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Share FileMaker Pro Database Files on a network

FileMaker Pro (FMP) has built-in file sharing capabilities. Your FileMaker Pro database can be made available to anyone with a networked computer and another copy of the same version of the FMP application. Please consider carefully whether it is appropriate for the information you have to be shared. If you decide to do so, please make sure to password protect your file!

Ag IT does not recommend placing FileMaker Pro files in a "shared" network folder.

Example: on a Windows machine, you can "map a network drive" to another machine to see its shared folder.

Also, on Windows computers, FileMaker Pro files should be stored on your Local Disk (C:).

Why? The answer is that FileMaker Pro is very dependent of being able to write (save) it's data to disk as needed. FileMaker does not have a "Save" command. It saves automatically when the computer is idle. If you are using a FileMaker Pro database from a network share and the network is down when it attempts to save, the file will crash and may become unrecoverable.

If you need to share FMP files between staff, you should use FileMaker Pro's built-in file sharing to share the files. One computer will act as the Host. FileMaker Pro files must be open on that computer. Then the other machines may connect to it as Guests.

From Each Computer: Set FMP Network Preference

  1. Open the FileMaker Pro application or any FileMaker Pro database file.
  2. From the Edit menu choose Preferences and then Application.
  3. Under the General tab, make sure TCP/IP displays in the Network protocol pop-up menu. If not, select TCP/IP from the pop-up list.
  4. Click OK.

    Note: If you switched to the TCP/IP setting you will need to exit FileMaker and relaunch the application.

From the "Host": Share FileMaker Pro File(s)

  1. Open the FileMaker Pro database document you wish to share.
  2. From the File menu choose Sharing....
  3. Select Multi-User to share the database file.

    Note: If using FileMaker Pro 5 or higher, select Multi-User (Hidden) to share the file but not have the file name displayed in the Hosts database dialog box.

  4. Click OK
  5. If your FileMaker Pro database solution contains multiple files, you should open and share (repeat Steps 1 - 4) all the files.

    Note: Your FileMaker Pro database file(s) will be available to other people as long as it remains open on your computer.

    Note: You should discover the IP Address of the Host in case it is needed by the Guests when they connected. The following steps are for Windows computers.
  1. Click the Start menu and choose Run. Remove any text in the box.
  2. Type CMD and press OK.
  3. Type ipconfig and press Enter.
  4. Write down the IP Address.
  5. Close the CMD.exe window.

From the "Guests": Open Shared FMP File

  1. From within FileMaker Pro, from the File menu choose Open.
  2. Click on the Hosts button.

    Note: The Hosts window will appear and list all shared files available of any locally hosted FileMaker Pro database files.

  3. To select and open a file, double click on the file name. If needed, enter the password and click OK.
  4. If you don't see files in the Hosts window automatically, click the Specify Host... option in the bottom portion of the dialog box. Enter the specific IP address of the Host. If you plan to connect to this database in the future, click the check box next to the Permanently add entry to Hosts list option. Click OK. The names of the shared files should appear.