Apple owned FileMaker has sent word that over 500,000 free templates have been downloaded from the Bento Template Exchange since its launch in June 2009.

The affordable personal database software, aimed at a range of users, tasks and projects is now available for Mac, iPhone and iPad users. Bento 3 comes with 35 pre-designed, ready-to use templates including wine collecting, job hunting, home searching, holiday planning and more.

According to FileMaker, the Bento templates show how Bento can organise virtually any information in business, education and home settings.

More than 700 templates are currently available, ranging from Sales Funnel Management and Simple Home Inventory to Teacher Lesson Plans and Psychotherapy Session Notes. Among the most popular templates are Contact & Customer Manager and Project Manager.

"People get a database because they have a job to do.  The template exchange provides 700 ways to accomplish whatever task you have in mind," said Ryan Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and services, FileMaker.

"A half-million downloads from the Bento Template Exchange shows that lots of people are finding this true."

Bento 3 Project Manager

FileMaker introduced Bento 3 in September 2009, with a range of new features and enhancements, including iPhoto integration with the ability to store more info about photos and link them to contacts, projects, events and other information stored in Bento. Bento 3 offers the ability to share your database information over a local area network (LAN) using Apple’s Bonjour technology, and now share libraries with up to five users over a wired or wireless local network.

Users can also encrypt any field and assign passwords to secure your information in Bento 3, says FileMaker. Other security features let you assign a database password for your entire Bento database or provide a "sharing password" for other Bento users on your network.

Bento 3 offers what the company believes is a new easy-on-the-eye Grid view in Bento 3, which promises a much-improved method of displaying thumbnails of photos, text and numeric-based information. Revamped File Lists show image thumbnails, instead of just text.

Bento 3 has a SRP of £29.95. A 30-day trial version of Bento is also available at www.bentotrial.co.uk.

In January this year Bento announced 200,000 Bento Template Exchange downloads. In May, Bento introduced Bento for iPad.