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How to Prepare for Data Conversions

With the release of FileMaker 18, the time to start prepping for data conversions is now! Luckily, with FileMaker Pro 7-14, by simply opening those files on FileMaker 18, you can automatically convert them to the correct format. Unfortunately, for older versions, there is a little more leg-work involved.

Depending on your systems complexity, the conversion process could take anywhere from days, to weeks to complete. It all hinges on the number of variables like number of files, scripts, layouts and value lists in your solution.

Database icon surrounded by cyclical arrows

Luckily, the same database format has been in use since v12 of FileMaker. However, if you are coming from a version prior to that, here are a few tips to help you along the way.

  1. Identify what format you're coming from.  (It could be .fp3, .fp5, .fp7, .fmp12)—supported versions by file time are as follows:
    1. .fp3 --> v3, v4
    2. .fp5 --> v5, v6
    3. .fp7 --> v7, v8, v8.5, v9, v10, v11
    4. .fmp12 --> versions 12+


  1. Make sure that you have the relevant software to perform the conversion(s) necessary. If coming from a .fp3, you'll need one version of FileMaker that supports .fp5, one that supports .fp7, and one that supports .fmp12.


  1. You'll basically open your database in the older software in chronological order. So, for the example given, we would open our .fp3 database in v6 which will yield a new .fp5 file. Then we'd open that .fp5 file in v11 which will give us a new .fp7 file. Finally, we'd open that .fp7 file in the latest version.

It's totally possible that there will be hiccups along the way. It's common for there to be some issues when converting from .fp5 to .fp7, and we have some tools that help us identify and smooth out those kinds of issues.

If you are currently using an older system, it may be time for a system redesign. With over 30 years of FileMaker experience, we will work within your budget to assist with anything from database design and development, to migration and conversions. Get your free Needs Analysis today.

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And as always, Thanks for Reading!

Matt Leering

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