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Tips and Tricks

TSC is committed to helping you succeed. Our focus is on our customers! Below you will find some tips and tricks we have developed to help you get the most from FileMaker Pro and your computer.

Have a tip you think would help other users? Send us an e-mail and we will post your tip on the site with a link to your site. E-mail us at tips@fmdeveloper.com.

The topics we cover in our FREE Tips and Tricks Section are:

FileMaker Tips and Tricks
Networking Tips and Tricks
Anti-Virus Tips and Tricks
Security Tips and Tricks
Website Development Tips and Tricks
General Computing

We would also like to hear your feedback on the 'Tip of the Week' feature and our tips and tricks section. Please contact us with your input.

FileMaker Tips and Tricks

Scripting Technique - Using Allow User Abort and Error Capture

Always start scripts with Allow User Abort (off) and Set Error Capture (on). By doing so, you can ensure the user will not cancel the script before it is completed. By turning error capture on, you are able to provide "catches" when an error occurs, and capture user responses to messages. Download a sample script here.  For more tips on how to make the most of FileMaker contact us to discuss your needs.

Export a file with a header record directly from FileMaker

We have a new sample database and documentation for how to create a header record for a .csv or .tab export. This is just one technique that can be used to create a header record for an export. You can download a .zip file of the documentation, FileMaker database and sample export here. Still have questions? Contact us and we can offer you support via e-mail. Check out our rates here.

A basic inventory system developed in FileMaker - Learn how to build your own

This week's tip involves developing a simple inventory system. This system allows for the entry of items, addition and deduction of inventory. This system is not password protected, so feel free to look at how you can accomplish this for yourself. If you need assistance on a project, contact us! You can download a .zip file with the sample system here.

Easily identify duplicate records in your FileMaker databases - An easy to implement solution to the duplicate record problem

Duplicate records can cause trouble in many FileMaker databases. This tutorial will show you how to create an easy way to identify duplicates. All it takes is a relationship and 2 fields to find all duplicates in your FileMaker database. Download a PDF file with instructions here. Download the sample FileMaker database here. Still have questions? Have a project you need help with? Contact us today!

Sending e-mail from FileMaker without the Outlook warning and 5 second delay

Many FileMaker Pro databases use the built in Send Mail script function to send e-mails directly from FileMaker. With the security updates on Outlook a dialog appears that gives the user the option to allow the e-mail to be sent or to deny the request. The worst part of all is the 5 second delay with the dialogue box. There IS a solution. Express ClickYes is a free program that will make that dialogue disappear. Download the free program here and say goodbye to the problem of sending e-mail directly from FileMaker.

A FileMaker survey program for you to use for FREE or learn to build your own

This week's tip is how to create a simple survey program in FileMaker. The sample database allows you to collect user results and view the result summaries. All of this is accomplished using only 5 fields. This is the first sample provided that uses FileMaker 7. You can download the sample database here.

Scripting Technique - Loop through records and combine a value from all records into one filed - Use for blast e-mails

A bonus tip this week! In response to a request on a FileMaker forum, we have created a sample database that will create a list of all e-mail addresses in a file. This unlocked file allows you to learn how to loop through all records in your file, and create a field containing all of the e-mail addresses separated by a comma (or other delimiter you choose). Download the file here.

Sub-Summary report creation to show totals

If you need to create a report that shows the total number of values in a field, there is a simple technique to create a report that displays your data. First, create a calculation field whose result is a calculation equal to one. Next, create a summary field of your calculation field. Then, create a layout and place the field you are evaluating and the summary field in a sub-summary layout part sorted by the field you are evaluating. Finally go to the layout, sort by the value and you have a count of the fields. Download a sample file here.

Using an Opener file to run a script at intervals or allow users to open remote files

Our Tip of the Week this week is a tutorial on how to use an "Opener" file in your FileMaker solutions. This tutorial applies to Windows machines, but the basic concept of the FileMaker Opener file works on the Macintosh platform. With this tutorial you can schedule a remote script to run automatically at regular intervals. Read the full PDF file on the "Opener" File here. As always, we welcome your input on our FREE Tips and Tricks.

Go to a different FileMaker layout based on the number of records in the found set

This tip relates to FileMaker Pro development. This is a great way to add a little extra degree of customization to your solution. This tip is a PDF file that shows a script that goes to a layout depending on the number of records found. If only one record is found, you go just to a form layout. If more than one record is found, then go to a list view. Download this FileMaker Tip PDF here. This script was written using FileMaker Pro version 7, but will work in any version of FileMaker. (Just change Get(FoundCount) to Status(CurrendFoundCount).

