Charting Options in FileMaker Pro
Dashboard systems to visualize your data in FileMaker Pro
It used to be that in the “old” days of FileMaker, if you want to present a chart, you only had access to FileMaker’s internal charting options. But now, you have three choices.
First, you can use FileMaker’s internal charting options
These have been around forever, but here are some of your options. You have ten choices for how to display your data: bar chart, stacked bar chart, column, stacked column, positive/negative column, line, area, scatter, and bubble chart. All quite adequate for the job. You have limited control over color palettes, and presentation of legends, and display of data on each section of the chart, as well as x-, or y-axis lines.
There are three ways to pull the data from your system:
1. Use the current found set
2. Use delimited data from a field in the current record
3. Use related records
FileMaker’s internal charts are functional, and have been serving their purpose for years. But they are pretty basic compared to other options out there today.
These are much more interesting. They are harder to set up, but the level of usefulness vastly improves, as well as client satisfaction, in our experience.
The result is a dynamic, colorful, and interactive chart which beautifully displays your business data in a very visual way. Some libraries will allow you to alter the chart display on the fly. For example, if you have a bar chart showing data from four different territories, but want to exclude one to see the percentages of just three territories, you can just click on the legend to remove a desired set of data, and the pie chart will reformat into just three sections. It is a very pleasing effect, with a bit of animation to show the change.
Third, you can use the new Add-ons feature available in FileMaker 19.
When in Layout Mode in FileMaker, one could choose the left panel display to show Objects and Fields. Now a third option has been added; you can choose “Add-ons”. To include an Add-on into your solution, there is a plus (+) button in the lower left corner of the Add-ons panel.
Click on that plus button, and you will be presented with a bunch of the new Add-on choices. Currently they are all listed as having been created by Claris, but I expect that will change. In fact, there is a note in the Add-ons library, which says that if you want more choices, to go to the Claris Marketplace to find more.
See the pic above. You will note that “Simple Chart” is selected. The panel on the right now shows a description of what this chart does. “Simple Chart. Quickly create a visually rich, interactive chart. Created by Claris.” Then it lists the Tables and Layouts which you receive when you add this chart to your solution.
It takes some tinkering then to set up your solution to display the data, but when you do, it is really cool!
Whichever you choose, know that adding a visualization of your data to a FileMaker solution, almost always enhances its appeal and usability for the average user. Your solution will be more user-friendly and visually appealing. Your users will find it more enjoyable to interact with your solution, and the world will be just a bit prettier than before!