What are external storage options

Setting up container fields for storing data externally

When you create a container field, data is embedded in the field by default.

You can set up a container field to store data externally. By default, externally stored data is encrypted, uses a secure location, and can only be read by the FileMaker Pro application. FileMaker Pro automatically manages the encrypted files. However, you can use the open storage option which will remove the encryption and keep the files in their native format.

You can set up different storage options (embedded or stored externally) for individual container fields in a database. You can also save container data externally in various folders in the file system.

To set up external storage:

1. Choose File (Windows) or File (macOS)> Manage> Database.

2. Click the Fields tab.

3. If your database contains multiple tables, select the table you want from the Tables list.

4. Select an existing field or define a new one.

5. Click Options (or double-click the field name).

6. In the Options For Field dialog box, click the Storage tab.

7. In the "Container" area, activate the option Save container data externally.

8. For Relative to, select a base directory from the list.

You can also save container data in a different directory. For more information, see Manage Container Data External Storage.

9. Choose how you want to save the container data.




Secure storage (standard)

Encrypts the data that FileMaker Pro can read through secure storage. FileMaker Pro creates the Secure subdirectory in the home directory, randomly distributing the files across subdirectories, and creating new subdirectories as necessary.

Open storage

Allows container files to remain in their original format and controls where the files are saved. The default path is relative to the base directory and is in the table / field format.

You can type a different path or click Specify to specify a formula.

10. Click OK.


• If the database contains a table, the database in the home directory path and the table in the default open storage path have the same name. For example, "Properties" in the base directory [database location] / Properties is the database file name and "Properties" in the path of the open storage Properties / Photo is the table name.

• To move existing data that is embedded in container fields, you must transfer the data manually. For more information, see Transferring Container Data.

• When using a formula for a container field that uses open storage:

• If a file name generated from a formula is ambiguous, FileMaker Pro appends the duplicate file name with a sequential number (for example, Invoice_1.txt).

• Define the formula so that the number of duplicate file names saved is reduced. For example, if you are defining the Candidates database and you expect most of the records to contain a file named Resume.doc, you can use the following formula for open storage: "Candidate /" & CandidateID.

Further topics

Working with formulas and functions