Software tips, techniques, and news.

FileMaker 17 Overview

FileMaker 17 Overview.

A new and exciting version of the FileMaker platform is here! 2018 marks over 33 years in business for FileMaker, Inc. In a collection of articles, we review what’s new in the FileMaker platform, specifically the features for FileMaker Pro Advanced 17, FileMaker Server 17, FileMaker Go 17, along with FileMaker Cloud. Below you will find an overview of our favorite features with links to our more in-depth articles and example videos.

What's New?

  • New features includes native support for Found Set Portals, redesigned layout tools, multiple email attachment support, and create directories option when saving files.

  • New mobile features include Local Notification support, auto-complete data entry improvements, keyboard shortcut support, sensor function support (battery, location, altitude, speed, acceleration, magnetic, steps, air pressure), and drag and drop via iOS split screen.

  • FileMaker User Licensing is the default licensing moving forward. This is similar to FileMaker Licensing for Teams (FLT) and includes FileMaker Pro Advanced as the default client. You can now install up to 3 FileMaker Servers for more flexibility for deployment and testing servers. You will also receive a single license key for all products. Overall welcomed simplicity to licensing.

  • The new FileMaker Data Migration Tool allows you to migrate your data from one version of your application to another saving you hours when deploying a new version of your FileMaker application.

  • FileMaker Server on premise now includes a new admin console interface similar to the FileMaker Cloud (via Amazon Web Services) and the official release of the FileMaker Data API (RESTful API) with support to upload data into container fields and run FileMaker scripts.

  • FileMaker Cloud for Amazon Web Services (AWS) running CentOS Linux continues to improve and has reached parity for new features supported by FileMaker Server 17. You must have annual licensing in order to use FileMaker Cloud.

  • FileMaker 17 Trial is now for 45 day, giving you more time to check out the product when building a custom application up from 15 days.

FileMaker Pro Advanced 17

FileMaker Pro Advanced is the default client moving forward, and while the advanced tools are off by default, you can easily turn them in preferences by selecting “Use Advanced Tools”. FileMaker is a well-rounded platform and this release provides improvements to create custom apps such as improved layout design tools, improved usability, and enhanced security, allowing you to build more sophisticated applications faster than ever before.

Create Custom Apps

Upon launching FileMaker Pro Advanced you now see from the File menu a Create Window option that provides you a way to begin with either a Blank application, Converting data to a New Application, or Learn more with a link to the new FileMaker Custom App Academy.

You can also begin with a starter application or sample application. The new starter applications include Assets, Contacts, Content Management, Inventory, Meetings, and Tasks and all include a good foundation for new applications. The sample applications are the same as prior versions and include Assets, Contacts, Content Management, Estimates, Event Management, Expense Report, Inventory, Invoices, and Meetings, Personnel Records, Product Catalog, Projects, Research Notes, Resource Scheduling, Tasks, and Time Billing.

Add-On Tables

In addition you can now add Add-on Tables to your custom apps. Quickly add a common feature which inserts a table, relationship, and portal to the screen for common modules you may want to add in your custom FileMaker applications. The Add-on Table list includes Action Items, Addresses, Attachments, Companies, Email Addresses, General Info, Inventory Transactions, Notes, People, Phone Numbers, and Topics.

The relationship graph also now shows on the right the text, “If you add a portal to a layout and choose New Add-on Table, new table occurrences are created here for you. Or you can work with the relationships graph yourself. For guidance on creating relationships, see the Custom App Academy.”

With Add-On Tables we see great potential in the FileMaker Platform for building more rapid applications and potentially bolting on third party products. See FileMaker Add-On Tables in action as Kevin Boehle shows you in a video.

Found Set Portal

You can now display the current found set of records in a portal without any extra programming or the need to create a self-join relationship to your table. No additional relationship will be added to your relationship graph. Learn about the FileMake Current Found Set Portal in detail as Nathan Kiefer walks you through the feature in a video

Redesigned Layout Tools

You can now work with objects in a group without ungrouping them, allowing you to resize, move, and format individual objects that are in a group without the laborious process of ungrouping them first then later regrouping the objects.

The Inspector window and Field Picker have been improved so they are no longer floating windows by default allowing you to use the tools more easily especially with multiple monitors as you create and edit layouts.

