Creating an Access database from a dBASE file

Applies to
Microsoft Office Access 2003
Microsoft Access 2000 and 2002

This procedure exports an Access table to a dBASE file, and then imports the dBASE file to create a new database and a table linked to the dBASE file.

  1. Open the Northwind sample database.
  2. Export the Employees table to a dBASE 5 (*.dbf) file by clicking File, clicking Export, and in the Save as type box, clicking dBASE 5 (*.dbf).
  3. Close Access.
  4. Restart Access and in the opening dialog box, click Cancel.
  5. On the File menu, click Open.
  6. Click the arrow to the right of the Look in box, select the drive and folder where the dBASE file is located, and then double-click its icon.

 Important    If you link to a file on a local area network, make sure that you use a universal naming convention (UNC) path, instead of relying on the drive letter of a mapped network drive in Windows® Explorer. A drive letter can vary on a computer, or it may not always be defined, whereas a UNC path is a reliable and consistent way for Access to locate the data source that contains the linked data. For example, type \\Computer1\Samples\Employees.dbf to open the Employees.dbf dBASE 5 file in the Samples share of the Computer1 server.

Access creates and opens a new database called Employees.mdb with a table linked to the dBASE file. Notice the icon that designates it as a linked table from dBASE. A similar icon would appear for any additional dBASE files that were linked.

Access Database window showing linked dBASE file

You may not be able to update the data in the linked table. You can't modify data in linked dBASE and Paradox files unless you have a Borland Database Engine (BDE) on your computer. If you need to update your data and you don't have a BDE on your computer, you may want to consider importing the file into Access.

Applies to:
Access 2003