Adding a summary to a database by Cindy O'Hora
Many people know they can use database to make mailing labels and
to sort data.
There is another even more powerful feature that is
often missed. That feature is using formulas to summarize data.
In the first database lesson, I looked at
creating a database that organized all the computer CDs in our
I told you that I had planned to use the number of
records to keep track of how many CDs we had. I had not
account that we had multiple copies of many CDs to facilitate
classroom use. Some of you would
suggest that we make one entry for
each individual cd. This would mean that some titles would be entered
Using a Summary field and a formula, I can tract the total
collection by the number of titles I entered in the "Number" field.
To accomplish this you must first have a field for calculating the
data. Let's use my CD database problem.
Add a Summary field
1. Add a field by going Layout...Define fields. Use
the Field Type pull down menu to select Summary. I want
to add up the amount entered into the number field across all my
records. So I choose Summary. (I use calculation fields to calculate
data within a single record.) I call my field Total CDs. When you
click Create, a formula box will open.
2. In the Formula box, create the formula that will do the
appropriate calculation. In my case, I entered =SUM('number').
'number' is the name of the field I want to total.
Important: Field names entered in a formula must be
enclosed by single quotes.
A wise formula creator uses the boxes above the Formula
box to create the formula. I clicked on the equal sign (operator
box), then on the SUM formula (found in the Function box), and
finally I highlighted the number1, number2 within the SUM formula and
clicked on my field name number to be totaled in the Fields
box. I did this to avoid entering a bad formula caused by typing
errors. For example: if you forget a single quote, you'll get a bad
formula message and you might fail to see that missing single quote.
Note: ClarisWorks dropped the equal sign from my formula above
when I saved.
Getting the result to show in the
1. Go Layout...Layout.
2. Go Layout... Insert part. Choose Trailing Grand
Summary. Trailing will show the Summary field at the end
of my database records.
3. Go Layout... Insert field. You will see a box
presenting the summary fields you have created in your
database. Choose the field that you created to report the
calculation. When it appears in the database drag it and its
title into the area between the Body and the Grand Summary
4. Return to Browse by going Layout...Browse. Finally, go View...Page View. Go to the end of your database and
you should see your total(s) reported there.
Want to track the value of your book/music/dvd
collection? Here is a great way!
1. Add a field to the database (if you don't
already have it) of the cost of each book. I'll call it price.
2. Go Layout...Layout.
3. Double click on the blank price field. You should see
a Number format dialog box.
4. Choose Currency.
Now just enter a number with a decimal point. AppleWorks
will put the $ sign. (Makes you want to
smile doesn't it?)
5. Enter the cost of each item. (This is a great summer
6. Define a new summary field. I'll call it summary cost. The
formula is SUM('price'). Again, double click on the field and make it
a currency result.
7. Finally, add the Trailing Grand Summary, insert the summary
cost field into the database, as above.
Drag it into the Grand
Summary area and return to browse.
Go View...Page view. Voilà! Whew, I bet you had no idea it was that much.
Sometimes you don't want the whole world to see the total value of
your collection. For example: My friends have a Hummel collection.
They have many pieces and it has considerable value. They sometimes
print the list to take to auctions and meetings. They would prefer to
keep the total value to themselves.
To guard their privacy, we'll make a new layout called Summary. (Aren't my titles creative?) Then we'll add
the Grand Summary and totaling fields only to that layout of the
database. Their usual view of their database does not include their
What is another time I would use a Summary
To track the total amount of money earned, where each
record is a single job with a calculated charge.
To total the different meals selected by guests at a
wedding or conference.
To track the number of students in a classroom, grade,
To track the total playing time of a cd where I have
entered the time for each track/song
To identify the winner of favorite book or author when
using a database to run an election or favorite book survey.
To identify the amount
of fees collected in a tournament or science fair.
Some of the world's greatest feats were
accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were
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©1998 Cynthia O'Hora All rights reserved. Originally Posted
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associated with Apple Computers or any of its subsidiaries.