10 Replies Latest reply on Mar 17, 2015 2:55 PM by keywords

    Macbooks how to share file


      How to use FM file on 2 macbooks and ipad. Most data entry is done on my Mac. Just need to update/sync copies at the end of the day. We live in rural area with satelite serv. and limited monthly useage, so can't be online while working on FM Database. Confused about best way to safely sync / share /update the file thru itunes, remote, or sharing?  Sounds like we cannot have FM File open on both macbooks at same time. Thank you for any input.

        • 1. Re: Macbooks how to share file

          No reason why you can't have FM open on both MacBooks at the same time (I assume by this you mean under a single licence) if they are not connected to one another in any way. If you do work this way, of course, when you want to sync them again you can run into the usual range of issues, that each copy will have additions and perhaps modifications that the other doesn't, so that neither is the base copy. Still, when you do address this, again assuming you have just one licence, my suggestion would be to copy the file on one MacBook onto the other, with s suitable renaming so you know what's what, then just do your synching on the MacBook that has both copies of the DB on it.

          • 2. Re: Macbooks how to share file

            Which of the copies is your authoritative master??

            Then it is about an issue of syncing records TO that one, and then replacing the child file with a newest version.


            While FileMaker can work for you it is probably not the optimal way of working for this kind of situation without using server.

            • 3. Re: Macbooks how to share file

              Hi vlyn,

              I have a few questions for you:

              • Do you need to enter data/edit data from the iPad, Mac 1 or Mac 2?

              You write:

              "Most data entry is done on my Mac."

              If you can change this to "All data ..." you could just share a copy of your FileMaker file via iCloud or something else once every day. Email, Google Drive, Dropbox etc. will work just fine (do not - NOT - run FileMaker from a dropbox folder or Google Drive etc.).

              If you need to enter data on both mac's and on the iPad you have two options:

              • Use a server (which you find impossible at your site).
              • Set up synch between the three FileMaker files.

              The synch option is pretty straight forward if you are all adding new records but are not editing existing records from all three versions.

              If you are all editing everywhere you will need to set up a more complex synch routine.

              But please let me know about your setting/work: What are you doing/using FileMaker for and who need to add/edit which data?

              Best regards


              • 4. Re: Macbooks how to share file

                Hello - I tried to Reply on the forum, but it doesn’t seem to be there.  (I may have not done correctly). Thank you for your response. Ok, you asked for more info.. here it is...

                My husband, Richard (RB),  is a realtor with average of 25-30 listings at any time. I had been using spreadsheets to reference listing info, price changes, track showing appts., sales, advertising, etc. I purchased FM Single License and solution is GREAT at integrating everything.

                SETUP - RB and I use macbooks at home with router for sharing printers, etc. He takes his macbook into the office nearly every day and uses it there with WIFI.  I will do 95% of FM data entry on my macbook. RB will occasionally update showings and contact info. 

                VISION OF Workflow:

                1.     I need to update records anytime during the day

                2.     Richard can access FM file on his Mac from work or home (preferably without internet connection since it is sketchy). Problem ???? - Some posts say we can't have 2 copies of the file open at one time?

                3..     IDEALLY - RB can also use FM Go on ipad without internet. Would like to lookup a price or show client a photo, but he has no internet or cell service since he is standing in a cornfield. 

                4.     We DO NOT need to have each others updates in 'real-time".  Just would like to update/sync (whatever) our 2 copies & FM GO every day or so. Have read posts about using our router, or iTUNES, a jump drive, Dropbox, et al.

                I am just very confused.  Hope I do not need to buy 2nd copy as might be cost prohibitive. Thank you!  Vicki


                Vicki Budden


                HOME:  410.778.0561

                Visit our Website: 

                www.Eastern Shore of Maryland Real Estate.com <http://www.easternshoreofmarylandrealestate.com/>

                • 5. Re: Macbooks how to share file

                  There's a PDF file available through the forum that explains syncing and if you can adapt its ideas for your needs. Its very well written and thought out.


                  iOS: Sync

                  • 6. Re: Macbooks how to share file

                    Seems to me your issue is less with the iPad, and more about making sure the two MacBooks are in sync. If RB is "in a cornfield" with the iPad, FM Go just needs to have the most up-to-date data, which requires moving that data file/solution onto the iPad as needed.


                    The .pdf file on syncing, referenced in this thread, is a good resource. However, from your description you might consider doing a table-by-table, side-by-side comparison of records. I don't know how large the database itself is, and that is certainly a consideration. If the record set is manageable in size, or the number of modifications is reasonable (you indicate that you try to "sync" the databases every day or so), this may be a viable option.


                    For any record in a table, whose modification date-time stamp doesn't equal that of the same record in the other database, these records could show up on a comparison layout. That would give you the ability to review them, pick the one that reflects the most current data, and have the other record updated to reflect it. You could even do this on a field-by-field basis, if there is different, but correct data in each record.


                    Scripting all of this would be pretty straightforward. Once done, copy the "master" database back to the other MacBook and the iPad, and you're ready to go. Repeat at whatever interval is comfortable.

                    • 7. Re: Macbooks how to share file

                      I believe that there are two options open to you, with your problematic internet connection.

                      • Web access is more forgiving than FileMaker client-server connection. Consider having your file hosted at a hosting service and modify your layouts a little bit if needed. Then use WebDirect to access your files from all your computers/iPad.
                      • If you are sure that you will not use a server: Declare one of your files as the master and decide that you will only modify this file ... and then use it as "read only" at the other computers.

                      The third option is to set up synch procedures, but keeping three different sources up to date and handling synch of the same records being edited everywhere is something that takes planning and will take time to develop.

                      • 8. Re: Macbooks how to share file

                        I am just learning so could use a little more clarification. How would I address the additions and modifications.  And, what process would I be using to do the actual sync?

                        Would problems be alleviated if I did most of the edits on my Mac, Richard made a few edits on IPAD and he just viewed records on his Mac?  Thanks.  Vicki

                        • 9. Re: Macbooks how to share file

                          As soon as you start editing the same records from two different locatins in two different versions of the database you will need to set up a very complex sync routine.


                          I strongly suggest that unless you get in touch with a very competent databasse (FileMaker) developer you decide to do like this:

                          Do one of the following:

                          • Get your files hosted at one of the many FileMaker hosting services.


                          • Use two versions as read only and the other to enter data into. Then distribute the revised version to the two other locations.


                          And if this is not OK: Do get help from somebody who is very experienced with sync routines.


                          Best regards



                          • 10. Re: Macbooks how to share file

                            You will get into a real tangle very quickly if you are not very careful. Consider this: you, at home on the Mac, discover a typo in a record and fix it. In the meantime Richard makes other edits on the same record in the field on the iPad. Now both copies have relevant updates, so you can't run an update that simply overwrites the home copy with the changes made on the iPad. Even designating one copy as your base copy will not overcome this if you have two other copies out and about simultaneously that could potentially produce the above issue.

                            I endorse Carsten's suggestions: getting your file hosted may be a cost effective solution, and with or without that consult with someone experienced; the cost will be a great investment if it saves pain down the track.