FileMaker: Setting a File to Auto-Open On Launch

There is a setting in FileMaker 18 that allows you to set a preference for automatically opening a file whenever FileMaker is launched. With FileMaker 18, the only way to set this preference was to specify it in a text document – Assisted Install.txt – when you first installed that application. In FileMaker 19, you can manually set this in the Preferences.

This setting can be quite useful in certain deployment scenarios, such as office-wide deployments, where your solution should open by default. Doing so will avoid users seeing the default FileMaker Launch Center that can be confusing to some users. The file to be opened can be either a local file or a file hosted on FileMaker Server or FileMaker Cloud.

A blog post from our friends at Beezwax shows how you can set this preference from the command line. Being able to use the command line makes it possible to use remote management tools to set this preference en masse.

With that as inspiration, I put together a FileMaker file that can set this preference. FileMaker can detect the platform you are running on, either Windows or Mac, and run the appropriate PowerShell or AppleScript command, respectively. The change will take effect after you restart FileMaker Pro.

For Windows installations, the scripting sets the value for the current user, but you could also set the preference at the local machine level so all users would get this preference set. This should be set according to the deployment requirements.

You can use this demo file to copy the scripting into your own file, depending on what suits your application and deployment. This technique makes it easy for FileMaker developers to set this preference without having to involve IT personnel. Reference the scripting in the file to modify as you see fit and use for your purposes.

Get the Demo File

You can download a copy of the unlocked file here.

If you have any questions, please reach out to our team.

11 thoughts on “FileMaker: Setting a File to Auto-Open On Launch”

  1. Hi Mike,
    I very much like the idea for my users to go directly to a certain file, so thank you for this. Two questions:
    1 – I assume this is for FM 19, correct? will it continue to work on the next version?
    2 – How do I reverse it if I want to go back to FM’s launcher?

    1. 1. This was introduced in 18, but is supported in 19 as well.
      2. You can use the sample file if you like. It handles clearing out the value and setting the boolean to false in the users prefs.

      1. Hi Mike,
        I the sample file works well on Mac- but I am attempting it from stop auto load. How do I achieve this please?

        1. If you run that FM file again and take out the value for file path, it will set it correctly to remove. You can also uncheck the value in the application prefs.

  2. Working on parallel solutions to an issue, Assisted Install modified ARD.pkg is not working correctly with my MDM, it must throw an error sometime after serializing as FM gets licensed but host is not set.
    I am trying to send out the beeswax noted modification to the plist file, it works locally in terminal but sent by MDM nope. I’ll see if my MDM, mosyle can work that out. Otherwise the one noted thing on the terminal push, it does not switch the preference “at startup open file”, if you know the syntax to change that it would make life grand… or at least solve one issue blocking my mass installation.

    1. The preference file that needs to be updated it particular to the user. Sending via your MDM may not be able to update individual users as the path to their preference files may differ.

  3. Downloaded SetInitialfile.fmp12. It works perfect with FM18. It is very helpful, thanks.
    Is there please something like this also for Filemaker Go?

    1. Go works a little differently, but there may be a way to create a shortcut to a specific file and launch that instead of the main app.

  4. My solution….
    There were documented issues with 19.3 so I used 19.2.2 which still serialized but failed to burn in the rest of the parameters. So I’m pushing out a second MDM profile with a shell script to edit the .plist file. This can be pushed out prior to installation and still works. Hope this saves someone else a few days of testing

    sudo -u $(stat -f “%Su” /dev/console) /bin/sh <<'END'
    # add filemaker host to fmp19 preferences
    #don't ask me why but if you don't spec UseInitialfile parameter as ingetger it comes in as string and crashes FM
    defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.filemaker.client.pro12.plist "License Agreement Status:_v19.0" "1″
    defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.filemaker.client.pro12.plist “Preferences:Initialfile” “fmnet:/”
    defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.filemaker.client.pro12.plist “Preferences:UseInitialfile” “1”
    defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.filemaker.client.pro12.plist “SUAutomaticallyUpdate_19.2.2” “false”
    defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.filemaker.client.pro12.plist “SUEnableAutomaticChecks_19.2.2” “true”
    defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.filemaker.client.pro12.plist “SUFEEDURL_19.2.2” “HTTPS://”
    defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.filemaker.client.pro12.plist “SUHasLaunchedBefore_19.2.2” “true”
    defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.filemaker.client.pro12.plist “SULastCheckTime_19.2.2” “2021-11-07T14:58:22Z”
    defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/com.filemaker.client.pro12.plist “SUSkippedVersion_19.2.2” “”

  5. Works nice. I tried it on a Mac, entering the following:
    (No quotes). Restarted and it worked.

    My question is, what would the correct syntax be for Windows?
    The launch file, like the Mac install, is in the users Documents folder.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top