Setting up recurring imports

You can set up a FileMaker Pro file to automatically update data imported from another file, such as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Recurring import occurs automatically every time you open the file and the first time you view the layout containing the data from the external file. Later, you can run a script to update data.

When you set up recurring imports, FileMaker Pro creates a new table for the imported data and a new layout to display the data. You can customize the layout in Layout mode later, if you wish.

Each time you update data, FileMaker Pro deletes data in the recurring import layout and replaces it with current data from the external file. Data imported via recurring import cannot be modified or added to in FileMaker Pro.

Note  To set up recurring imports, you must open a file with account access that is assigned the Full Access privilege set. For information about privilege sets, see About accounts, privilege sets, and extended privileges. Users do not need to use an account with Full Access privileges to use recurring import after it has been set up in a file.

To set up recurring imports:

  1. Create a new file or open the file in which you want to set up recurring imports. See Creating a FileMaker Pro file or Opening and managing files.

  2. In Browse mode, choose File menu > Import Records > File.

  3. For Files of type (Windows) or Show (macOS), select the type of file you want to import. For example, choose Excel Workbooks (*.xlsx).

    For a list of supported file types, see Supported import/export file formats.

  4. Locate and select the file containing data you want to import.

  5. Select Set up as automatic recurring import, then click Open.

    The path of the file you selected appears in the Recurring Import Setup dialog box.

  6. To skip importing column headings, select Don't import first record (Contains field names).

    If a record other than the first contains field names, you can choose the record later. See notes, below.

  7. Accept the default layout name or type a new name for the layout FileMaker Pro will create to display the imported data.

  8. Accept the default script name or type a new name for the recurring import script.

    This script is created for you and runs automatically whenever the file opens and the recurring import layout is first displayed. You can also run this script manually by clicking the script's button on the layout.

  9. Click OK.

  10. If you are importing data from an Excel file, you can import by worksheet or by named range. Choose a worksheet or named range, then click OK.

    Note  You can import data from only one worksheet or named range per layout.

The new layout appears in Browse mode in Table View. For more information about Table View, see Viewing records as a form, list, or table.


  • Recurring import creates a new table and layout for imported data. If you want to add imported data to an existing table or layout in your database, see Importing data into FileMaker Pro.

  • Data changes in external files must be saved in the original application before FileMaker Pro can import them.

  • Recurring import is an import-only process. To make changes to the data, first modify data in the source file. Next, import data in the FileMaker Pro file by clicking the script button on the recurring import layout. If changes are made to the data while the FileMaker Pro file is closed, data on the recurring import layout will update the first time you view the layout during your next FileMaker Pro session.

  • When data is imported for the first time, FileMaker Pro creates an Import log file in the folder that contains the FileMaker Pro file. This log file is updated each time data is imported into any FileMaker Pro file located in this folder.

  • When you use the script button to update data, FileMaker Pro deletes all previously imported records, reimports the data, and creates new records for any new data found in the external file.

  • As your needs grow, you might find that you want to modify the automatically generated import script. You can modify this script, but you can't specify a different script. For more information about planning and creating scripts, see Automating tasks with scripts.

  • To change which record to use as field names, open the recurring import script and edit the Import Records script step. In the Specify Import Order dialog box, navigate to a record and choose Use as Field Names.

  • The automatically generated script FileMaker Pro creates for recurring import is not supported in a server-side script.