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Q&A

Q1:If I'm moving data from another contact manager to the FileMaker template and the data fields don't match, what's the best way of handling the problem?
A1: You can modify the FileMaker Contact Management template to add other data fields. However, you have to also modify the layouts to display those fields—and possibly not use the fields that the template has. Review the situation on both sides to decide whether to modify the database or to reinterpret the data. By now, you have tools that you can use to massage the data after it's imported. (Those tools include scripts and calculations.) You can even take a middle road. For example, the Contact Management database declares two telephone fields—phone 1 and phone 2. If your other contact management tool stores home phone and work phone, you can map home phone into phone 1 and change the name of the phone 1 field.

But what if your other data manager stores phone 1, phone 2, and so forth along with tags such as home phone 1 label (which might be “home”)? In this case, why not modify your FileMaker database structure to accommodate the more sophisticated data in the other contact manager.

Q2:Given that FileMaker can convert Excel spreadsheets to databases, and Excel can do the reverse, can I share data back and forth with someone and just convert it this way?
A2: Yes and no. Depending on the databases and what you're doing with them, you might wind up losing data at some point. This conversion isn't meant for ongoing back-and-forth operation. Instead, consider ODBC as described in Hour 12.


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