Claris Pro: File Conversion

Claris Pro has a new file extension with an updated file format to make files compatible with all Claris platform products. The new extension is .claris for all Claris Pro files.

When you create a new file with Claris Pro, it will naturally have the .claris extension. This article is for existing FileMaker Pro users who are switching to the new Claris Pro. Any existing .fmp12 files will need to be converted before they can be opened with Claris Pro. 

Conversion Basics

Converting a single .fmp12 file to .claris is simple. Make sure the file is closed. Then, either:

  • open Claris Pro and then File > Open… and select the .fmp12 file, or
  • drag the .fmp12 file onto the Claris Pro application icon to open it.

Claris Pro recognises the .fmp12 format and prompts you to start the conversion process:

The dialog notes that the new file will only be compatible with the Claris platform. This is important. A .claris file cannot be opened with FileMaker Pro or hosted on FileMaker Server. This is a one-way conversion — no going back. 

However, there is one saving grace — the conversion process leaves the original .fmp12 file intact. So it is conceivable (and recommended) that you use the converted file for testing in Claris Pro to ensure that it functions exactly as in FileMaker Pro. If the testing fails in any way, you can continue to use the old file with the FileMaker platform.

Although you can rename the old file, there is no need because the file is left intact after conversion — the converted file is a copy. 

Click OK to convert the database file. You will be prompted to name the file and choose a location to save. Again, there is no need to rename the new file as it will have a .claris extension. 

The conversion proceeds and you are prompted to open the file using a [Full Access] account from the original file. If you do not enter a [Full Access] account, the conversion will be aborted with insufficient privileges.

There are apparently nine (9) steps in the File Format Conversion starting with copying the source file. The conversion log provides some insight into the process:

There are two major parts to the conversion:

  • updating file references to .claris (in data sources, scripts and buttons)
  • creating Claris ID accounts

The conversion log may contain error messages requiring your attention in the converted files before testing them further.

As you can see from the above, conversion is very quick for a small file. Even converting a large file (2.5GB) with 70 tables, 530 layouts and 410 scripts took only 20 seconds!

Converting Multiple Files

If you have a multi-file solution, you can drag multiple selected files or a folder containing multiple files, onto the Claris Pro application icon. This results in a different conversion dialog with options:

You will likely choose the first option to “Open all files and convert when necessary.” It is advised to create a new folder as a location top save the converted files. 

What Changed?

The new file with a .claris extension is functionally the same as the old file. But there are some updates to the file.


There will be just two accounts in the new file (regardless of how many there were in the original .fmp12 file). Both accounts authenticate via Claris ID as this is currently the only method available in Claris Pro. 

The first account has the [Full Access] Privilege Set for the Claris ID that you were logged into Claris Pro with at the time of conversion. 

The second account is named [Default]. It will have the Privilege Set and the Active status previously assigned to the [Guest] account. If the [Default] account is active, any Claris ID user can open the file and will use the Privilege Set assigned to that account. 

No other accounts are shown in the accounts list of Manage Security. However, in Privilege Sets (Advanced Settings…) you will see listed all the old accounts against each Privilege Set. For some reason these accounts have been hidden but not removed — they cannot be used to access the new file in Claris Pro. 


So you will probably want to add other users to have access to your converted file. To do this, you need to know their Claris ID account name (an email address). As with previous FileMaker accounts, you can assign each Claris ID to a specific Privilege Set. 

Unfortunately, Claris has removed (hopefully temporarily), the Accounts script steps from Claris Pro. This means that you cannot script a process to add new accounts. You will need to add Claris IDs one by one. 

As you can see above, all the Privilege Sets from the old file are carried across. The structure of a Privilege Set in Claris Pro is essentially unchanged from FileMaker Pro, except for the Extended Privileges.

There are three Extended Privileges that have been removed (marked in the screenshot comparison below). These are mainly due to the lack of connectivity in Claris Pro for ODBC/JDBC and PHP. 

If any of the remaining Extended Privileges were assigned to Privilege Sets in the old file, this will be carried through to the new file. 

Updates to Extended Privileges
Interestingly, the Extended privileges that remain are still prefixed by “fm” — referring to their FileMaker legacy. 

File Access has not changed. 

File Options

There is also a change in the File > File Options… dialog. The options available in the Open tab are reduced in Claris Pro.

The minimum allowable version is in line with the new version numbering for Claris Pro — 40.0. When opening the file in Claris Pro, there are now no options for:

  • Log in using [account]  — in Claris Pro, the file is opened with the current logged in Claris ID
  • Keychain Access (macOS) or Credential Manager (Windows) to save password — not required with Claris ID
  • Show sign-in fields even when OAuth or AD FS is enabled — only Claris ID is currently available for authentication

All other tabs in File Options are the same.

File References

As noted in the conversion log, file references are updated. 

In Manage External Data Sources, any files with a .fmp12 extension have that extension removed. This implies the .claris extension for connections from the converted file. If a file of that name with the .claris extension is not found when needed, you will be asked to locate it. If you choose a .fmp12 file, you will be prompted to convert the file first. 

.claris file not found, .fmp12 file needs to be converted

What Might Go Wrong?

With great credit to the Claris engineers, it is very unlikely that anything will go wrong with the actual file conversion. It is the testing where you may discover some unexpected behaviour in the new Claris platform. 

As noted in a previous article, Claris platform: Developing with Claris Pro, there are some differences in the Claris Pro app that you should be aware of. Some of the current features missing in Claris Pro are show stoppers for those wanting to move to the new Claris platform. Claris Product Managers are very much aware of these and are working to level the playing field between FileMaker and Claris. Stay tuned!

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