Defining and changing fields

When you create a new custom app, FileMaker Pro opens in Browse mode and displays the Manage Database dialog box, where you define fields. Several default fields may already be defined (see Defining database tables). You create each field name and choose its field type. Then you can select options that determine how the field interprets, enters, calculates, stores, and displays data.

Note  You can also use the Fields tab in Layout mode to define and change fields. See Defining and changing fields in the Fields tab.

To define or change fields:

  1. If you're creating a new custom app, the Manage Database dialog box opens in Browse mode.

    To change existing field definitions, choose File menu > Manage > Database.

  2. Click the Fields tab if it is not displayed.
  3. If needed, choose the appropriate table from the Table list.
  4. Add, change, or delete fields.
  5. To

    Do this

    Add a field

    For Field Name, type a name for the field. For Type, choose a field type. Then click Create. To set options for validation, auto entry, and storage for the field, click Options. See Setting options for fields.

    Change a field's name

    Select the field. For Field Name, type the new name, then click Change. See About naming fields.

    Change the field type

    Select the field. For Type, select a new field type, then click Change. See About choosing a field type.

    Change field options

    Double-click the field name, or select the field and click Options.

    Delete a field

    Select the field, then click Delete.

    Change a calculation formula

    Select the calculation field, then click Options (or double-click the field name). In the Specify Calculation dialog box, make your changes, then click OK. See Defining calculation fields.

    Change a summary field

    Select the summary field, then click Options (or double-click the field name). In the Options for Summary Field dialog box, make your changes, then click OK. See Defining summary fields.


  • If you changed a calculation formula or summary calculation, FileMaker Pro recalculates the values when you close the Manage Database dialog box.
  • To have fields that you define automatically placed on a layout, select the Add newly defined fields to current layout preference (in the Preferences dialog box) before you define the fields. See Setting layout preferences.
  • To change the order in which fields appear in the Manage Database dialog box (and all dialog boxes that list fields), drag the double arrow Double arrow control next to the field definition up or down. To reorder by field name or type, click the Field Name or Type column heading.
  • When you copy fields, FileMaker Pro retains data source references to fields if they are valid when you paste. If you copy multiple fields that reference each other, copy them in one step to retain the references. If you copy them one at a time, the references may be lost. Check all data source references after pasting to ensure they are valid.
  • To copy and paste fields, you must have full access privileges to the source and destination files.
  • There is a difference between duplicating and copying a field: Duplicate duplicates a field within the current table. Copy makes the field available for pasting to another file.