Special offer from FileMaker Inc on FileMaker software

FileMaker, Inc. has a special offer to get you up and running with FileMaker software. They are offering a FileMaker bundled solution that contains a copy of FileMaker Server, FileMaker Developer, FileMaker Pro and a year of maintenance. You have three options to choose from and you can save up to $500. Find more information at FileMaker.com.

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Networking Tips and Tricks

How to secure your wireless network - Free tips

Wireless networks have become extremely popular with businesses and consumers alike. Many users do not understand the security issues that come with having a wireless network in place. Here are some tips to protect your wireless network:

  • Change the password on your router from the default
  • Enable WEP security on your router
  • If your router supports it, limit access to the network to only the MAC address of your computer
  • After configuring your computer(s) to access the wireless network disable SID broadcast

Contact us for more information on how we can help make your wireless network perform at its best, and keep your information and network secure.

Remotely access your PC from anywhere - $10 off through TSC

This week's tip is for all of you who have ever forgotten a document on your computer at home, or wanted to check your e-mail that you can only get from home. GotoMyPC offers a great service that is easy and secure to use. By using GotoMyPC you can access your home or office computer from anywhere! Their service is perfect for busy people everywhere. And for a limited time, get $10 off when you sign up by clicking on the link below. Not ready to purchase the service yet? Just sign up for the free trial and experience full access for free! Find a review of GoToMyPC here.

GoToMyPC Free Trial + $10 Off

An automatic backup solution for home and business users

Many people lose valuable data because they do not back up their important information stored on their computer. Their are many ways to backup this information, but a new one has arrived that is easier than the rest. The Mirra backup unit will automatically back up the information from the folders on your computer that you specify. Not only do these units allow you to backup files, it also allows you to share files with anyone over the internet with no monthly fees. The 80 GB unit costs only $399. Interested? Click the link below and either purchase or request more information from Mirra. Don't lose any valuable information the next time your computer fails.
Secure online storage using XDrive just got better!

XDrive has just increased the amount of online storage they provide to customers. They now give 5 Gb of storage (used to by 500 Mb). This greatly increases the value of their product. If you were waiting for a good time to get online storage, the time has come. For under $10 per month, you get 5 Gb of storage. Just click the icon below, to signup or get more info today!

5GB of Secure Online Storage - Free Trial

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Anti-Virus Tips and Tricks

Protect your computer with this FREE anti-virus program

A new week has brought a new virus. Always keep your anti-virus software up to date. Don't have an antivirus program? Grisoft offers a free, full version anti-virus program on their site, www.grisoft.com. We highly recommend this program.

The best way to protect your computer - Free Anti-Virus, Free Spyware Removal Tools, and the best personal Firewall Program

Spyware and viruses are a constant threat to computer users at home and office alike. TSC recommends the following programs for all computer users:

Grisoft AVG Anti-virus (Free for home users)
Lavasoft Ad-Aware (Free)
Spybot Search and Destroy (Free)
Zone Labs - ZoneAlarm Pro ($39.95)

TSC recommends that you set AVG to update virus definitions each day, and to scan your computer each day. Also, be sure that you enable real-time protection and e-mail scanning. Run Ad-aware once a week and remove any spyware on your machine. You should also run Spybot once a week, as it may find some spyware that Ad-aware does not find. ZoneAlarm Pro is a firewall program that protects your computer from hackers. They also offer protection against spyware. Following our recommendations will help keep your computer running at its best.

Business Anti-Virus Solution and Free Online Virus Scans

Everyone should have an anti-virus program installed on their computer. We recommend AVG by Grisoft, as it is free for home users. You can download the free version
here, or if you are a business, you can find pricing information here. However, you can also run a virus scan online for free. We do not recommend relying on online virus scanning, rather you can use the online scanning to supplement your currently installed anti-virus software. Trend Micro offers a free online scanning tool here. Panda Software also offers a free virus scanning tool here.

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Security Tips and Tricks

Quickly remove spyware from your computer with Ad-Aware

As you surf the internet, cookies (a small file stored on your computer) are used to keep track of certain personal information. Not all cookies are bad, but many track your actions on the internet. A FREE program, Lavasoft Ad-Aware will scan your computer and remove these "tracking cookies". You can download the program at the Lavasoft website. Download these program, and run it weekly. Always check for updates before running the scan.

Another program to remove spyware, Spybot Search and Destroy

Another program that will remove spyware (tracking information placed on your computer while surfing the web), auto-dialers and other items that invade your privacy is Spybot Search and Destroy. Download this program from Download.com and make your computer safe today!

