dBASE (DBF) Reader/Writer

The dBASE Format (DBF) Reader/Writer allows FME to read and write data from dBASE v3, v4, and VisualFox Pro compatible files.

Note: Any single DBF file can have a maximum file size of 2 GB, a limit imposed by the dBASE III specification. Files larger than 2 GB may be readable, but not officially supported. Files larger than 2 GB are not writable, and will produce an error message.


A DBF file defines a single table within a database. The feature attribution of a FME feature are the columns and values of the DBF database table. dBASE is a non-spatial format, and has no geometry associated with its records.

DBF files store only feature attribution. The extension is added to the basename of the DBF file.

Some DBF files use a companion .dbt or .fpt file which stores longer text fields. FME will read them if the DBF includes them and may write them if features contain a very wide text attribute.

Reader Overview

The DBF reader extracts data from the file, producing one feature per non-deleted record in the DBF file. When the records have been exhausted, the reader is closed.

The reader supports dBASE III, dBASE IV, and FoxPro compatible files.

Writer Overview

The DBF writer writes all attributes of a feature to a DBF file. Features of the different feature types are written to different DBF files.