Choosing a language for indexing or sorting

When you create a file, FileMaker Pro uses the operating system language setting to determine the language used for indexing text fields and sorting data. You can choose a different language in the Storage tab of the Options for Field dialog box (for indexing and sorting) and the Sort Records dialog box (for sorting only).

For languages such as Chinese, Spanish, and others, the index order of values in a text field can differ from the sort order. For example, dictionary sort order in some languages distinguishes between characters with and without diacritical marks, but index order does not. If you want to display indexed values in dictionary sort order for such languages, select Re-sort values based on in the View Index dialog box or Specify Fields for Value List dialog box (for field-based value lists) and choose a language.

In all of these instances, you can change the language for indexing or sorting to:

  • another language supported by FileMaker Pro
  • a setting named Default, which is language-neutral
  • a setting named Unicode, which is based on Unicode numeric encoding order

For more information about Unicode, visit

Using a language-based setting for indexing or sorting

Language settings in FileMaker Pro are based on Unicode Collation Algorithm primary and secondary character collation weights, tailored to support language-specific indexing and sorting requirements.

Note  Some behavior is dependent upon the data source or drivers when using Japanese collation that does not distinguish Katakana or Hiragana, either in full- or half-width. This is also the case with roman characters with accents.

Using the Default language setting for indexing or sorting

The Default language setting uses the Unicode Collation Algorithm primary and secondary collation weights for indexing and sorting characters without any language-specific tailoring.

The Default setting is useful when you need an index with more character distinctions than you get when you index using a specific language. For example, if you use the French language setting to index records containing the words "demande" and "demandé," and then use the index to search for the word "demande," the result contains a set of records that contain either "demande" or "demandé." If you use the Default language setting to index the same records, a search for the word "demande" results in the set of records that contain "demande," but not "demandé."

Using the Unicode setting for indexing or sorting

When you choose to index or sort by Unicode, characters are distinguished and ordered by their Unicode numeric encoding. This means lowercase and uppercase letters are indexed and sorted separately and punctuation characters are treated as alphanumeric characters.

If you have been using the ASCII setting for sorting and indexing data in previous versions, you can use the Unicode setting to achieve similar results.

Using the Catalog setting for determining uniqueness or sorting

Functions such as UniqueValues and SortValues let you specify Catalog for the locale parameter. The Catalog setting uses the same indexing (for determining uniqueness) and sorting as FileMaker Pro uses to display sorted lists of tables, fields, value lists, and so on.