Using ODBC and JDBC with FileMaker Pro

You can use FileMaker Pro as:

  • a data source, sharing your database files with other applications on the same computer using ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) and JDBC (Java Database Connectivity). For example, you can create charts, analyze numbers, and generate reports using FileMaker Pro data in other applications. See "FileMaker Pro as a data source," below.
  • an ODBC client application, interacting with data sources on the same computer or over a network. For example, you can import data from an Oracle data source into FileMaker Pro, or you can work with an Oracle data source interactively in the relationships graph and in layouts. See "FileMaker Pro as an ODBC client application," below.

FileMaker Pro as a data source

FileMaker Pro includes all the software you need to share your database as a data source via ODBC and JDBC, including the client drivers you use to access your database from other applications. To share your FileMaker database file as a data source over a network, use FileMaker Server; files shared by FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Cloud cannot be accessed as data sources over a network.

See Sharing FileMaker Pro data via ODBC or JDBC for information about enabling a database file for sharing.

For instructions on installing FileMaker ODBC client drivers, see FileMaker ODBC and JDBC Guide. For details about supported SQL statements, expressions, and Catalog functions, see FileMaker SQL Reference and FileMaker ODBC and JDBC Guide.

FileMaker Pro as an ODBC client application

When you use FileMaker Pro as a client application, you must install and configure drivers for the ODBC data source you’re accessing. For example, to access data from an Oracle database using ODBC, you must install and configure an Oracle ODBC client driver. Third-party drivers are available from a number of vendors. For more information, see Configuring an ODBC client driver.

Note  ODBC data sources are also referred to as external SQL sources (ESS).

See Accessing external data sources for information about:

See the next section for an overview of using FileMaker Pro as a data source or as a client.

Deciding how to work with ODBC and JDBC in FileMaker Pro

What do you want to do?

How do you do it?


Use FileMaker Pro as a data source/share FileMaker Pro data

  1. ODBC and JDBC
  2. SQL queries

FileMaker ODBC and JDBC Guide and FileMaker SQL Reference

Use FileMaker Pro as an ODBC client/access ODBC data

  1. Interactively via the relationships graph
  2. One-time, static via ODBC import (or File menu > Open), also Import Records script step and Execute SQL script step

Accessing external data sources




Database Management System (DBMS)

An application that allows users to store, process, and retrieve information in a database


A standard programming language that controls and interacts with a DBMS

Data source

The data you want to access (like a DBMS) and information to locate the data (like the path or IP address)

Client application

The application that is requesting data (using SQL) from a data source using ODBC or JDBC


The retrieval, manipulation, or modification of data from a data source by sending SQL statements


A collection of data, similar to a table in a FileMaker Pro database file


An attribute in a table, similar to a field in a FileMaker Pro database file


A set of cells in a table, similar to a record in a FileMaker Pro database file

ODBC driver

A DLL (Windows) or shared library (macOS) that sends an SQL query to access data stored in a database and delivers the requested data to the client application

JDBC driver

A JAR (Java Archive) file that sends an SQL query to access data stored in a database and delivers the requested data to the client application

Before you begin

Before you work begin working with ODBC data sources, do the following:

  • Install the appropriate ODBC driver.
  • Know the IP address or domain name of the ODBC data source or FileMaker Pro database.
  • Know the user name and password for the ODBC data source as supplied by the database administrator.

    The access that the database administrator provides determines whether you will be allowed read-write or read-only access.