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Shortcuts to your FileMaker databases

I spend a lot of time in my FileMaker Pro databases, and I know many of my clients do, too. When you're opening and closing the same databases a dozen times a day, it's nice to have time-saving shortcuts to those files.

There are basically two ways to create a shortcut. You can save the file as a "Favorite" inside FileMaker Pro; or you can save it as a shortcut or alias on your operating system desktop.

FileMaker "Favorites"

To save the file as a Favorite inside FileMaker Pro, first open the database. Then, in FileMaker Pro 13's menu, go to File > Open Favorite > Add Current File to Favorites. From that point on, the file will be in your favorites list and you can open it by using the same "Open Favorite" menu.

Favorites are terrifically handy and I encourage you to give them a try.

Creating a shortcut/alias on your desktop or in your OS X Dock

It's just a little trickier to save the file as an alias on your desktop or (on a Mac) in the OS X Dock. I was going to write this up myself but there's a perfectly good article by Tim Cimbura explaining how to do it at

Well, not "perfectly" good, because the article is a bit vague about the most important issue of all, which is how to get the database's network address in the first place. To do this, open the database in FileMaker Pro 13, then pull down in the menus to File > Send > Link to Database...  This may launch your email program and start a message with some content in it, or, if FileMaker can't find your email program (perhaps because, like me, you use Gmail in a web browser), you'll just see a dialog that looks like this:

You just want to copy the first line of the text in that dialog, the part that starts "fmp://" and ends ".fmp12". At that point you can go back to Tim Cimbura's article and finish the process. Only takes a few seconds.

Which approach is better?

Well, either approach is fine and I suppose it's really a matter of personal preference. But I'll mention my own practice, for what it's worth. 

Most of the databases that I work on regularly are in the Favorites list in FileMaker Pro and I open them from there. This list gives me access to files on my local computer, on the machine running FileMaker Server in my office, and also on remote servers belonging to clients located in other parts of the country. But I do have two databases in my OS X Dock: my to-do database, and my time-tracking database. I get into these databases so frequently that I want it to be as easy as possible and clicking an icon in the Dock is easier than switching to FileMaker and finding a file in the Open Favorites menu.


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