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FileMaker Adds PDF, Excel Links

FileMaker now is shipping an upgrade to its eponymous database that offers extensive integration with PDF files and Excel.

Barbara Darrow

September 2, 2005

2 Min Read

FileMaker now is shipping an upgrade to its eponymous database that offers extensive integration with PDF files and Excel.

The new FileMaker Pro 8 lets users and developers embed PDF documents directly into their databases. “You can create a brochure out of the database, with access to the full range of PDF functions. Then, if you want to send the PDF, you can specify password protection,” said Ryan Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and services at FileMaker, Santa Clara, Calif. “You can right-click to send anything in the database to e-mail.”

Being able to save and send PDFs from the database allows users to distribute files to people who do not have the FileMaker software.

Matt Navarre, CTO of developer Pre1 Software, Portland, Ore., described that PDF integration as key. With Pre1’s software, “your sales reps will now be able to send a quote with an ad, [along] with a PDF of the ad itself customized for each prospective advertiser,” he said.

Rich Coulombre, president of The Support Group, a professional services firm in Natick, Mass., agreed. “What used to require third-party tools or plug-ins is now built into FileMaker,” he said. “We have a lot of customers using FileMaker for workflow-type operations, and PDFs are a wonderful way to communicate workflow requirements via e-mail.”

FileMaker also renamed its Developer edition FileMaker Pro Advanced, Rosenberg said. “A lot of people were using advanced scripting, multiple files and other advanced tools but don’t think of themselves as professional developers.”

Users can click on a FileMaker button to bring up a spreadsheet, massage and save the numbers, he said. “We have end-to-end Excel now. You can drag Excel into FileMaker, have multiple worksheets turn into multiple [database] tables.”

The base product offers a flowchart view of the database, now enhanced to highlight relationships. The various database components also can be annotated and color-coded.

FileMaker Pro 8 costs $299 for the full version or $179 for the upgrade. FileMaker Pro 8 Advanced is $499; the upgrade is $299. Server and mobile editions are slated for the fall.

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