About choosing a field type

When you define a field, you select a field type based on the kind of information the field will contain. The field type determines what kind of data can be entered and what kinds of operations FileMaker Pro can perform with the data.

FileMaker Pro uses the field type to interpret the data for tasks like sorting records and performing calculations. For example, if you create a text field and enter numbers, you can sort the data only in alphabetical order. (The first character sorts, then the second, so that 11 sorts before 2.) You must use a number field, or a calculation or summary field with a numeric result, to sort data in numerical order.

You select the field type in the Fields tab of the Manage Database dialog box.


Select this type

If the field data will be


Letters, symbols, and/or numbers used as text per field repetition, limited by available RAM and disk space. See About text fields.


Digits or other characters, and the negative values of the same range. See About number fields.


Dates only. See About date fields.


Times only. See About time fields.


Dates and times together to reference a fixed point in calendar time. See About timestamp fields.


A file of any type, such as a picture, a PDF, or an audio or a video file. See About container fields.


The result of a calculation formula that uses field values from the current record or related records. See Defining calculation fields.


A value that's produced by summarizing field values from more than one record in the same table. See Defining summary fields.


  • Any field type except for summary can store a global value.
  • In addition to defining a field and selecting its field type, you can create repeating fields, global fields, and supplemental fields.
  • For information on the limits of each field type, search for technical specifications in the Knowledge Base.