Delete a relationship

There may be times when you want to delete a relationship between tables. For example, a relationship might no longer be valid, or you're deleting a field in a table. The process of deleting a relationship in Access desktop databases is different than deleting a relationship in Access web apps. This article covers both processes.

To learn more about the ins and outs of relationships, see the article Create, edit or delete a relationship.

In this topic

Delete a relationship in an Access desktop database

Delete a relationship in an Access web app

Delete a relationship in an Access desktop database

Important: When you remove a relationship in a desktop database, you also remove referential integrity support for that relationship, if it is enabled. As a result, Access will no longer automatically prevent the creation of orphan records on the "many" side of a relationship.

To remove a table relationship in a desktop database, you delete the relationship line in the Relationships window. Position the cursor so that it points to the relationship line, and then click the line. The relationship line appears thicker when it is selected. With the relationship line selected, press Delete.

  1. On the Database Tools tab, in the Relationships group, click Relationships.

    Relationships command on Database Tools tab

  2. On the Design tab, in the Relationships group, click All Relationships.

  3. Click the relationship line for the relationship that you want to delete. The relationship line appears thicker when it is selected.

    All tables with relationships are displayed, showing relationship lines.

  4. Press the Delete key.

  5. Access might display the message Are you sure you want to permanently delete the selected relationship from your database? If this confirmation message appears, click Yes.

  6. When you are finished using the Relationships window, click Save to save your relationship layout changes.

Note: If either of the tables employed in the table relationship are open — maybe by another person, or in an open database object such as a form or view — you won't be able to delete the relationship. You'll need to close any open objects that use these tables before you try to remove the relationship.

Delete a relationship in an Access web app

The Relationships window isn't available in an Access web app. You use a field in one table as the source (lookup field) for values in the related field in another table. In order to delete a relationship between two tables in an Access web app, you need to delete the lookup field and its associated data.

  1. Open the table that contains the lookup field you want to delete by clicking Edit Table.

    Edit Table

  2. Select the lookup field that gets its values from another table in the web app.

  3. On the Design tab, under Table Tools, click Delete Fields.

  4. Access displays the message Do you want to permanently delete the selected fields(s) and all the data in the field(s)? Click Yes to confirm deleting the lookup field and its data.

    Note: You might also be prompted by Access to delete one or more indexes when deleting the lookup field. If this confirmation message appears, click Yes.

  5. Click Save to save your table design changes.

Want just the basics for creating or editing relationships? See the following articles:

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