Protect your computer with a personal firewall

This week's tip is about protecting your computer from hackers and spyware. A great program is Zone Alarm Pro. We have tested Zone Alarm Pro and find it to be the best that we have used. Many people do not need personal firewall protection on their home machines. Many people do not realize that their broadband router is protecting them. However, it is always good to have extra protection, especially on a laptop that you use on a variety of networks. You can download Zone Alarm Pro for only $39.95. Zone Alarm Pro will let you know each time that a program on your computer attempts to access the internet and you can determine whether you want to allow the program to access the internet. Zone Alarm Pro can also block spyware before it is installed on your computer. You get all of these features for $39.95, so download or order the CD today.


Download PC Protection- Download Now

A Great program to find and remove Spyware

Spyware is a big problem on most computers these days. Studies have found 90% of computers have Spyware installed on them. A good program to check for Spyware is HijackThis. Now, this program can be dangerous, because it lists both good and bad files on your computer. To prevent yourself from deleting good files, we suggest putting your HijackThis log onto a forum where other users will point you in the right direction. A good forum to use is http://spywarewarrior.com/viewforum.php?f=5. Another good forum to get help with your HijackThis log is http://www.techsupportforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=50.

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Website Development Tips and Tricks

Get Higher Rankings, find keywords, control site quality and more!

Want to improve your search engine rankings but don't have the time or knowledge? Use Web CEO to get you started - it is a good tool to research keywords, check for site errors and more. They even have a free edition. Just click the link below to get started NOW!

Add live chat capabilities to your website for FREE with Boldchat

This week's tip is to help you provide your website visitors with the highest level of customer service possible. One great way to accomplish this is to offer live chat on your website. The best program we have found is BoldChat from Bravestorm. They offer a free version with limited functionality, with upgrades available for a fee. Visit www.boldchat.com for more information and help yourself achieve a higher level of customer service.

Website Hosting Company Reviews - Over a year of research

Over the last year, TSC has tested several website hosting companies. We have published our results on our site, to help you make the best decision when choosing a website hosting company. You can view our website hosting company reviews online.

Start an online business with a FREE, powerful shopping cart

Ever wanted to have an online business? Have the perfect product to sell? DON'T spend ANY money on a shopping cart! That's right - the best shopping cart around is FREE! OS Commerce is an open-source shopping cart that has all of the features of the high priced shopping carts, and MORE! Because it is open source, many modifications have been made by developers, so no matter what the desire, you can find a solution our there. DON'T PAY A DIME FOR A SHOPPING CART! Download and install OS Commerce today - better yet, choose a website hosting company (almost all that we recommend do) that offers OS Commerce, and avoid installing OS Commerce manually!

Need a tweak to OS Commerce, but don't know PHP and/or MySQL? We can help. Contact us for more information.

A robots.txt file for your website - more important than you might think!

What's the most important thing for your website (aside from not using Flash)? A robots.txt file - this is the file that tells the search engine spiders (the tools the search engines use to read your pages into their index) what they can and can't see. What's the simplest robots.txt file you can have?

User-agent: *

This tells the search engine spider that any of them can see anything on your site. For most websites that's all you need - if you have an admin section or some other pages you don't want the world to be able to see, this is the place to put it.

To lazy, or unsure if you can create your own robots.txt file? Use the
robots.txt creator tool at http://www.webtoolcentral.com/webmaster/tools/robots_txt_file_generator/.

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Internet Tips and Tricks

Remove Internet Explorer Headers when Printing

This week's tip is to show you how to remove the headers that print on pages when you print from Internet Explorer. This simple tip will help get rid of the annoying header and footer easily. You can get this tip in pdf format here. This is also a good time to let you know: YOU SHOULD NOT USE INTERNET EXPLORER. There are better, more secure alternatives to Internet Explorer. The two best are free and are: Mozilla and Firefox. You can download both of these web browsers here. The reason for not running Internet Explorer is the large amount of security holes that exist in Internet Explorer. Using these alternative browsers is not enough to protect your computer. We still recommend that you follow our previous tips relating to anti-virus, spyware and firewall software.

Protect your children from pornography, or monitor your employee's web habits

Is your child being exposed to pornography while surfing the Internet? Are you sure?
Click Here to find out.

For parents with children, monitoring their internet activity can be a very difficult thing to do. You could be unaware that your child is being exposed to pornography. If you want to protect your child,
Content Watch is the product for you. Content Watch lets you take control of the internet your child is exposed to.

Content Watch also has plans available for businesses to monitor the internet activity of its employees. Protect yourself from legal problems by using Content Watch. Just click the link above or below and get protected today!


Organize your MP3s, burn music CDs and play MP3s

Do you have a lot of MP3s that you need to organize? Want a great MP3 player, and streaming internet radio? Music Match is the program for you. They have released the latest version of the MusicMatch Jukebox 10. You can organize your MP3s, copy them to your MP3 player, or listen to live internet radio. They even offer you a lifetime upgrade. MusicMatch 10 is the best MP3 player available for your computer! Stop using Windows Media Player, and upgrade to MusicMatch Jukebox 10.

