How to Make it Easier for Users to Omit Inactive records in Everyday Finds in FileMaker

I’ve got lots of clients who use a single checkbox to mark a record Inactive, in lieu of deleting the record. It’s quick and easy and clear. But sooner or later, as Inactive records build up over time, most of them decide that they want to exclude all the Inactive records from the finds they do — but not all the time, just most of the time.

The obvious solution if you’re a hardcore FileMaker user is a multi-request find that uses the Omit option. You make one request with the criteria you want, then re-enter find mode, check the Inactive box and the Omit option, and select Constrain Found Set.  But this can be intimidating to some users, and really, if I’m being totally honest with myself, I have to admit that it takes too many steps to be truly easy.

I could use script-triggers to postprocess all finds run in that context, but that demands enough budget or a compelling reason to undertake that level of complexity and effort.

In the absence of either, you can offer an inexpensive solution by presenting the existing data differently, so that people can do a simple, positive find rather than a complex omit find. Make a calculation field called Status, and code it to return “Inactive” if the box is checked, and to return “Active” if the box is unchecked.  Expose this new field to find mode, and you’re in business.  Now people can type in their find criteria as usual, including typing in “Active” in the Status calc field, hit the Enter key as they always do, and the single-request find will bring back only the records that meet the criteria AND have the Inactive box unchecked.

1 thought on “How to Make it Easier for Users to Omit Inactive records in Everyday Finds in FileMaker”

  1. Why not just have a checkbox for “Active” that is auto-entered as such? The user can check that field when performing a find. This means you have one field instead of two.

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