Convert an .accdb database to an earlier file format

If you created an Access database in the (.accdb) file format, but you want to share the database with people who are using earlier versions of Access, such as before Access 2007, in most cases, you can convert the database to an earlier file format by using the Save As command. This article provides the steps for converting a database to an earlier file format (.mdb) and discusses some of the factors that prevent you from converting a database.

In this article

Convert an .accdb database to an earlier file format

Factors that prevent conversion to an earlier file format

Convert an .accdb database to an earlier file format

Do the following to create a copy of an Access database in a file format that you specify.

First, open your database:

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. On the left, click Open.

  3. In the Open dialog box, select and open the database that you want to convert.

Now, convert your database:

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Under File Types, click Save Database As. Under Save Database As, do one of the following:

    • To save a copy of the database in an .mdb format that can be opened by using Access 2002 or Access 2003, click Access 2002 - 2003 Database (*.mdb).

    • To save a copy of the database in an .mdb format that can be opened by using Access 2000, click Access 2000 Database (*.mdb).

  3. In the Save As dialog box, in the File name box, type a name for the database file, and then click Save.

Access closes the original database and opens a new copy of the database in the format that you specified. Any changes that you make to the database affect only the new copy. To make changes to the original database, you must reopen the original database.

Note: To convert an Access 2007 database to a file format that is compatible with Access 97 or earlier, you must first use Access 2007 to convert the database to the Access 2000 file format or the Access 2002 - 2003 file format. Then you use an earlier version of Access to convert the database to the format that you want. For example, by using the Convert Database command in Access 2003, you can convert an Access 2000 database or an Access 2002 - 2003 database to the Access 97 file format.

Top of Page

Factors that prevent conversion to an earlier file format

Certain new data types and features can be used only in the .accdb file format and are not supported by earlier versions of Access. If your database contains any of these features, and you attempt to save it as an earlier version database, Access displays a message and does not convert the database. The following list describes factors that prevent conversion to an earlier file format:

  • Use of new data types or field property settings    The following new data types and field property settings are not supported by earlier versions of Access:

    • Multivalued lookup fields (lookup fields that have the Allow Multiple Values property set to Yes)

    • The Attachment data type

    • The Calculated data type

    • History-tracking Long Text (Memo) fields (Long Text - Memo fields that have the Append Only property set to Yes)

      You cannot convert the database unless you revise the database so that it no longer uses these features.

      Note: You can convert a database that contains Long Text (Memo) with Rich Text fields (Long Text/Memo fields that have the Text Format property set to Rich Text). However, versions of Access earlier than Access 2007 do not interpret the field as Rich Text. If any Rich Text formatting is present in the Access data, the text displays with HTML tags instead of the formatting in earlier versions of Access, as in the following example.

      Original Rich Text

      Text as viewed in earlier versions of Access

      This is an example.

      <div><strong><em>This is an example.</em></strong></div>

  • Links to external files that are not supported by earlier versions of Access    In .accdb Access databases, you can link to several types of data that are not supported by earlier Access versions. These include:

    • Tables in other .accdb file format databases

    • Excel worksheets using the .xlsx format

    • Windows SharePoint Services lists

      If your database contains links to these types of data sources, you must delete the links before you can convert the database to a file format earlier than Access 2007. One solution is to import the data instead of linking to it, so that the data is contained in the Access database itself. For more information about importing data into an Access database, see the article Introduction to importing, linking, and exporting data in Access.

  • Database encryption    Access databases using the .accdb file format use a new password-protection method that is not compatible with earlier Access versions. If you add a password to an Access .accdb database by using the Encrypt with Password command, you must first remove the password before you can convert the database to an earlier file format. To learn more about adding and removing encryption, see the article Encrypt a database by using a database password.

Top of Page

Expand your Office skills
Explore training
Get new features first
Join Office Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×