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Chapter 12. Importing Data > Batch-Importing


One of the most tedious tasks in the database world is having to transfer information from another program to FileMaker one item at a time. That's how FileMaker users once had to import groups of files. You could cut and paste individual text blocks, or you could import images or media into container fields one by one. With batch-importing—the ability to import the entire contents of a folder into an existing database—FileMaker becomes a powerful asset-management tool for everything from Web sites to retail inventory.

Batch-Importing Guidelines

Although batch-importing is very easy, it can require some fancy mental footwork to be an elegant solution instead of a horrific muddle. Here are some important hints for importing multiple files:

You can't generate a brand-new database from the contents of a folder. The database already has to exist and have fields available for the new content.

All the items will be imported into the same field. Be sure to delete from the folder any files that belong in a different category.

Text files must all be simple text-only files. They can't contain embedded images or charts. Any formatting (like font or point size) won't transfer.

When you batch-import to update or replace data, records and incoming files have to match. If there are more files in a folder than there are records to hold them, the extra files will be ignored when the import takes place.

Be very careful when batch-importing replacement files. Create a found set of the records whose data you'll be replacing, and make sure that it is sorted correctly for the incoming files.

And most important: Unless it's a brand-new file, always make a backup of your database before you import, particularly if you'll be replacing or updating data, not just importing new files from scratch. The more material you import, the worse mess your file can become if you've overlooked something in your preparation.



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