External SQL Data Source Overview

Create live connections to Microsoft® SQL Server, Oracle or MySQL data sources with FileMaker Pro*

What is it?

The External SQL Data Source feature establishes a live two-way connection between FileMaker Pro and top SQL data sources.

If you do not want a live connection, but wish to import or exchange data with a SQL data source, use the ODBC/JDBC features.

What external SQL data sources are certified for FileMaker 14?

  • MS SQL Server 2008 R2
  • MS SQL Server 2012
  • MS SQL Server 2012 SP1
  • MySQL 5.6 Community Edition (free)
  • Oracle 12c R1
  • Oracle 11g R2

For the lists of external SQL data sources that are certified for previous version of FileMaker, click here.

If you are importing ODBC data, or using the Import Records or the Execute SQL script step, you can use additional data sources, such as IBM DB2 or Informix ODBC. Learn more

What does it allow you to do?

  • Create solutions in FileMaker Pro that include data from:
    • An external SQL data source
    • Multiple external SQL data sources
    • FileMaker Pro and external SQL data source(s)
  • Provide an alternative to ODBC/JDBC for importing and exporting data from FileMaker Pro
  • Enable the use of FileMaker Pro as a reporting tool for external SQL data sources

Choose the FileMaker product that is right for your needs

FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Pro Advanced

FileMaker Server

Great when you want FileMaker users to directly read and/or write data to a SQL data source.

You will need to have an ODBC driver for the SQL source configured on each client machine.

Great when you want all access to a SQL data source to flow through a single FileMaker Server.

Setup and configure the ODBC/JDBC driver once on the host computer.  All users share the connection to the SQL data source.

SQL with FileMaker Pro 9 and FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced SQL with FileMaker Server 9 and FileMaker Server 9 Advanced

Before you get started

  • Install the appropriate certified ODBC driver.
  • Know the IP address or domain name of the external SQL data source.
  • Know the user name and password for the external SQL data source as supplied by the database administrator.  The access that the database administrator provides will determine if you will be allowed to read/write or if you will have read only access.

Real-world use case examples

Streamlining sales processes

  • A large entertainment company creates an executive iPad dashboard that tracks sales, expenses, development pipeline, and licensee information for a range of products. Information is assembled from a variety of data sources including Oracle and SAP. Executives are presented with charts and graphs, can view summary reports, and can drill-down into data for particular initiatives. Information is available on the iPad and also on desktop computers.

Better reporting

  • A company sells photographic equipment through an online web store.  Transaction data from the store is captured in a SQL database. However operations and management has a difficult time getting reports from the SQL database because it requires a programmer.  By providing a read-only link from FileMaker to the SQL database, employees in the company will be empowered to create their own reports.
  • Many bosses would prefer to receive reports via email in PDF or Excel format.  Using the External SQL Data Source feature, you can manipulate data from FileMaker Pro and external SQL data sources and then use PDF Maker or Excel Maker to email it to your boss in the format he or she prefers.

Enhanced workflows between departments

  • A human resources department, whose data is housed in a SQL data source, needs to link its processes with the finance department.  Using the External SQL Data Source feature, this information can be made accessible to knowledge workers who can build FileMaker Pro reports and solutions that meet the unique needs of their department and give the organization an edge over the competition.

More granular information

  • One federal department has nationwide information in a SQL database and local-level information in databases throughout the country.  Using the External SQL Data Source feature, the information in the local databases will be combined with information in the nationwide database for in-depth analysis.



This feature requires that you use one of the certified drivers listed below.


  • For Oracle 11g Release 2 on Windows use:

    Oracle Database Client version 
  • For Oracle 11g Release 2 and Oracle 12c on Mac OS X use: 

    Actual Technologies, Oracle version 3.3.0 (FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Server)
  • Download drivers

MS SQL Server

  • For MS SQL Server 2008 R2 on Windows use:

    MS SQL Server Native Client 11.0.2270.0
  • For MS SQL Server 2008 R2 on Mac OS X use:
    Actual Technologies, MS SQL Server version 3.3.0
  • For MS SQL Server 2012 on Windows use:
    MS SQL Server Native Client 11.0.2270.0
  • For MS SQL Server 2012 on Mac OS X use:
    Actual Technologies, MS SQL Server version 3.3.0
  • Download drivers


  • For MySQL 5.6.12 Community Edition (free) on Windows use:
    MySQL Connector/ODBC version 5.2.5
  • For MySQL Community Edition 5.6.12 on Mac OS X use:
    Actual Technologies, Open Source Databases version 3.3.0
  • Download drivers

FileMaker Pro supports 32-bit and 64-bit ODBC drivers.

FileMaker Server supports 64-bit ODBC drivers.

Search Knowledge Base

View a list of common External SQL Data Sources questions and answers

*The External SQL Data Source feature is only in FileMaker 14, 13, 12 and 11 products.

Get more from FileMaker!

View our web seminars.

Learn more

FileMaker Job Board

FileMaker Job Board

Totally free for employers and job seekers.

Find a job Post a job