It is possible to split a FileMaker file into two parts--one data and one interface. Then, if your update does not require a change to your data model, You can just replace the interface copy of the file with a new copy. See: Convert to Seperation Model
But changes to the data model require setting up a script that uses import records to import the data from the old copy into the corresponding tables of the new.
thanks PhilModJunk, that was helpful :-)