Add and edit data

Link to shared data

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If you maintain data in other sources, like Excel spreadsheets and SharePoint sites, rather than copying it into Access, link to the data from your Access database. This ensures that you’re always working with the latest data from that source.

Note: Access always pulls in the most recent changes from a linked document, like an Excel spreadsheet or an XML file, but doesn’t update the source file with changes you make in Access. A linked SharePoint list or Access database updates both ways.

Link to data in a shared document
  1. On the External Data tab, select the type of data you want to link to (Excel, Access, Text File, XML file, or HTML file).

    Access' External Data tab
  2. Select Browse, select a file, and then select Open.

  3. If necessary, specify which data you want to link to and how, and then name the new table. Then, select OK or Finish.

If necessary, specify which data you want to link to and how, and then name the new table. Then, select OK or Finish.

The Navigation pane shows the new, linked table.

Link to data in a SharePoint list
  1. On the External Data tab, select More > SharePoint List.

  2. Specify the SharePoint site.

  3. Select Link to the data source by creating a linked table, and then click Next.

  4. Select the list you want to link to, and then click OK.

The Navigation pane shows the new, linked SharePoint list. The blue arrow indicates that it's a linked table:

The Navigation pane

SharePoint may link to additional, related tables in the database, also indicated by a blue arrow. To keep things working correctly, be sure to retain those objects in the database.

Want more?

Import or link to data in an Excel workbook

Import from or link data to a SharePoint list

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Access lets you work with data from many sources.

If you’re working with existing data that’s being shared and updated by several people, you might want to link to it instead of copying it into your database.

With a link, you can directly connect to the shared data source. This way you know you’re always working with the latest version of the data.

For example, your team might use a SharePoint list like this one to track inventory.

To link to this list, in Access, on the External Data tab, select More, and then select SharePoint List.

Select your team's SharePoint site, make sure the linking option is selected, and then click Next.

Select the list you want to link to, and click OK.

The linked SharePoint list appears in the Navigation Pane.

SharePoint might also link to an additional table or two—they’re related tables, so you need to keep them in your Access database for everything to work right.

Now you can start working with the linked data. As you change data in Access, it also changes in the SharePoint list, so others using the same list can see your changes.

That’s just one option you have for linking data into Access.

Explore the External Data tab to see more.

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