Filemaker Pro 5.5 - ODBC and Upgrading

Posted on 2011-05-06
Last Modified: 2012-05-11

I have a client with a fairly simple "Order Quote System".
It is written in Filemaker Pro 5.5. (I am not familiar with Filemaker)

Two Questions:

1. I am told that it is not possible to provide an ODBC link to Microsft Excel or Access.  Is this true?  If so will the latest version provide an ODBC link?

2. I am told that it would be necessary to RE-WRITE the software if my client upgraded to the latest version of filemaker.  Is this true?
Question by:Patrick O'Dea
    LVL 9

    Assisted Solution

    The new Filemaker will convert the database, depending on what features he used some of it may need some troubleshooting. Don't worry that you are not a filemaker programmer this language is very simple and the help is good.

    Once you convert the database there is no road back so make sure you keep a copy...
    LVL 24

    Accepted Solution

    There are several conditions that affect the answers to you questions.


    ODBC connections were possible with older versions of FileMaker but they were not particularly reliable due to poor drivers. The newer drivers work well in my experience.
    Using FileMaker Pro 7 and more recent, you can turn on ODBC sharing for a particular file opened in FileMaker Pro and connect to that file via ODBC. If you are using a Mac, you will need a third party driver such as the one sold by Actual Technologies which I've found works well and which you can test out for free
    If you are wanting to host the file using FileMaker Server and make ODBC connections to that server, then you must use FileMaker Server Advanced, which costs considerably more than the regular FileMaker Server.

    Updating FileMaker Files

    If the FileMaker 5.5 database in question is a single file, then you can just open it in FileMaker 7+ and it will be converted to the new format
    If the FM 5.5 database consists of more than one file. The safest way to convert it is to drag and drop the entire set of files onto the FileMaker Pro application icon. This will open and convert all files at once. Be sure to NOT rename the converted files to something different than what they were previously with the exception of the file extension which will automatically get converted from .FP5 to .FP7 (for FM version 7 or greater).
    Sometimes, if the system is one file or very simple, the converted files will just work. If however, there are scripts that refer to other files and perform operations like Go To Related Records > show and print a report > Return to original file, etc. then you may need to do some editing of the scripts to get rid of annoying issues like windows staying open when you want them closed.
    It is not required that you re-write a FileMaker database after conversion, however it is often advantageous and sets a proper foundation for future development of the system including getting rid of redundant scripts, layouts and field. I liken it to replacing the electrical wiring in a house, it does the same thing the old wiring did, but it's something you can rely and build on for the future.) The usually way this is accomplished is through a process of consolidating the files. In FileMaker Pro systems prior to FM 7, every table is a separate file. FileMaker Pro 7's key innovation was to allow multiple tables in a file, thereby reducing redundancy of code. A complete description of how to consolidate FileMaker files can be found in my article o the process:  This process requires some degree FileMaker skill.

    Author Closing Comment

    by:Patrick O'Dea
    Thanks for comprehensive answer.

    Very useful and informative.

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