Managing security > About accounts, privilege sets, and extended privileges

About accounts, privilege sets, and extended privileges


Accounts authenticate users who are attempting to open a protected file. Each account specifies an account name and (usually) a password, which identifies a user. Any user that cannot specify valid account information won't be able to open a protected file. Each file initially contains two accounts: Admin and Guest.

A best practice for security is for every individual who accesses a file to use their own account. This allows you to guarantee the identities of particular users and manage their access at an individual level.

FileMaker Pro Advanced works with accounts defined within a FileMaker Pro Advanced file (called FileMaker file accounts) and accounts defined externally. To grant access to users or groups of users whose accounts are defined externally, you must create account access entries in the file, which associate users' accounts, or the groups they're in, with privilege sets.

See Creating and editing account access and About the Admin and Guest accounts.

Privilege sets

A privilege set specifies a level of access to a file. When you create a privilege set, there are many options available that you can use to limit access, such as which layouts are viewable, which menus are available, and whether printing is permitted. Privilege sets can also restrict access to particular tables, records, or fields within a file. Each user or group of users is assigned a privilege set, which determines the level of access when someone opens a file using their account.

You can create as many privilege sets as you need to define the types of access you want to permit to a file. Each file contains three predefined privilege sets for common types of access levels.

See Using the predefined privilege sets and Creating and editing privilege sets.

Extended privileges

Extended privileges determine the data sharing options that are permitted by a privilege set, such as whether a privilege set permits users to open a shared file or view a database in a web browser. See Editing extended privileges for a privilege set and Creating and editing extended privileges.

A user who attempts to open or access a protected file will be prompted to provide account information. If the privilege set for the user or group does not permit the type of extended privilege access the user is requesting, the user will get an error indicating that they cannot access the file in that way.

All extended privileges except fmreauthenticate10 are disabled by default, even in the Full Access privilege set.

Enabling extended privileges only makes it allowable for certain privilege sets to access shared data. To access the shared data, you must also set up sharing for the type of access that you want. See Sharing files on a network, Using ODBC and JDBC with FileMaker Pro Advanced, or Publishing databases on the web.

Privileges protect a single file

The privileges that you set up apply to a single file only and all tables within that file. If your custom app consists of multiple files that you want to protect, you may want to combine all of these files into one multitable file. Then you can define privileges in only a single file to manage access to the entire custom app. If you don't want to combine the files into one file, then you should define privileges in each file that contains items you want to protect.

Important  If you create a relationship in one file that references a table in another file, you cannot manage access privileges for the related table in the first file. The privileges defined in the other file control access to that table.

If you have a multifile custom app that includes multiple protected files, consider granting identical account access in each protected file. When one protected file attempts to access another protected file (such as to access related data or run a script in the second file), FileMaker clients initially attempt to open the second file with the same credentials that were used to open the first file. If the user's account access is the same, FileMaker clients skip displaying the Open dialog box. Otherwise, the Open dialog box is displayed so the user can enter credentials for an account that can access the second file.


When you are accessing a file as an ODBC or JDBC data source, that external data source provides the access privileges for the data. You can add access privilege requirements in FileMaker Pro Advanced. See Editing ODBC data sources.