Working with the relationships graph

When you create, change, and view the relationships in a FileMaker Pro database, you use the relationships graph.

Each box on the relationships graph represents a table occurrence, a separate view into a single underlying source table. A single source table may appear as many table occurrences, each with a different name and each of which you can relate to other table occurrences. When you install certain add-ons, new table occurrences are created on the relationships graph for you (see Working with add-ons).

You create a relationship between two table occurrences at a time. You can create chains of relationships between many table occurrences. However, FileMaker Pro prevents you from creating a chain of relationships that relates a table occurrence back to itself, which can't be resolved.

Because each relationship represents an additional set of criteria, you must be aware of the context within the relationships graph. Context is the point in the relationships graph from which a relationship is evaluated. Because the graph is never a cycle, each point along the graph offers a different perspective into your data.

To display the relationships graph:

  1. Choose File menu > Manage > Database.

  2. Click the Relationships tab, and use the buttons and other elements in the relationships graph to define relationships.

    See Creating and changing relationships.

Relationships graph buttons

By default, the relationships graph displays all the tables that are in the current database file.



Add table button

Add a table to the relationships graph

Add relationship button

Create a relationship

Duplicate table button

Duplicate selected tables (and relationships) and selected notes

Edit button

Edit the selected relationship, table occurrence, or text note in the relationships graph

Delete button

Delete selected relationships, table occurrences, or text notes in the relationships graph

Align vertical button

Align the left edges, centers, or right edges of the selected objects

Align horizontal button

Align the top edges, centers, or bottom edges of the selected objects

Distribute objects button

Distribute the selected objects horizontally or vertically

Resize button

Resize the selected objects

Color palette button

Change the color of selected tables or notes in the relationships graph

Select object button

Choose the object selection cursor (default cursor)

Add text note button

Add a text note to the relationships graph; drag the cursor on the relationships graph to the size you want

Magnification cursor button

Choose the magnification cursor

Reduction cursor button

Choose the view reduction cursor

Reduce magnification of the relationships graph button

Adjust the magnification of the relationships graph to view all tables

Select related tables button

Select related tables one-away or select tables with the same source table


Manually reduce or increase the view of the relationships graph, up to 400%

Show page breaks button

Show page breaks

Show Print Setup or Page Setup dialog box button

Show the Print Setup (Windows) or Page Setup (macOS) dialog box


Print the relationships graph across multiple pages, or resized to fit on one page

Other relationships graph elements



Display source table and source file names

Displays the names of the source table and source file as you move the pointer over the table header

Switch table display

Switches the display of the table. Click once to collapse all but the match fields. Click again to collapse all but the table name. Click again to return the table to its original size.

Switch text note display

Switches the display of the text note. Click once to collapse to the first line of text. Click again to return the text note to its original size.

Match field is available to many records indicator

Indicates that the match field is available to match many records (a one-to-many relationship)

Match field can match a single record indicator

Indicates that the match field is intended to match a single record (a one-to-one relationship), such as an auto-entered value

Unindexed match field indicator 

Indicates that the join cannot be made. For example, a match field is missing or is an unindexed field (such as an unstored calculated field or a global field), or the table closest to the indicator is missing or unavailable.

Relational operator indicator

Displays the relational operator, or Multicriteria indicator for a multicriteria relationship