled out in December 1995. So in the 13 + years since FileMaker went relational, repeating fields have been used as workarounds for things other than relationships (by experienced developers) and sometimes used instead of relationships (by inexperienced developers).

So there really is no way to say that repeating fields are used for this, that and the other. It is more like, “he/she is using repeating fields to do this, interesting”.

Calculations with repetitions are used primarily when interfacing with other repeating fields. This is so you have a clean calculation that extends what the standard repeating fields told you about a particular record. So if the standard field has 10 repetitions, your associated calculation will likely have 10 repetitions as well.

So in summary, a calculation can have a repeating storage option set for it, mainly so it can calculate results from other repeating fields accurately. You will generally run into this when an advanced developer is doing something “special”, when you are working on a very old file that hasn’t been modified in a long while or when a developer used a repeating field where they could have used a relationship portal.

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