Say the design of your Access database has changed (new or modified tables, queries, field properties, forms, or reports) and you want to see a history of these changes. You can use Database Compare to compare the current version (or any version) with a previous version to see exactly what changes you or anyone else has made.
The best way to keep track of the design changes to your database is by saving one or more backup versions. Backing up your database is a different process than just saving a copy. Learn how to create backup versions of your database.
Run Database Compare
- Find the database you want to use as the "baseline" (or the earlier version) by clicking the Browse button next to the Compare box. When you find the file you want, click Open.
- Find the database that is "changed" (or the most recent version) by clicking the Browse button next to the To box.
- Under Report Options, choose the database objects (tables, queries, macros, modules, reports, form, or pages) you want compared by checking the boxes next to them.
- At the bottom of the window, click Compare to run the report.
- After the report is finished, you can, you can click the Results tab to see a new window with a deeper, line by line comparison between versions of Access macros and VBA modules.
Create backup versions of your database
- Click File > Save As.
- Under Save Database As > Advanced, click Back Up Database.
Your backup is saved with the year, month, and date appended to the file name. If you save multiple backups on the same day, an underscore and a number in parentheses is added after the date. Multiple backups of a database named Inventory.accdb from one day (3/13/2012) might look like this:
- Inventory _2012_03_13.accdb
- Inventory _2012_03_13_(1).accdb
- Inventory _2012_03_13_(2).accdb
In earlier versions of Access, your backup is saved with the same file name pattern as Access 2013. To find the Back Up Database command in earlier versions of Access:
- In Access 2010, click File > Save & Publish > Advanced > Back Up Database.
- In Access 2007, click the Office Button > Manage > Back Up Database.
- In Access 2003 and earlier versions, click File > Back Up Database.
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Did you get an "Unable to open Access database error?" message?
If so, one or both of your databases are protected by a password. After you click OK, you can enter the password if you know it. Otherwise, the comparison can't run.
To learn more about how to store passwords that Database Compare can use, see Manage passwords used to open files for comparison.
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