Seamless Migration: Convert MS Access to SQL Server Easily!

Are you thinking about converting your Microsoft Access database to SQL Server? If yes, you’re not alone. Many businesses face this situation as they grow and their data needs become more complex. To handle such a situation, it is vital to convert MS Access to SQL server. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the entire process, from understanding why you should do so and the steps involved in access to SQL server migration.

convert MS Access to SQL server

So, let’s get started…

Why Might a Company Need to Migrate from Microsoft Access to Microsoft SQL Server?

Over time, the Access database application grows in size and complexity the same is true with the Access database, perhaps the company needs to consider migrating it or upsizing it to a Microsoft SQL server database for better-optimized performance, availability, security, scalability, reliability, and recoverability, etc.

But before knowing the steps for the database migration process, it is important to know the essential tips to avoid data inconsistencies.

Things You Need to Do Before Converting Access Database To SQL

Before starting to convert Access to SQL, you need to do the following things:

  • Make a backup of your database.
  • Check that you have plenty of disk space on the device or not; in which you will have to keep your upsize database.
  • Allow permissions on the SQL Server database.
  • Add a unique index to each access table that you have, before upsizing it.

Also Read: How to Convert MDB to ACCDB File? – (Complete Guide)

How to Convert MS Access to SQL Server?

Now, it’s time to follow the steps to get your migration process done effectively.

Method 1- Convert Using Access Built-In Feature

The very first and most effective way that you can try is using the built-in Access feature. Here’s the complete procedure to do so:

  • Open your database in MS Access.
  • Select the Database Tools tab in the Ribbon.
  • Tap to the SQL Server button placed in Move Data this will open the Upsizing Wizard.

access to SQL server migration

  • Choose whether you wish to import the data into an existing database or create a new database for the data.
  • In this step, we are creating a new SQL server database using the data in your Access database. So click Next and continue.
  • Give the connection information for the SQL server installation. You will need to assign a name to the server. Credentials for an administrator with permission to create a database and the name of the database you want to connect. After providing the information click on the Next option.
  • Make use of the arrow buttons to move the tables you want to transfer to the list labeled Export to SQL Server. After that, tap on the Next button to continue.
  • Look at the default attribute that needs to be transferred and make if any changes needed. You are required to preserve settings for table indexes, validation rules, and relationships, among other settings. After completing all this, tap on the Next option to continue.
  • Now it’s up to you whether you choose to create a new Access client/server application that will access the SQL Server Database, change your existing application to reference the data stored on SQL Server or copy the data without making any changes to your access database.
  • At last tap to the Finish option and wait for the upsizing process to complete. After finishing all this review the upsizing report for important information about the database migration.

Also Read: Convert Access Database To Web Application

Method 2- Convert MS Access to SQL Server with SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)

To convert MS Access database to SQL server, you just need to make sure that SQL Server or SQL Server Express is installed on your PC. If you don’t have such and need to download SQL Server Express on a personal computer, then be sure to download the version having advanced services. If it is not there, the database engine won’t be get installed and you’ll have SQL Management Studio without any instance to connect.

After installing the SQL Server properly, start following the below-mentioned steps to import the Access database into SQL Server.

Transfer Access Database To SQL Server

Open SQL server management studio and connect it to the database server you wish to export Access database to SQL. Under databases, right-click and choose New Database. If you already have a database and you just simply need to import a couple of tables from access, then just skip this and go to the import data step mentioned below.

  • Make a right-click on your current database instead of creating a new one.

  • In case you are making a new database, give it a name and configure the settings if you want to change them from the default.

  • After then make a right click on the Test database that you have just created choose Tasks and then the Import Data option.

  • From the Choose a Data Source dialog box, choose Microsoft Access (Microsoft Jet Database Engine)  from the drop down box.

  • Besides the File Name there is an option of Browse, so navigate the access database that you want to import and click Open.

Note: Database can’t be used in Access 2007 or higher format (ACCDB) Access Database file as SQL Server unable to recognize it.

Well, if you are using access 2007 to 2016 databases then first you need to convert it to the 2002-2003 Database format (MDB) by going to the File – Save As.

  • After that click on the Next option to choose the destination.  As you have right-clicked the database you wanted to import the data into, it should already be in the list but if it is not there.
  • Then select SQL Native Client from the Destination drop-down.
  • You see the database instance within the server name and then be able to choose the specific database at the bottom after choosing the method of authentication.

Tap to the next and specify how you want to transfer the data from Access to SQL by selecting the option Copy the data from one or more tables or Write a query to specify the data to transfer.

  • In order to copy all the tables or just a few tables from the access database without any manipulation, select the first option.
  • But if you need to copy only certain rows and columns of data from a table, choose the second option and write a SQL query.

  • By default, all the tables should be selected and if you tap to the Edit Mappings button. You can see how the fields are mapped between the two tables. If you have created a new database to import then it will be the same as the original one.

  • Click Next and you will see Run Package screen where Run Immediately should be checked.

  • Click to Next option and then the Finish.  You can now see the progress of the data transfer.
  • After completion of this data transfer, you can see the number of rows transferred for each table in the Message column.

  • Tap to the Close option and you are all done. You can now proceed further and run a SELECT on your tables to check that all the data got imported correctly or not. Now you can enjoy the benefits and power of SQL Server for managing your database.

Also Read: Convert Access Report to Word Document – (Step-by-Step)

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can You Convert an Access Database to SQL Server?

Yes, by following the steps mentioned above in this blog, you can convert MS Access database to SQL server with ease.

Which Is Better MS Access or SQL?

Microsoft Access and SQL Server are two DBMS (Database Management Systems) with different features. Access is easy to use & can handle smaller datasets, whereas SQL Server is more robust, can manage large datasets, and comes with enhanced security. So, SQL is better than Access.

Can I Run SQL in MS Access?

Yes, you can definitely run MS SQL in Microsoft Office Access to work with data.

Should I Use Access or MySQL?

If you are dealing with large databases, or projects needing robust security, you should go for MySQL.

Bottom Line

MS Access to SQL server migration process can seem daunting, but with the right approach and easy instructions mentioned above, you can enjoy better database performance, security, and scalability for growing businesses.

Remember to plan thoroughly, test extensively, and optimize regularly to ensure a successful migration.

tip Still having issues? Fix them with this Access repair tool:

This software repairs & restores all ACCDB/MDB objects including tables, reports, queries, records, forms, and indexes along with modules, macros, and other stuffs effectively.

  1. Download Stellar Repair for Access rated Great on Cnet (download starts on this page).
  2. Click Browse and Search option to locate corrupt Access database.
  3. Click Repair button to repair & preview the database objects.

Pearson Willey is a website content writer and long-form content planner. Besides this, he is also an avid reader. Thus he knows very well how to write an engaging content for readers. Writing is like a growing edge for him. He loves exploring his knowledge on MS Access & sharing tech blogs.