Filemaker 8.0 review: Filemaker 8.0

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.7
  • Setup and interface: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
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The Good FileMaker Pro 8 exports data as Adobe Acrobat (PDF) and Excel files, allows easy e-mailing of records, and has improved its layout, tabs, and relationship controls.

The Bad Creating PDFs within FileMaker Pro 8 can be tricky, and our system occasionally crashed during help-file searches in our tests.

The Bottom Line With improved data-export tools, beginner-friendly templates, and support for massive files, FileMaker Pro 8 is a great choice for novice or professional users who need to develop powerful databases.

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FileMaker Pro 8

Building a database isn't a trivial task, but FileMaker Pro 8 lightens the load by bringing a powerful set of creation tools to professional developers and novices alike. Long considered the easier-to-use--albeit less powerful--alternative to Microsoft Access , FileMaker Pro adds an impressive array of new features, such as the ability to create Adobe Acrobat PDF files from database records or to export FileMaker data to Microsoft Excel . FileMaker Pro 8 also makes it vastly easier to e-mail the contents of fields--a tedious chore in prior versions--and to customize menus, use fields and tables, and create relationships between tables. While the PDF-export feature takes trial and error to perfect, we can't complain about FileMaker Pro's vast toolkit for managing complex data sets.

Business users can support massive databases as large as 8 terabytes and open up to 125 files at once. FileMaker Pro 8 is a worthy upgrade for veteran users and a good choice for novices with the time and the patience to learn the art of database design. We reviewed the $299 FileMaker Pro 8, which supports up to five simultaneous Windows or Mac users. The $499 Advanced version adds more development tools, including the ability to customize menus and to add tool tips to made-to-order databases for large organizations. Additional versions include the $999 FileMaker Server 8, with additional file sharing, and the $2,499 Server 8 Advanced, which offers enhanced file sharing, Web publishing, and security features. FileMaker Pro's clean, cogent interface is a breeze to navigate. Unfortunately, like the setup screen in FileMaker Pro 7 , FileMaker Pro 8's is too cryptic. Three icons appear without text descriptions, and it's up to you to figure out which icon does what. (Hint: click the first one to install FileMaker.) Despite the hieroglyphics, FileMaker Pro 8 is easy to install; we completed setup in less than five minutes.


FileMaker Pro 8, although not easy to master, offers plenty of database templates for inexperienced users. Power users will love its comprehensive set of tools.

Existing users of FileMaker Pro 8 will be familiar with the menus and the toolbar layout, and novices will likely appreciate the dozens of templates for business and home databases--everything from personnel records and product catalogs to family budgets and recipes. (Granted, using this powerful app to store recipes is like using a blowtorch to light a hibachi.) Wizards such as the New Layout/Report Assistant walk first-timers through basic design chores, but we'd like to see a bit more assistance. For instance, many Layout mode icons are hard to decipher, and each could use a tool tip--a text box that appears when you move the cursor over the icon. Ironically, while FileMaker Pro 8 Advanced lets developers attach tool tips to fields or layout objects, it doesn't provide tool tips for its own features.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Aug 29, 2005
  • Category business applications
  • Compatibility Mac