Save an Access 2010 database in an earlier file format

If you created a database by using Microsoft Access 2010 and you want to share the database with people who are using versions of Access earlier than Access 2007, you can save the database to an earlier file format by using the Save As command. However, Access 2010 includes a number of new features that can prevent you from saving to an earlier file format. Also, some new features cannot be used from within Access 2007, even though Access 2007 uses the same .accdb file format as Access 2010. This article outlines the basic process of converting to an earlier file format and the factors that can prevent conversion.

In this article


Use Access 2007 to open a database that was created in Access 2010

The default file format for both Access 2010 and Access 2007 is the .accdb file format. In fact, when you create a new database in Access 2010, the file format displayed in the title bar is Access 2007. As a result, you can use Access 2007 to open a database that was created in Access 2010 without first using the Save As command. However, Access 2010 includes some new features that require Access 2010 to run. Depending on the feature, one of the following behaviors might occur when you try to use the database in Access 2007:

  • You cannot modify the object that uses the new feature.
  • You cannot open the object that uses the new feature.
  • You cannot open the database in Access 2007 at all.

For a complete listing of the Access 2010 features that can cause compatibility problems with Access 2007, see the article Backward Compatibility between Access 2010 and Access 2007.

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Save a copy of an .accdb file in the .mdb file format

Versions of Access prior to Access 2007 use the .mdb file format by default. In Access 2010, you can convert an .accdb file to an .mdb file, but only if the .accdb file does not contain any features that require the .accdb file format to run. For more information about factors that can prevent you from converting an .accdb file to an .mdb file, see the next section.

Save a copy of an .accdb file in the .mdb file format

  1. On the File tab, click Save & Publish.
  2. Under Save Database As, do one of the following:
    • To save a copy of the database in a format that can be opened by using Access 2002 or later, click Access 2002 - 2003 Database (*.mdb).
    • To save a copy of the database in a format that can be opened by using Access 2000 or later, click Access 2000 Database (*.mdb).
  3. Click Save As.

    If the database contains any features that prevent you from saving it as an .mdb file, Access displays a message and prevents you from continuing. The next section outlines factors that can prevent saving as an .mdb file. You must address those factors before you can continue with this procedure.
  4. 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 2010 database to a file format that is compatible with Access 97 or earlier, you must first use Access 2010 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.

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Factors that prevent conversion to the .mdb 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, field property settings, and objects    The following new data types, field property settings, and objects are not supported by earlier versions of Access:
    • Calculated fields in tables
    • Data macros
    • Multivalued lookup fields (lookup fields that have the Allow Multiple Values property set to Yes)
    • The Attachment data type
    • History-tracking Memo fields (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 Rich Text Memo fields (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 data, the text displays with HTML tags instead of the formatting, 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 Access 2007 , you can link to several types of data that are not supported by earlier Access versions. These include:
    • Tables in other .accdb files
    • Microsoft Excel 2007 or Excel 2010 worksheets (.xlsx)
    • 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 the .mdb file format. 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 and exporting data.

  • Database encryption    .accdb files use a new password-protection method that is not compatible with earlier file formats. If you add a password to an Access 2007 or Access 2010 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.

In Access 2010, do the following to decrypt the database:

  1. On the File tab, click Info, and then click Decrypt Database.
  2. In the Unset Database Password dialog box, type the password that was used to encrypt the database, and then click OK.

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Applies to:
Access 2010