Windows compatibility

Major functions

UI and Help

Images & documents

Outside world

Macros & programming

Networking & Internet

Compatibility with 2.0

Compatibility with earlier versions

File compatibility

All databases created by earlier versions of Cardbox for Windows can be opened directly by Cardbox 3. They can be used immediately and without restriction, except for databases that contain images and/or objects.

Image and object databases

The old style of image/object storage used a separate file, of filetype .FIM, to store the images and objects - thus in addition to mybase.fmt and mybase.fil you would have a file called mybase.fim on your hard disk.

Cardbox 3's new style of image/object storage doesn't use .FIM files: instead, it stores everything in the .FIL file.

To protect your existing data, Cardbox 3 does not allow you to add or edit images or objects in an old-style file: the image and/or object fields will appear to be read-only.

To make it possible to add or edit images and objects, you need to upgrade the database files to the new Cardbox 3 format, which you do with the command Tools > Management > Rebuild Database. Once you have done this, the database will be fully usable by Cardbox 3 but can no longer be opened by older versions.


The old method of sharing databases on a network involved every copy of Cardbox opening the database files simultaneously and using a separate file (of filetype .LOK) to coordinate actions between the various copies.

The new method uses a separate program called the Cardbox Server, which is the only program that actually opens the database files belonging to a shared database. Each user's copy of Cardbox then communicates with the Cardbox Server when it wants to open a shared database.

The new method takes a little longer to set up but is far more reliable in operation and is immune to bugs and misconfigurations in the networking software. But the two methods cannot be mixed: if a database file is open in Cardbox 2.0 then the Cardbox Server cannot open it, and if a database file is opened by the Cardbox Server then Cardbox 2.0 cannot open it simultaneously.

The practical effect of all this is that on a network, conversion to Cardbox 3 is an "all or nothing" operation. You can't have half the users on the network using Cardbox 2.0 and the other half using Cardbox 3.


The macro language used in Cardbox 3 is Microsoft's VBScript. This is completely different from the home-grown macro language used in earlier releases of Cardbox for Windows, and the languages are so different that automatic conversion is not possible. You will have to re-record or rewrite all your old macros.

Older versions: Cardbox-Plus for DOS

There is a difference in the layout of format files in Cardbox 3 (where the filetype is .FMT) and Cardbox-Plus (where it is .FRM). A utility program is required to convert .FRM files to .FMT: this can be downloaded here. The converted format file will contain all the fields and formats of the original, but templates (for standard letters or mail-merging) will have to be recreated using the new Cardbox for Windows feature of "merge blocks".

All database files created by Cardbox-Plus for DOS can be opened directly by Cardbox 3.

© 2016 Martin Kochanski
"Cardbox" is a registered trademark.
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