Musicmatch Jukebox 10 - Get more out of your music

Surf the Web more securely by using Firefox by Mozilla

Get rid of Internet Explorer! Mozilla has updated their popular Firefox browser to version 1.01. The best way to protect yourself while on the web is by using Firebox instead of internet explorer. Download Firefox and stop using Internet Explorer now. Unfortunately, you should keep Internet Explorer on your computer, because some sites will work only with IE.

Get Firefox!

A good RSS reader

If you spend any time on the web, you have probably heard of RSS. RSS stands for really simple syndication and it is a way to share information on the web. It is most popular for reading news and blogs. A great tool to view RSS files, and monitor them for changes is
http://www.rssreader.com/. Try it out and keep up to date on the latest information on the web.

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General Computing Tips and Tricks

How to partition your hard drive

Many people, have only one partition on their computer. This means that all of your operating system, program, and documents are on the same logical drive. As a result, if your operating system crashes, it is more likely that you will loose all of your documents. In order to avoid this, you should partition your drive into 3 segments. One partition for your operating system and program files, one for your operating system paging file, and one for your documents. For example, if you have a 40 GB hard drive, we recommend 15 GB for the OS and Programs, 5 GB for the paging file, and 20 GB for your documents.

This configuration will help to limit your exposure to crashes, and get you back up and running quickly.

To install or not to install Windows XP Service Pack 2

Windows XP Service Pack 2 has been released for some time now. Have you installed it yet? We have tried installing Service Pack 2 on several different machines running Windows XP. Our results...do NOT install Service Pack 2 unless you do a clean install of Windows XP. On ALL machines that we installed Service Pack 2 on, aside from those with a clean install of XP, we experiences SEVERE problems.

Final Recommendation: Do NOT install Service Pack 2 for Windows XP, unless you do a clean install. If you do try to run Service Pack 2 on a machine that does not have a clean install of Windows XP, be sure to backup ALL of your data, or you may lose it all!

Using The Power Cycle to get your cable or DSL connection running fast again

The Power Cycle: Cable and DSL broadband connections in the home are becoming more and more popular. But are you getting the speed you used to? Many people experience slowing internet connections over time, and don't know how to fix it. Before you sit on hold with technical support, the easiest way to get the speed back up to what it used to be: The Power Cycle. Unplug the modem first, and then unplug your router (if you have one). Leave both the modem (cable or DSL) and the router unplugged for 30 seconds. Plug back in the modem first. Then plug in the router. You have just completed The Power Cycle. Check your internet connections, and if you still are experiencing a slow connection, call your internet service provider.

NEW Google Desktop Search Tool for your Desktop

Google has released their newest technology: Desktop Search. You can read more about Google Desktop Search here. This new technology allows you to search your files and folder, even your e-mail and internet history. Do you ever forget what you called that document, but remember that you used the phrase "FileMaker developer" in the document? Just use the Google Desktop Search tool to find the document. This Google technology searches the text of your documents, e-mails and more, all in a second. Replace the Windows search tool with the new Google Desktop Search today!

KNOW what is running on your computer - and get rid of what shouldn't be running

Do you know what is running on your computer? There is a great free program to examine what is running on your computer: Security Task Manager. You can download the free version or purchase the full version, which adds many great new features. Either version will give you more information about all of the programs that are running on your computer - just be sure you don't delete anything that's running unless you are sure it isn't supposed to be on your computer!

The best tool to find the files, e-mails, and documents on your computer

Are you looking for a good way to find files on your computer? Want to improve the speed of your computer. We have 2 simple steps to help you accomplish this.

Step 1:

Open My Computer
Right Click on your hard drive (usually C:) and choose Properties
Uncheck the option to "Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching"

Step 2:

Copernic Desktop Search
Install Copernic Desktop Search
User Copernic to find your file fast!

Learn more about common operating systems and computer programs with Video Professor

Want to learn more about how to use some of the most popular programs on your computer? Video Professor offers some great video lessons on common Windows and Macintosh applications. These computer lessons are easy to follow and will teach you what you need to know.


Organize your mp3 files with an auto-rename tool

Have a lot of mp3 files on your computer? Wish there was an easy way to rename all of the files into one format? THERE IS! Best of all, it's free. Mp3 Tag Tools v1.2 is a great tool to rename your mp3 files using a consistent format. Download it at http://www.download.com/Mp3-Tag-Tools/3000-2141_4-10106717.html?tag=pdp_prod.

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