Using advanced tools > About creating runtime solutions

About creating runtime solutions

Note  This topic describes features that are available when the Use advanced tools general preference is selected. See Using advanced tools.

You can bind FileMaker database files into runtime solutions, which are solutions that do not require FileMaker Pro Advanced in order to be used on a computer. You can also create runtime solutions in Kiosk mode.

Before you begin to build your database solution, you need to decide how users will interact with it. Your database solution might have any of the following components:

a primary database file that connects all of the auxiliary files

scripts and buttons to open auxiliary files, return to the primary file, display a splash screen layout at startup, or quit a runtime application

common elements and a consistent appearance for cross-platform solutions

tooltips and custom menus

an About layout to introduce your solution

a custom Help system that provides usage tips for your solution

multiple privilege sets that can specify levels of access to layouts, menus, specific tables, record, fields, and so on

password-protected accounts assigned to privilege sets that determine the level of access of account users

Advanced tools are stripped from runtime applications. None of the commands on the File menu > Manage submenu are available in the runtime application. Runtime applications cannot be shared over a network and do not include the ability to Save/Send Records as PDF files. ODBC import, the Execute SQL script step, and using ODBC data sources in the relationships graph are not supported in runtime application. See Differences between the runtime application and FileMaker Pro Advanced.

A runtime database can, however, be opened in FileMaker Pro Advanced. The full functionality of these applications will be enabled, except if full access privileges have been removed. See Removing Admin access to databases.

You may need to bind your database files several times before you prepare them for delivery to your users. When you have completed development and the final version is bound and ready to distribute, you should thoroughly test your runtime solution to ensure that it behaves as expected. See Preparing files for a runtime solution.


If you’re creating a solution that will have versions for Windows and macOS, test the different versions of the solution on their respective platforms.

If you have used multiple files instead of multiple tables in a single file, all files for your solution should be in the same folder before being bound into a runtime solution. If it is not practical to keep all files in one folder, be sure to include a data source reference to each file that is just the filename.

Make sure to specify every file that’s related to the database solution, so that if you modify filenames all data sources will be updated.

If you have used multiple database files, decide which file will be the primary file that users open first. The primary file stores the custom settings. Use this file for navigation buttons or scripts to other auxiliary files, an About layout, a custom Help layout or file, and to quit the application. See Starting runtime solutions.

Create scripts and buttons for users to navigate from the primary file to auxiliary files and layouts in the solution.

If you distribute databases as runtime solutions that require specific plug-in versions, place plug-ins in the runtime folder created when you bind the solutions.

Charts are not supported in runtime solutions.

Create documentation about your database solution. See Documenting developer solutions.

Although the Developer Utilities use a copy of a file instead of the original, it’s always a good idea to make a backup copy of your original files before beginning.

Related topics 

Displaying databases in Kiosk mode