Design Question

I'm trying to design a mailing application for an Avery post card mailing.

The Avery template (8387) is for two post cards side by side in two rows.

I could use LibreOffice which has the correct built-in template, but then I lose all the FMP specific stuff and have to deal with LibreOffice mail-merges, etc.

So far, I created a main table which would be for the particular mailing. The "address" (1:M) table holds all the addresses for that mailing.

So, my question is how would you design the portal so it has four sets of (separate) address records per printed page? (assuming a portal is the way to go.)

I would also need a separate layout for the graphic on the other side of the page -- which would be the same for all four cards (printed separately).

There's probably a simple solution, but if not, there are complete examples for using LibreOffice for this exact need.

Thanks in advance,

Have you tried playing with the Layout options for printing? A combination of the number of columns, and page margins, can usually get you what you want. This would then setting the layout to only show 1 address, but preview mode ( and printing ) would show you the 4 records.

Alternatively, depending on how much customized control you need, you can combine the above setup with finding 4 records at a time, and use Append to PDF.


That's helpful, thanks much, but after a couple hours of working with trying to get this to display and print right, I just used LibreOffice. It's mostly done now except for getting the real data.

Appreciate your reply.

@anon45965781 fmp has that feature baked in dude :wink:

I'm sorry for not replying any earlier, but to add to what was already said by @jormond, the new layout wizard, when you select the labels option under print, has a pretty large selection of Avery templates to choose from.

Here is a picture with your specific template selected:


I mean to clarify, when I say

the new layout wizard

I am not talking about a recently introduced wizard. I am talking about the wizard available to the user when creating a "new layout", hence the "new layout wizard" designation.

That specific feature has been part of the product for longer than I can remember.

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YES, that is what I needed.

This functionality is what I expected to find, but missed it when I set up the layout.

Printing to PDF looks reasonable with no additional settings. I'll have to buy some labels to make sure, but it looks good.

I guess I can use the layout setup as @jormond mentioned above to fine tune if necessary.

Thank you very much. I'm switching back to FileMaker for this project.


@anon45965781 based on your comment, would you mind putting this topic in the ER channel and flagging my reply as an answer?

Yes, the setup screen @jormond mentioned is the place to go to customize what the wizard will generate for you if something is not quite pixel perfect (I know we are talking about printing, but you get the idea).

I'm very glad to hear you say you are switching back to FMP for this requirement, not because I'm a huge fan of FileMaker, but because it does sound like the best tool to use to address the requirements you are dealing with.

Make sure to let us know if you come across anything else that is a slowing you down on this.

One thing people often have some disappointments with is the fact that this printing option will always put your first record in the top left slot, making it harder to re-use partially printed sheets of labels (understandable because they are pricey and no one to waste a bunch of labels).

People adopt different techniques to address that. I can think of 2:

  • adding blank records to your table (to match the missing labels on the sheet), including them in your found set, and sorting records so they "bubble up".
  • same as above, but relying on a "virtual list"* instead of a "regular table".

*virtual list is a technique in itself, if you are not familiar with it, let's start a different topic about that.

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I changed the channel, but don't see how to mark your post as the answer.

If you click on the "..." for any reply (next to the heart and link icons), you should see an option that is labelled "solution" with a checkbox next to it. (not all channels are designed to be in the shape of "Question looking for an answer", but the ER is one where this option can let the OP flag one of the answers to let others know from different suggestions what he ended up going with.)

I often forget about the layout wizard. I haven’t made a layout with it in 10 years. Except when creating a quick demo report for someone on the forms.

Thank you for throwing it out there.

For Avery forms, if your number is listed, it will make things even faster, so it is a good option. For other stuff, I don't really "rely" on the wizard (even if short of duplicating an existing layout you cannot create a new layout without it).

Thanks, got it now.

Exactly. FileMaker has so much stuff that it's easy to forget something like that.

In this case, that's OK though since I'm only using FileMaker for presentation and printing. The hard work was the file mangling to convert a terrible file format received to CSV.

To wit, ...

  • Address parts on multiple lines.
  • Other text part of file that needed to be removed.
  • Blank lines
  • Odd characters like \ used for word separators that needed to be handled.

This file parsing/cleanup part at least is now done (but wasn't fun).

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Cleaning up trashy data is never fun. Also pretty impossible to give an accurate estimate, because you ought to have scanned the whole data set to be able to asnwer that.

Right. :slight_smile:

It's 137 lines of Java code with about 10 regexes to pre-process the file to get rid of garbage and do initial substitutions. Then, a second parse to combine lines on separate physical file lines, etc. Yuck!

It's all done. Imported into FileMaker. Looks nice.

ONE QUESTION: Why doesn't FileMaker populate the "FK" for me during import? The PK in the main table is "1" and there is a relationship between the PK and the FK in the data table. I did a replace field contents and it's fine, but I was just wondering how to get FMP to figure that out in the first place (populate the FKs for each record so, in this case, they'd all be "1" also).

Thanks for your replies. :slight_smile:

Is the FK in the import? The main ways FM would fill in a field during import:

  • there is data in the field in the import.
  • there is an auto-enter on the field, and you have selected that field's ( or the whole table's ) auto-enter calcs to run.
  • it's an unstored calc, or a stored calc that references one of the fields in the import that was triggered.

Good info.

I don’t see how yet could have an auto update on an FK field. There isn’t an auto calc on an FK, right? That auto enter would need to check the related PK and use that value to populate each FK.

Correct. If the relationship isn't already established, you need some way to tell FileMaker and then set the data. That is all going to depend on what you are doing. Would need more info to offer a recommendation.

It’s no big deal.

I was just wondering why FMP didn’t do that child FK population for me since it has all the info. I’ve always worked around it one way or another so there Is no problem per se.

Thanks J.

Follow up: We FINALLY got some Avery 8487 labels today and tested the FileMaker settings. It seems these postcard 8387 are either in short supply, high demand or both.

FMP Label Printing Result: perfection!

The postcards print perfectly with the FMP label format.

The only mistake was the vendor sent us ink jet instead of the laser labels we ordered, but they look fine (excellent, really) laser printed.

If you're going to get postcards like these, spend the extra $ and get the thicker ones, not the cheap-feeling flimsy cards.

Thanks again to all. :slight_smile: