FileMaker Go 1.2 How To: Signature Capture and AirPrint Change the Way You Do Business

Today (April 20, 2011), FileMaker released version 1.2 of FileMaker Go. It's a free upgrade for current users of FileMaker Go (on iPhone or iPad); for others you can buy it through the App Store ($19.95/iPhone; $39.95/iPad. FileMaker Go lets you use FileMaker databases that you (or someone else) has developed using the standard FileMaker Pro product (or FileMaker Pro Advanced) on you iOS mobile device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch).

The combination of signature capture and AirPrint in FileMaker Go 1.2 brings an entire new world of solutions to the iOS mobile devices. What's amazing is that this major paradigm shift for mobile solutions is so simple: FIleMaker has done the work. You don't need scripts or special programming or major new investments. All you need is:

 

  • . FileMaker Pro (or FileMaker Pro Advanced) -- but you already have that, don't you?
  • . FileMaker Go 1.2 
  • . A stylus to let you write on the screen. You can use your finger, but with styli available in many electronics stores (Best Buy, for example) for prices usually in the $10-20 range, you'll be happier with a stylus.

What that gives you is the ability to build a form for project estimates and contracts, memorandum agreements ... anything that needs a signature and a bit of text.

Here's how you do it.

 

  1. Create or modify a database for your data. Make certain that fields are properly categorized -- that means fields that will contain dates should be Date type fields and fields that will contain numbers should be Number fields. This means that when someone taps in those fields on the mobile device, FileMaker Go will automatically display a date picker or a numeric keyboard as needed. All you have to do is make certain the fields are correctly identified -- don't leave then as the default Text fields because that gives you the alpha keyboard.
  2. Add a Container field that will contain the signature.
  3. Add value lists so that every field possible uses a pop-up or drop-down menu. On FileMaker Go, these will use the built-in iOS picker interface element, but you don't have to do anything special.
  4. Move the database to your mobile device using iTunes, sending it via email, or posting it on a website for downloading. OR Share the database with FileMaker Pro sharing (up to five users) or FileMaker Server. (If the database is on the mobile device, you can easily use iTunes to move it to a desktop computer for further processing or merging to existing systems. If it's a shared database, you already have access to it from desktops.)
  5. Fill in the form, sign it (or have the customer sign it ...or both!).
  6. Tap the gear wheel in the upper right of the FileMaker Go screen to print the signed document to an AirPrint printer. If there isn't one available, use the gear wheel to save it as a PDF file and email it.