As a user of FileMaker Pro you can setup your database files to be shared on a network so that you and other Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X FileMaker Pro users can access the same file simultaneously.  This is referred to as peer-to-peer file sharing in FileMaker Pro.  Once a file is shared, it can be accessed using the OPEN REMOTE FILE dialog box from within FileMaker Pro.

This article provides troubleshooting suggestions for becoming the host of a FileMaker Pro file and connecting to a shared file using FileMaker Pro.

  • Check Network Access:  Confirm that the host computer and client computer(s) have network access.  If you are unable to see other network resources like a shared printer or other computers on your network or are receiving network errors, it is likely that you are having a general networking issue on your computer that needs to be addressed first before trying to share files with FileMaker Pro.
  • System Requirements:  Verify that your host and client machines meet or exceed the recommended system requirements to run either FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Server (if applicable)
  • Enable File Sharing:  Verify that FileMaker Network Sharing is enabled.
  • Shared Files Need To Be Open:  Verify that the files you want to share are open in FileMaker Pro.  A FileMaker Pro filecannot be shared unless it is open in either FileMaker Pro or FileMaker Server.
  • Check Extended Privileges:  Verify that the appropriate extended privileges are enabled and available for those files that you wish to share.  The extended privilege that is required for FileMaker Networking is [fmapp].  The [fmapp] extended privilege is automatically enabled when you enable a file for sharing in the FILEMAKER NETWORK SETTINGS dialog box.
  • Multiple Copies of FileMaker Pro:  While you can have multiple copies and versions of FileMaker Pro installed on your computer at one time, only one of those copies / versions of FileMaker Pro can share files at any given time.  If multiple versions of FileMaker Pro are running, quit out of all the versions except for the version you want to use to share files.
  • FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Server Installed:  Running FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Server on the same computer is not a supported configuration.  If you see a message like, “FileMaker cannot share files because another user is already sharing files using FileMaker Pro on this computer, “ you need to quit both FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Server and then re-start the one you want to use for sharing files.
  • Unique IP Address:  The IP address that is assigned to your computer might be in conflict with another computer on yourlocal area network.  In a typical network configuration, each computer needs to have a unique IP address.
  • Check your DHCP settings:  Your computer might be setup to use Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) when no DHCP server is available on the network.  A DHCP server is used to help assign IP addresses to computers on the network.  If a DHCP server is not present on a network, IP addresses can be manually configured on those computers that need one.  A DHCP server is not required for FileMaker Pro Network Sharing to work properly.
  • Internet Protocol Versions:  FileMaker Pro supports both Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and version 6 (IPv6).  If yourhost system is setup to use IPv6 but other systems that are trying to access your system are not, revert back to using an IPv4 address on the host system.  Host and client computers must be using FileMaker Pro 7.0 or later to use IPv4 and FileMaker Pro 10.0 or later to use IPv6.
  • TCP/IP Subnets:  FileMaker Pro shows only the databases hosted on your local TCP/IP subnet in the Open Remote dialog box.  A subnet is used to determine whether a host is on the local subnet (network) or on a remote network.  If you want to open a shared FileMaker Pro file that is on a different subnet, consider adding it to the FAVORITE HOSTS by specifying the IP address of the machine that is hosting the file(s).
  • Blocked Ports / Firewall Settings:  If the client machine is outside your LANs firewall, a network administrator must remove blocking from port 5003.  Port 5003 is the port that FileMaker Pro uses to share databases across a network.
  • Restart FileMaker Pro:  If things are not working right, try quitting out of FileMaker Pro and restarting it.
  • Restart Computer: Similar to the suggestion above, if things are not working right, try restarting the computer that FileMaker Pro is installed on.
  • Verify Dates On Host and Client Machines:  Check the date and time settings on both the host machine and any client machines and make sure they are set correctly.
  • Bonjour For Windows:  Bonjour is required in order to view hosted databases on the Microsoft Windows platform.  Bonjour is a service discovery protocol provided by Apple and is part of the FileMaker Pro installation on the Windows platform.  For more information on Bonjour and FileMaker Pro, see this article