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BEWARE - VW Plant Records Copy Save Didn't Work - All Lost

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Over the past several years I had been using the "Save a Copy As" tool in the File Menu to save a copy of my Plant Records that I had populated with thousands of pictures and edits to create the "perfect" Plant Database. Shame on me for not checking. When I looked I saw copies of files and updates that were growing in size (84 MB at last count). Then one day (in VW 2008) I found I couldn't search in VW Plants as I had been doing where I would check "my favorites" and then check "shrubs" and presto all my favorite shrubs would appear with their pictures. ....so I upgrade to VW 2012 to get some tech help and to no avail. None of my USR files can be opened.... over 7 years of work ...lost. I now do not trust that "save a copy as" operation and want others to BEWARE. of course I have multiple copies of my worthless USR files in case anyone needs some.... whats in these files and how can it be that I can't open them?

If anyone knows a trick on how to rescue any of my 50+ USR files it would be worth a lot to me. Please let me know. Below is a link to one of the USR Files.


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Hi Scott,

Sorry to hear that. All may not be lost though.

I was able to open your file in Filemaker Pro 12 easily and view all 5217 plants.

Many don't have images but many do.

Here's what I see as an example:

Now to get VW to also view it would be next...



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Included below was Vector Works Response. While I have had the highest regards for VW since I began using it I can't help but feel abandoned on this one.


At this point this is outside the scope of the tech support we can provide since it would be involving a 3rd party product that we cannot support. Vectorworks only uses a rudimentary FileMaker-licensed viewer and it?s database format. If you have someone helping you with a copy of FileMaker though, you can have them try resaving the file as whatever the default format is, then changing the extension on the newly saved file to .USR and seeing how Vectorworks handles it. There also may be other export options in FileMaker that may work as well but, as I stated above, we have no copies here to test with.

However, it is good to hear you find the correct plant database and your work has not been lost.

Best of luck,

Daniel Bremehr

Technical Support Specialist

Nemetschek Vectorworks, Inc.

7150 Riverwood Drive

Columbia, MD 21046 USA

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Filemaker can save files as a 'runtime', a self-contained system that does not require the Filemaker application. Runtime data files typically use the .usr suffix. Runtimes are created using the developer version of Filemaker, Filemaker Pro Advanced. Advanced allows the runtime to be saved with a variety of security and viewing formats-- completely locked down, fairly open, or kiosk--, and with a suffix of the developer's choosing. .usr files can usually be opened with the Filemaker Pro application by manually changing the suffix.

Do so with a copy, so as to not endanger the original.

If the files were created with any version of Filemaker from 7 through 11, the suffix would be .fp7; for Filemaker 12, .fmp12.

To re-cap, if the files were created with Filemaker Pro Advanced 11, change '.usr' to .fp7' and open with FIlemaker 11; for a file created with FMPA 12, change '.usr' to 'fmp12' and open with Filemaker Pro (or Pro Advanced) 12.

My memory is that the original Plant Database was built in Filemaker 9, which is about 5 years old.

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