Field Picker

The Field Picker can be resized, great if you are using long field names so you can easily see the fields. Also there is a new Control Style options you can set before dragging a field to a layout so the field appears as desired. Options include Edit Box, Drop-Down List, Pop-Up Menu, Checkbox Set, Radio Button Set, Drop-down Calendar, or Concealed Edit Box. In addition, The Layout Objects window introduced in FileMaker 16 is now a part of the Field Picker allowing you to toggle between Fields and Objects.

Inspector Window

The Inspector Window now anchors to the right of your window in layout mode and allows you to toggle your views between Position, Styles, Appearance, and Data. You can still create additional floating Inspector Windows if desired.

Universal Touch Theme

A new Universal Touch theme is available that is used by starter applications and add-on table, designed to be simple and work well with iOS apps. The neutral color palette should allow you to customize the theme easily by adding your desired colors to a few styles quickly.

Multiple Email Attachments

When sending email directly from FileMaker you can now attach multiple files to the email. The Send Mail script step allows you to insert multiple paths to send multiple files. In prior versions you had to use a third party email plugin to automate sending an email with multiple attachments.

Create Directories Option

Script steps that export or save files now include a Create Directories option. In prior versions you had to manually create the folders using a third party plugin and now FileMaker will allow you to do this very easily. Now you can save a PDF or Excel spreadsheet to a subfolder on a user's desktop and have FileMaker create that subfolder.

Copy and Paste Custom Menus

You can copy and paste custom menus from one file to another. Developers will rejoice who have built up custom menus as part of their solutions or have multiple files that you wish to streamline custom menus across.

Show Custom Dialog

You can now use variables for input fields in custom dialogs. When specifying the input field you can now select variable as the value. No longer will you have to use a global field and now you can use simple variables you define in your script.

Account Lockout

Users who fail to log in to a hosted file local account several times will be locked out of the application for several minutes. This will help prevent brute force attacks on FileMaker Servers.

FileMaker Pro Advanced Technical Specs

FileMaker Pro Advanced 17 is supported on Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Standard and Pro, Windows 7 SP1 Professional and Ultimate, macOS High Sierra 10.13, and macOS Sierra 10.12.

FileMaker Go 17

FileMaker Go is for iPad and iPhone users and has all the features provided in FileMaker Pro Advanced plus specific iOS features listed below, except for developer tools. You need FileMaker Pro Advanced on your desktop to build your application. The new version of FileMaker Go 17 is available in the App Store.

Local Notifications

A new script step Configure Local Notification is now available that allows you to display a notification alert to an iOS device when FileMaker Go is not running or is in the background. You can queue or clear a local notification for an iOS device. Learn about FileMaker Push Notifications as Kiyan Allaei demonstrates how to use the new Configure Local Notification script step in a video.

Sensor Functions

You can now return the value of a specified sensor for an iOS device using the GetSensor( ) function. Available sensors include Battery, Location, Attitude, Speed, Acceleration, Magnetic, Step Counts, and Air Pressure. Learn about FileMaker Sensor Functions as Armen Nahapetian demonstrates how to use the new GetSensor script step in a video.


Data entry in FileMaker Go will be as easy as doing data entry on FileMaker Pro Advanced as you can now add values from a value list using auto-complete. Even if you're not using auto-complete and have large value list you will see improvements. This is a great welcome to mobile customers using FileMaker Go.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Users who use Bluetooth keyboards when working with FileMaker Go now have common keyboard shortcuts available like Find Mode. Hold down the Command key and you will see all the shortcuts available. Available shortcuts include New Record, Duplicate Record, Delete Record, Omit Record, Show All Records, Find Mode, Modify Last Find, Sort Records, Print, Close Window, Help, and Launch Center. A great addition for power mobile users.

Drag and Drop

From within the FileMaker Go application via split screen you can drag and drop an image, file, and text data. For those who utilize split screen this will create a better user experience between your application and other apps you use. You can drop from FileMaker Go to other applications if they support drag and drop too.

FileMaker Go 17 Technical Specs

Requires iOS devices running iOS 11.2 or later on the iPad or iPhone devices.

FileMaker Server 17

FileMaker Server is known for its ease-of-use and ability to run without any problems. The newest version focuses on an entirely new admin console interface, performance improvements, security updates, and many enhancements related to the FileMaker Data API, FileMaker Admin API (beta), and the FileMaker Server Admin Console.

