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macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 24, 2002
Hi everyone...

I need software with a specific function, and as a designer I have spent very little time using spreadsheets or any other kind of form-based software, and I'm hoping somebody can help me with a recommendation.

Here is what I need:

I create commercials for a group of approximately 30 dealerships. Each of these dealerships' commercials gets distributed to anywhere from 1 to 6 varying media outlets. The number of dealerships getting specific commercials varies between 10-30. There is overlap between many of these.

What I would like to do is, first, create a database for each dealership that includes which media outlets are associated with it. For example, Dealer A's ads go to Comcast and Comnet.

Then, the function that would greatly improve my productivity would enable me to enter in all the dealership names that are getting a specific commercial, and the software would generate a list based on media outlets; for example, "Comcast: Dealers A, B, and C...ComNet: Dealers B, D and F..."

I currently have a table that I use, cross-referencing who gets what, but this is cumbersome, time-consuming, and I tend to make a lot of mistakes doing it this way. What I need seems pretty straightforward and simple, but I have no idea what kind of program to use for this.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Freeware is always nice but I have no problem paying for this.


macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
I use both OmniGraffle Pro 5 and Merlin Project, but I have specialized needs and both applications aren't cheap.

On the low-priced side of the spectrum, Scapple (by the authors of Scrivener, on the MAS and there's a free trial on their web site) and Shapes (by the author of Fluid, which I use -, also with a free trial). Both work well, and get updated regularly. Keep in mind that PowerPoint and Keynote are very capable tools in this regard. All four apps are pretty easy to use and have nice-looking output.


macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
I vote for OmniGraffle, I use that, and its a nice piece of software. My needs may be a bit lower then yours but I think its a capable piece of software.


macrumors 6502
Jan 16, 2008
Nottingham, England
There are a couple of options, but I don't know how well they'll truly fit your needs.

On first read, it sounds like you're after a nice simple database, with a couple of basic reports to get you what you need. If you can find someone who has (and knows how to use) FileMaker Pro, you could maybe get them to knock you up a quick solution that you could run in FileMaker Go on iPad.

Alternatively, something like a simple MS Access project could work well (again this requires some knowledge and knowing how to do it). Obviously Access is Windows only, but there is an Access-like alternative in Open Office -- it's called Base I think ( I've never used base, and the last time I used Access was 10-15 years ago, but it was good for linking two tables of data and seeing the results.

I thought Numbers might just get you by in a pinch, but it doesn't seem to have many data functions. I'm not sure it would be any better than what you have already.
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