Filemaker Pro 11 :: Asset Tracking

I would like to know if it is possible to use Filemaker Pro 11 to "check out" assets (e.g. computers, printers, etc.) to users.

I would like to be able to scan user's badges and pull up their information, what assets they've had checked out to them in the past, what they have now, etc. And Id like to be able to pull up a particular asset and see who has used it in the past, who has it now, etc.

So far I have a table with my user's names and their barcode numbers, and I have a table of my assets, but I dont know how to create a layout to link them together (for the purposes of checking in and out).

Any assistance  would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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North2AlaskaSenior EngineerCommented:
Possible, Yes!  To scan their badge, you would have to setup the scanner to run a script or you would have setup the "Find" layout first.  Then the scanner would need to place data in the correct field.  Hit enter and it should pull up a found set.  Of couse, this is all off the top of my head.  Bottom line, with the scanner and FM coordinated, you should be able to accomplish the query.

As far as building the relationship, you will need a table in between the users table and assets table, call it UserAssets.  This table will have two columns, the key field of the users table and the key field of the assets table.  In addition, you will want fields to hold information about what happened when they "joined", i.e.;  CheckOutDate, ReturnDate, CheckOutPurpose, etc...

Then on either table layout you can display the list of the other table.  For example, on the Users table layout, you could have a portal that displayed all the users assets, past and present.  From the Assets table, you could see all the users that checked out that asset.
berserkerror08Author Commented:
How would I make Check ins and Check Outs?
North2AlaskaSenior EngineerCommented:
Put a button on the screen where the text will change.  If it's available for check out the text reads Check Out.  If it is already checked out it reads Check In.

When the button is pressed, handle the scan (whatever that means) and store the results in FM.
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berserkerror08Author Commented:
Im less concerned with the scanner at this point, and more so with setting up just the layouts. I know how to make a button but i dont know how to actually "check out" or assign a device to a user. I have three layouts and tables right now. Employees, Devices, and UserDevices.

The screen shot here may offer some clarity:

How do I design the layout/button so that I can pull up a user and select/add a device for them to check out? How do I design a layout/button to look up a device and show me who has had it before? How do I create a way to keep track of which users have had the devices when?
North2AlaskaSenior EngineerCommented:
Are you comfortable with the Relationship Graph (RG) and Table Occurrence (TO)?  Are you comfortable with Portals? How about Value Lists that are related to tables?  Scripting in FM?

You will need to be intimate with all of these things and more.

Let's start simple.  A layout of one employee record.  Using a portal on the same layout you can display a list of Devices associated to that user.  The list would have the check in and check out dates and you would be able to see, if there were no check in date, that the item was still out.  In this list there is a popup that will display all devices.  So when you create a new entry in the Portal, you select this popup and pick a device, enter a check out date and you're done.

There are many, many design methods you could select to build your interface.  Some use simple techniques as above and there are complex methods.  Your comfort level will determine which you use.
berserkerror08Author Commented:
Im new to FileMaker; where would you point me to get more familiar with the program? I read through the user guide but found it glazed over more complex topics.
North2AlaskaSenior EngineerCommented:
Some time ago I found a great sample that you could use to tear apart and figure things out.  Or you could just use it.  Check out

Another great example of a well developed sample, is the folks at

I've used both of these to learn new techniques and a better understanding of FM.  It's been an enjoyable journey.  I invite you to come along and hope that you can have fun too!  :-)

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