The default file format for Microsoft Access 2010 is the .accdb file format, which cannot be opened by Microsoft Access 2003 or earlier versions of Access. You can save an .accdb file as an .mdb file, which is compatible with Access 2003 and earlier versions, but you might run into a few obstacles on the way. This video shows you how to navigate around some of those obstacles and get the results you want.
In the video
Save an Access 2010 database in an earlier version format
- Open the database that you want to save in an earlier version format.
- On the File tab, click Save & Publish.
- Under Save Database As, click the database file type that you want for the new database. Access 2010 can save an .accdb file under the following formats:
- Access 2002-2003 Database (*.mdb)
- Access 2000 Database (*.mdb)
Note There is no option to save as an Access 2007 database (*.accdb), because Access 2010 and Access 2007 share the same file format. This is also why Access 2010 databases display Access 2007 in the title bar.
- Click Save As.
If Access displays a message that you cannot save this database in an earlier version format because it uses features that require the current file format, skip to the following section. Otherwise, continue with the next step.
- In the Save As dialog box, in the File name box, type a file name for the new database. Optionally, browse to a new location in which to save the database.
- Click Save.
Access closes the Access 2010 database and opens the new earlier version database. The file format is displayed in the title bar of the program.
Note You might notice that the Navigation Pane does not display objects in the same way as it did in the original database. If this is the case, click the bar at the top of the Navigation Pane, and then select the display options you want. For example, to display all objects by type, select Object Type and All Access Objects.
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If you cannot save in an earlier version format
Access 2010 and Access 2007 both offer features that are not compatible with the earlier version (*.mdb) file format. These features include, but are not limited to:
- Attachment fields
- Multi-valued fields
- Data macros
- Calculated columns (fields) in tables
- Links to external files such as Web services
- Newer sort orders
- Newer encryption types
- Navigation Controls
In addition, you cannot save an Access Web database in an earlier version (*.mdb) file format.
If your database contains any of these features, there are several options to follow. In the video attached to this article, we use the following procedure create a backup copy of the original database, remove the features from the backup copy that are preventing the Save As operation from completing, and then save the backup copy as an earlier version database:
- On the File tab, click Save & Publish, and then under Database File Types, click Access Database (*.accdb).
- In the Save As dialog box, in the File name box, rename the file in a way that distinguishes it as a copy, for example, if the original database is named “CustomerTracking.accdb”, rename it to “CustomerTracking_for2003.accdb”.
- Click Save.
Access closes the original database and opens the copy. The new file name should be displayed in the title bar.
- Remove any features from this copy that prevent Access from saving as an .mdb file. For example, delete any Attachment fields, calculated columns, or Navigation controls.
- Repeat the procedure under Save an Access 2010 database as an earlier version database (and if necessary, also repeat this procedure) until you can save the database in the earlier version format.
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