Lightweight database suggestions?

Looking for a software recommendation:

I’m a photographer, and for years I used FileMaker Pro to create, enter and store all of my client contracts. It worked really well, but unfortunately is no longer a viable option for me. So to that end, I’m looking for a lightweight database solution that will allow me to design a contact page, enter the client data, print and store the records.

Suggestions? I know that there are cloud based services that will allow me to do this, but I’d prefer to avoid that.


Dunno if database is what you’re looking for? What about something like

It sounds like you are needing a simple customer relationship management program. Have you tried searching for CRM software?

There are around 80 programs in the Mac App Store and many more if you opt for a web based solution.


Two ideas even though they are cloud-based would be Google forms and Airtable

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Tons of database apps on the app store.
Here are some that I believe are all free and open source.
Structr is perhaps the most interesting. It’s edgy too, since they omitted not one, but two vowels in their name.


I am always pleased with TapForms.



+1 for TapForms – it’s available too for Mac, iOS/iPadOS, and syncs reliably among all platforms.

If you happen to own DEVONthink, you can do a really lightweight data collection think with the “sheet” document type. The “sheet” is a tab-separated text file (.tsv) with a “form view” that DEVONthink puts in front it the data file. Totally portable; no lock-in.

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+1 for TapForms here too. I use it for car records (which I’m rubbish at maintaining, no fault of TapForms though), and a database of birds where it handles pictures and audio nicely.

I also made a (slightly) more complex database for a game idea we had and found it pretty simply to set up the relationships needed. In this, I also started using its JavaScript-based scripting for fields in this, which I enjoyed messing around with.

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Thanks for your recommendations all. For those of you (@DrJJWMac, @anon41602260, @GraemeS) that have recommended TapForms, can I create a text document that has the client name, address, phone, email, etc. listed at the top, what they’ve purchased (type of photography and what’s included) listed in the middle, and then the free flowing, bulleted contract text at the end?

In watching videos about TapForms, I can’t tell if I can do exactly what I’m wanting or not. It appears to be a relational database, but I can’t tell if I can have free flowing text that’s been integrated with various data fields.

With TapForms you can create forms for your database that has all those fields, with whatever layout you want.

Here are all the types of fields that can be added to a form:

And then you can create reports to extract the data you added to the database.

Download the trial from and experiment.


Ah. In watching several videos I hadn’t seen any reports nor sprawling text layouts. Good to know that can be done.

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Here’s a form layout from one of my databases – in this one, I have a field Note ID that automatically adds a unique identifier to the form. When I use the database, I get a new, blank form – with this layout – for each record I create.

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Are you primarily using this on Mac, iOS, or both?

I use it about 70/30 macOS/iOS.