FileMaker Pro 11 — A Review

If you’ve ever had the need to catalog your information, you’ve most likely looked into Database solutions. Microsoft’s Access is a popular implementation, but it is sorely lacking as far as Mac OS X goes. That’s not a problem, though. FileMaker Pro is right at your finger tips, and you can try it for free.

It comes with thirty one pre-made “Starter Solution” templates. They range from To-Do lists to Inventory; Family Medical Records to Recipes. Not only can you manage your data comparatively easily, it also looks beautiful. In fact, I was somewhat shocked at how nice the templates looked when I first started using FileMaker. When I thought of databases, the last words that would come to mind would be beauty and design. There was no skimping in the development. This is software clearly aimed at power users with a discriminating eye. I truly do appreciate the time that went into making it shine.

Now comes the bad part: The price. A copy of FileMaker Pro 11 costs $299 USD. If you own FileMaker 9 or 10, you can upgrade for $179 USD. Keep in mind, this is an application for professionals. It is extremely customizable and slick. The price can easily be justified for pros, but I can’t recommend that light database users drop that kind of money. Think of this along the lines of Adobe’s Photoshop. It is the best of the best, but it carries a large price tag. If you don’t need all of the advanced features, you might prefer Bento. You can buy this app for as low as $49 USD. It’s a really great deal for end-user database management.

Recently, FileMaker released iPhone (iTunes Link) and iPad (iTunes Link) applications that allow you to view and edit your FileMaker databases while away from your computer. I will be reviewing the iPhone app in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that.

If you aren’t sure if your Mac can run FileMaker, take a moment to look at the system requirements.

Intel-based Mac
1 GB of RAM, 2 GB recommended
DVD drive (for boxed product)
Mac OS X v10.5.7 *

PowerPC G4 (867MHz ), G5, or Intel-based Mac
512 MB of RAM, 2 GB recommended
DVD drive (for boxed product)
For All Platforms Sharing over a network

I’d like to note that I did my research for this app with a review copy from the folks at FileMaker, Inc. Their team has been very pleasant and helpful, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them. Just so you know, receiving a review copy doesn’t influence the content of the review. I appraise the software solely based on it’s own merits.

What do you think about FileMaker Pro? Is it worth your hard-earned cash? Did this review convince you to try it out? Maybe you’ve used FileMaker for years, and you have some great tips. Let us know by sounding off in the comment section of this post. We love hearing from you.

Image Credit: FileMaker, Inc.

Grant is a writer from Delaware. In his spare time, Grant maintains a personal blog, hosts The Weekly Roar, hosts Quadcast, and writes for video games.