Converting Microsoft Access Databases Between Versions (ACCDB/MDB)

Converting Microsoft Access Databases Between Versions (ACCDB/MDB)

With the release of Access 2007, a newer file format (ACCDB) was introduced and suddenly users and developers were confronted with a mix of versions and formats to contend.

Therefore, converting Microsoft Access databases between versions required some careful and additional planning for your database. 

Here’s a five minute video tutorial which demonstrates using Access 2013 where and how to convert between the two common file formats.

Converting Microsoft Access Databases Between Versions (ACCDB/MDB)

From the tutorial, it clearly highlighted the ease of use and users can convert an Access database with the additional ability to just copy individual objects as a quick copy and paste alternative. 

However, there are some additional points to highlight here that will confuse general users and sometimes will see errors and conversion restrictions even between the same file format (namely ACCDB).

converting microsoft access databases

The most common issue is when trying to convert from Access 2013 or 2010 to either Access 2010 or 2007 respectively where the same file format ACCDB is used but users will note, there is no option to specify which application version to convert to.

One assumes therefore for example, when you open an Access 2013 database in Access 2007 it should open but I’m afraid it doesn’t!

Users will see a message like ‘Unrecognized Database Format’ Error? in Access 2007-2013 with accdb extension. So what’s going on here?

The above link will point you to a forum which is widely documented claiming that the newer versions added post 2007 and 2010 with 2013 simply cannot be used in a backward compatibility mode. These include data macros introduced in 2010 and application parts (to name a couple).

The simple solution will be to work and build on the earliest platform so that all versions can adopt your database functionality and certain functions and menu options will be dimmed out if not available to the level of version selected.

When converting Microsoft Access databases to a even earlier version (MDB file format), you may not be too successful with the following message prompt appearing: 

converting microsoft access databases error conversion message

In the message box, features like multi-values fields, data macros, calculated fields and other newer and navigational controls introduced in later versions will simply prevent this action.

Finally, the more complex the database and that probably means using Access VBA, the more challenging to convert your database back to an earlier version.

All my utilities are shipped with both file format versions (ACCDB and MDB) and are compatible from version 2000. Take a look!

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