The FileMaker Data Migration Tool

The Support Group
Jun 13, 2018 · 3 min read

The introduction of the new FileMaker 17 Platform brings many new and productive improvements to the software. We have the ability to attach multiple files to email messages, copy custom menus, create directories on the fly and more. Those are all very exciting features but I would say one of the life-changing enhancements is the new FileMaker data migration tool. The data migration tool isn’t strictly a version 17 feature. It’s really a stand-alone command line app that you can download with a FileMaker Developer Subscription, just like the iOS SDK.

The tool is very simple. Essentially, it takes the data out of one file and inserts it into a clone file. The major benefit of the new tool is speed. The data migration tool moves data much faster than a bunch of scripted imports ever could and on a predictable timetable as well.

The Lay of the Land

This is where the data migration tool rides in on its white horse. Now you can make changes in one fell swoop by merely typing some simple commands. You still need to take the live file offline to run it, but you can at least perform the update ahead of time using a backup copy to figure out the amount of downtime involved.

Here’s what you need:

1. FileMaker data migration tool installed on your computer (Windows or MacOS)

2. Current live file or a recent backup

3. Clone of your development version of the file (Save As)

Here’s what the code will look like:

It’s important to note that you must not open the clone file or nothing will work. You started with two files — the production file and the clone — but after running the command you end up with three files. This third file can be renamed and uploaded to the server because it will have all of your current app changes and data!

If things go adrift, you can refer to the FileMaker Data Migration Tool Guide or you can type “FMDataMigration help” in the command line.

Happy migrating!

By Vince Dolan

Originally published at


We moved to @Claris (formerly FileMaker Inc.,

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