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FileMaker 11 delivers charting, 'on-the-fly' reporting

Apple-owned company on Tuesday releases next major version of its database product, FileMaker Pro 11.

Apple-owned FileMaker on Tuesday unveiled the next major version of its database product, FileMaker Pro 11.

In a recent study, the company found that 80 percent of the people who look at FileMaker already have a task in mind. With this type of feedback, FileMaker set out to make the new version faster and more productive for new users.

"It's very much a back to basics release for us," Ryan Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and services at FileMaker, told CNET. "We think ease of use is the core proposition in a database."

To help users get started, FileMaker added a new "Invoices" template, a task many new users want to get up and running with quickly. FileMaker now has 31 starter templates included in the application.

Creating an invoice in FileMaker Pro 11 FileMaker

One of the big new features of FileMaker 11 is charting. Rosenberg explained that unlike a spreadsheet, charts created with a FileMaker database will update dynamically as the user browses data or views an invoice, for example. The charts can also be published to the Web using FileMaker's built-in tools.

On-the-fly reporting is also new, allowing users to create spreadsheet-like documents with totals and subtotals. Rosenberg likened these to pivot tables in spreadsheets.

The new version also adds an Inspector, a feature many people are used to seeing in applications like Photoshop and Microsoft Office. The Inspector shows a palette on your desktop, allowing you to quickly choose to align text, change colors and other simple tasks.

A new media library FileMaker

FileMaker 11 is now a Cocoa application, which means that it is fully native on Mac OS X. There are four versions of the database app available: FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Pro Advanced, FileMaker Server, and FileMaker Server Advanced.

Pricing starts at $299.