The A–Z of FileMaker: A

A is for Auto-Enter

When using a data field (text, number, date, etc.), you can set field options. The first set of these are for auto-entry of values in the field. In most cases, the auto-entered data will be entered in the field when a new record is created. In some cases, the data can be updated when the record is modified.

Although the interface uses checkboxes for the choices, these are mostly exclusive (you can only choose one). And that makes sense.

Challenge: Find the non-exclusive choice and investigate how that behaves when two separate auto-entry options are set.


Data is set when the record is created. Choose from date, time, timestamp, name or account name (depending on field type).

The date and time are from the client’s clock. Name is the user name from the client’s preferences. Account name is the currently logged in account.


The data will be set when the record is created and updated each time data in the record is modified and committed. Choose content as for creation.

Serial Number

Sets a incremental serial number when the record is either created or committed. The next value is specified and an increment set (usually 1).

The last numeric ‘word’ of the next value is incremented. For example, for an increment of 1:

  • 1999 increments to 2000
  • A001999Z increments to A002000Z
  • A001-999Z increments to A001-1000Z
  • 100.9 increments to 100.10
Value from last visited record

Enters the data from the same field from the last record where any field was entered (but data not necessarily changed).


A defined data string up to 255 characters. Often used to set a default value for a field for new records e.g. set the Status field to Draft for new projects. If a conditional string is required, use a Calculated value (below).

Calculated value

A value returned by evaluating a calculation expression at the time of record creation. When the option for “Do not replace existing value (if any)” is unchecked, the expression may be re-evaluated.

Looked-up value

A value looked up from another related table and copied into the field. This option has largely been superseded by the more flexible Calculated value (above). However, it does provide the additional option of copying the next smaller or larger value if there is no exact match.

Prohibit modification during data entry

If checked, will prevent a user from modifying any value in a field by keyboard entry. The auto-entered value could still be modified by a script step or when the record is modified.

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