Opening files as the host

To host a file using FileMaker Pro so other users can access it as clients:

  • the file must be enabled for network sharing, as described in the next section
  • you must be the first to open it

If the file has associated lookups, related files, or uses external scripts, you must open and share those files as well.

When you share a file, by default it is visible to all other networked users via the Hosts dialog box. To prevent a shared file from appearing in this list, select Don’t display in host’s file list in the FileMaker Network Settings dialog box. This option is a good choice for sharing files that must be open but should not be accessed directly by users. These files may include related databases, files with external scripts, and files that are used to generate a value list.

Before a host can close a shared file, all clients must close the file. FileMaker Pro allows you to prompt networked clients to close the shared file when you close the file, change the sharing conditions for the file, exit FileMaker Pro, or perform a task that requires all clients to close the file.

Important  When you host files using FileMaker Pro, the connection to clients is not encrypted. You should host files this way for testing purposes only. To host files securely, use FileMaker Server or FileMaker Cloud. To enable SSL connections and install a custom SSL certificate for FileMaker Server, see FileMaker Server Installation and Configuration Guide. For more on security in FileMaker Cloud, see the Product Documentation Center.

To enable a file for FileMaker Network sharing:

  1. Open the FileMaker Pro file.

    Note  To enable or change a file’s sharing status, you must open it with account access that has Manage Extended Privileges access privileges. Users do not need to have Manage Extended Privileges access privilege to become the host of a database, but must have these access privileges to change the sharing status of a file. See About accounts, privilege sets, and extended privileges for more information.

  2. Click Share in the status toolbar, then choose Share with FileMaker Clients.

    Or, choose File menu > Sharing > Share with FileMaker Clients.

  3. In the FileMaker Network Settings dialog box, set Network Sharing to On.

    Once sharing is enabled for a file, the first user to open the file becomes that file’s host.

  4. Select the file(s) to be hosted from the list of Currently open files.
  5. For Network access to the file, choose an option.
    • All users provides access to all FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go users on your network.
    • Specify users by privilege set limits network access to users based on their privilege set.
    • No users prevents any access via FileMaker networking.
  6. To prevent a shared file from appearing in the Hosts dialog box, select Don’t display in host’s file list.
  7. Click OK.

To disable FileMaker Network sharing:

  1. Click Share in the status toolbar, then choose Share with FileMaker Clients.

    Or, choose File menu > Sharing > Share with FileMaker Clients.

  2. In the FileMaker Network Settings dialog box, set Network Sharing to Off.

Tip  As the host, you can send a message to all clients accessing the database. Click Share in the status toolbar, choose Share with FileMaker Clients, then select the file to notify and click Send Message. Type a message in the Send Message dialog box and click OK. Clients see the message in a dialog box. They can dismiss the dialog box by clicking Cancel, or the dialog box will close automatically 30 seconds after appearing.

To close a shared file:

  1. On the computer hosting the file, choose File menu > Close.
  2. If any clients have the shared file open, a dialog box lists those clients. Click Ask to send a message to these clients requesting that they close the file.
  3. If

    Then FileMaker Pro

    Clients click Cancel

    Waits for those clients to close the file

    Clients click Close Now

    Closes the shared file on the client's computer. (If other FileMaker Pro files are open, they are left open.)

    Clients do nothing

    Attempts to close the file after 30 seconds, if it can be closed safely

    Once all clients have closed the file, FileMaker Pro closes the file on your computer.


  • Avoid hosting files that are located on a remote or networked volume. For optimal performance, the file you're hosting should be on the hard disk of your computer.
  • If you see the message "FileMaker cannot share files because another user is already sharing files using FileMaker Pro on this computer," FileMaker Pro has detected another application using the same port it uses to share files. The other application may be another version of FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Server. If you don’t need to share files with FileMaker Pro, then you can ignore this message. Otherwise, quit both FileMaker Pro and the other application and then start FileMaker Pro. For more information, search the Knowledge Base.
  • If you are unable to share files on a local network, verify on the host computer that port 5003 is open in the firewall. For more information, see your operating system Help.