Sharing files on a network

By sharing (or hosting) a FileMaker Pro file on a FileMaker host, you and other users can use the same file simultaneously with compatible FileMaker client software.

Important  Don't place a FileMaker Pro file in a shared folder for multiple devices to open at the same time; this can damage the file. You must use a FileMaker host to open the file so that the host can share the file with other users.

Host sharing

After you upload a file to a host and have the host open it, the host shares the file with connected clients. Hosts support many users, provide encrypted connections between hosts and clients, and also provide web technologies you can use to access data in the hosted files.

FileMaker Server and FileMaker Cloud allow FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Go clients to use shared files. They provide additional services such as FileMaker WebDirect, the FileMaker Data API, OData API, scheduled scripts, and more. See Uploading files to a host, FileMaker Server Help, and FileMaker Cloud Help.

Note  Host software allows only recent versions of client software to connect. For compatible versions of host software, see the FileMaker platform technical specifications.

Peer-to-peer sharing

After you open a local file and enable FileMaker Network Sharing, FileMaker Pro can share the file with a small number of clients. Using FileMaker Pro to share is also called peer-to-peer sharing. See Peer-to-peer sharing.

Peer-to-peer sharing is insecure and should be used for testing purposes only. To share files using encrypted connections and with more users, use FileMaker Server or FileMaker Cloud.

Working in shared files

Once a shared file is opened by the host, clients have access to the same information, and all changes to the file appear in each user's window.

  • Modifications to the data made by any user are saved in the shared file. Any changes to layouts and scripts are also saved in the shared file.

  • Specified sort orders, find requests, import and export field orders, and print setups are specific to each user.

Although multiple users may make changes in a shared file at the same time, there are limitations to the types of simultaneous changes that are permitted.

Changes to Limitation

Data in fields and records

Two people can't edit the same record at the same time.

Layouts and layout elements

Two people can't modify the same layout at the same time.

Value lists

Two people can't modify or define value lists at the same time.

One person can edit a value list while another person is using it in Browse or Find mode.


Two people can't modify the same script at the same time.

One person can edit a script while another person is using it.

Tables, fields, relationships (database schema)

Two people can't modify any of these elements at one time.

Data source references

Two people can't modify or define data sources at the same time.

One person can edit a data source while another person is using it.

Account access and privilege sets

Two people can't modify or define account access and privilege sets at the same time.

One person can create or modify an account access entry or privilege set while another person is using it.


  • A host sharing a file is independent of any operating system file sharing. Access control you set up in Windows or macOS is not associated with access privileges you set up in FileMaker Pro, and vice versa.

  • Access privileges may restrict the ability of users to change certain elements in a file. See Managing security.

  • You can also publish your file on the web. Users can then access your data anywhere they have an internet or intranet connection using just a web browser. See Publishing databases on the web for more information.