FileMaker Data API Official

The future of FileMaker Custom Web Publishing is now live and no longer in beta supporting new features such as uploading containers and calling FileMaker scripts. FileMaker continues to support the FileMaker PHP API for Custom Web Publishing (via Command Line Interface only) and has been clear to developers for over a year that your web apps should be built using the new REST API. Learn more about the Official FileMaker Data API as Mason Stenquist goes in depth about the Official FileMaker Data API in a video.

FileMaker Server Admin Console

The FileMaker Server Admin Console has been redesigned with a more responsive, simpler user interface. The interface looks similar to the FileMaker Cloud interface and is much more responsive than the previously-built-on-Java admin console, embracing modern responsive web design via HTML and Javascript. New notifications allow you to easily see messages from the Admin Console. See the simplicity of FileMaker Server 17 Admin Console as Kaz McLamore shows you what to expect in the new FileMaker Server 17 Admin Console in a video.

FileMaker Server Admin API

The FileMaker Server Admin API allows administrators to create a web interface to manage servers. The FileMaker Server Admin API was previously only available on FileMaker Cloud but is now available for on-premise FileMaker Servers and is in beta till September 27th, 2019. Learn about the FileMaker Server Admin API by checking out a previous article when the FileMaker Server Admin API was released for FileMaker Cloud as Mason shows you how the new FileMaker Server Admin API works with FileMaker Cloud in a video.

FileMaker Server 17 Technical Specs

Compatible with Windows Server 2016 Standard Edition, Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard with Update Microsoft KB2919355, macOS High Sierra 10.13, and macOS Sierra 10.12. If you're on Windows Server 2008 it’s a good time to think about moving to FileMaker Cloud.

WebDirect browser support includes Safari 11.x, IE 11.x, Microsoft Edge 41+, Chrome 64+. Mobile browsers Safari on iOS 11.2 minimum and Chrome 64 on Android 7.x. Note that Firefox is not on the list of supported browsers.

FileMaker Cloud

FileMaker Cloud was initially released in September 2016 and is a great product for most customers to consider especially if you need to replace your current server hardware! This new product is available ONLY through Amazon Web Services (AWS) and gives you FileMaker Server in minutes. FileMaker Cloud is fast, lowers long-term maintenance, and is secure. FileMaker Cloud 1.17 will support most of the features of FileMaker Server 17. This is the first release in which FileMaker Cloud is on parity to FileMaker Server 17 upon release. The FileMaker Data API is no longer a trial for FileMaker Cloud. Read about FileMaker Cloud 1.16 released in November 2017 for AWS from Kiyan Allaei.

FileMaker Data Migration Tool

Going from a development version of your application to a production version now has gone from days to hours, and from hours to minutes with the new FileMaker Data Migration Tool. For customers with large amounts of data this is a huge deal. Learn more about the FileMaker Data Migration Tool as Ethan demonstrates in a video and includes a download file to make the tool easy to use for you.

FileMaker User Licensing

As of launch of FileMaker 17 there is a new licensing model in place. FileMaker’s goal is to continue to create simplicity in understanding licensing for new and existing customers across all the products in the platform. Just count the number of users who will access your FileMaker application and that is number of seats you need to license your app. Users can use the entire platform and administrators can now deploy FileMaker Server up to 3 times.

No longer can you buy just an individual product; instead users have access to the entire FileMaker platform. As one of the top FileMaker Partner Resellers in the world, Jared Ellison will set your expectations for FileMaker User Licensing as he discusses the new and improved licensing and how customers immediately transition to FileMaker User Licensing.


The FileMaker platform continues to be the leader in creating innovative, powerful custom applications for organizations all around the world and works seamlessly across Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, and the web. The new release of the FileMaker 17 platform further emphasizes this.

FileMaker Go continues to give the platform a competitive edge and this version has many updates related to iOS. Organizations can create innovative and rapid custom applications for iOS with infinite ROI. Creating prototype applications on the iPad and iPhone is a matter of hours not months.

FileMaker 17 is a great release and has features everyone can benefit from. We look forward to building innovative custom applications using the new tools for Mobile, Web, and Desktop. If you would like help taking advantage of all the great new features FileMaker 17 offers, contact us today.

Did you know we are an authorized reseller for Claris FileMaker Licensing?
Contact us to discuss upgrading your Claris FileMaker software.

kevin hammond headshot.
Kevin Hammond

Kevin is CEO and Business Project Manager for DB Services. He also a founding member of the FileMaker Partner Council and certified in FileMaker 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, and 8. Kevin is passionate about FileMaker as a custom application platform and is constantly on a mission to improve how he approaches each assignment.