FileMaker Import Script

Importing is great tool help you transfer external data to your FileMaker database.

Using import in FileMaker is also very simple too! Just go to File > Import and select your file. You will see a dialogue box like this…

In this tutorial I will be exploring some of the subtle option inside this dialogue.

But first, on a general level there are basically 3 types of import in FileMaker

  • Add all records as new
  • Replace existing records
  • Update matching record

I will go through them 1 by 1 with you:

1. Add all record as new

This is what you need to select if you want to add all record as new. Using this option. It will take any records from your excel and add it into your database as a brand new record.

2. Replace existing record

This is the option to select if you want your imported excel data to replace your current database found set. Use with caution though, as it will erase your existing data.

Update Matching Record

This is probably the most difficult one for beginner, but also the one I uses the most. Using this option, it will update the “matching” records between your excel and database table.

What do you mean by matching?

So for example, say I have a contact database, with only 1 record of myself, Sunny. On the other side, I try to import an excel with 3 contact info: Sunny, Tom & Mary.

Using this matching option, I will not be adding in any new record. I will only be updating Sunny’s record in my database using the excel information.

But how does FileMaker knows which record is a matching record?

FileMaker is sentinel intelligent being (yet), so you will need to give it some instruction.

You will need to manually select which fields to be used as matching fields. In the part where there are -> arrows, click it until it into a <-> double arrow, this means that field is now a matching field. (Note: If you are using windows it will be = sign)

Once you defined the matching fields, FileMaker will only update the records that has matching data between these 2 fields.


…You can also tick the option “Add remaining data as new record”. So it will also add in other non-matching records as new one into your database as well. 

In our example, using this checkbox, Tom and Mary will be also added as a new record even though they are not matching with records within our database.

So that’s the basics idea of importing in FileMaker. In my video, I covered all of the above options in a step by step manner. As well as showing you a really nice way to use script to create a automated importing process.