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Finding Anything in a database field by Cindy O'Hora
"Find any data, ford every field. Follow every tiny bit, 'til you get your desired yield."

If you keep a membership database, you know the challenge of getting and maintaining current data. You've begged and pleaded in the newsletter for updates on email addresses with minimal response. Perhaps being excluded from an issue of the club's email directory will motivate folks.

You can use Layout ... Find to locate the single addresses. You could also use List view and highlight records by hand. Yuck!

Here's how to locate the records with any data in a field.

1. Open the database.

2. Go Organize ... Match Records

3. Use the NOT(logical) and ISBLANK(value) functions to locate all the records of a set field with any data in them. (I assume that the field is called email.) Enter this formula in the formula box. NOT(ISBLANK('email'))

Better yet (Building complex formulas using this method helps to avoid error results due to typos or missed characters/symbols.)

1. Click on NOT in the Function box on the right.

2. Click on ISBLANK in the function box. It will replace the word logical in the NOT function.

3. Click on the field name in the left box that you want to search. It will automatically replace the highlighted word value in the formula.

4. Click OK.


All the records in your database with any kind of data in the email field are highlighted (selected).

1. Go Organize ... Hide Unselected.

2. Now only the records with an email address entered are visible. You can print a list of only them.

3. To make all the records visible again Go Organize ... Show All Records.


Pretty handy: Other uses of this feature.


Our school district superintendent issued a directive that each teacher would use technology to teach at least one lesson in the year. The principal in each building was to observe these lessons and document compliance. They could use a database to track and report the progress of the program. They could quickly ID those who still need to comply by searching for words in a field that gives the title of the individual's tech event. More importantly, they could use this database to issue a commendation to those who have already complied.


Similarly, in Pennsylvania, high school students are now required to do a project to graduate. A database would make this a manageable tracking job.

bullet Who is contributing what? We are having an event where people are contributing items of food. I could use this Match technique to post a list of who - is bringing what, using the food item field for the match.

"I have called this principle, by which each sight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection." ~Charles Darwin

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©2001 Cynthia O'Hora All rights reserved. Posted 1/2001 Updated 3/2005
This site is an entirely volunteer effort. I am not associated with Apple Computers or any of its subsidiaries.