Connections to External Sources

Note: This content is no longer updated. For the latest content, please go to the user guide for M-Files Online. For information on the supported product versions, refer to our lifecycle policy.

M-Files offers flexible approaches for information presentation and transfer also from external sources. Databases, for example, are required to support OLE DB or Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) connections. The type of a database connection can be either read-only or two-way. With a read-only connection, M-Files is reading from an external database, such as a customer database, but you are not allowed to enter new data via M-Files. With a two-way connection, changes and additions made in M-Files are saved in the external database.

A good example of an external database connection is a connection between M-Files and an external customer database. Many organizations already have a vast database of customer information, consisting of tables populated with customer information. When the user creates a new offer document in M-Files, it makes sense to add the existing customer information to it. M-Files can be set to import customer information from an external database. The information can then be accessed directly from, for example, the metadata card when a new document is created.

You can also import and link existing files from external objects. This makes deploying M-Files easy and quick, since all existing files can be accessed via M-Files without a separate transfer process. When you access files via M-Files, it makes sense to enrich them with metadata at the same time. Furthermore, among other things, version history is created in M-Files; concurrent editing is avoided; and, thanks to M-Files scheduled jobs, backups are easy to manage. Adding metadata also enables you to better take advantage of the search capabilities of M-Files.