Uncover Solutions: Fix ‘Your Microsoft Access Database Contains Missing Broken Reference’ Error

In today’s digital era, a well-functioning Access database is the backbone of various organizations, dealing with massive amounts of data. However, users may experience the error message “your Microsoft Access database contains missing broken reference …” The error is quite annoying as it restricts you from accessing your database. Here’s the complete error message along with the real screenshot:

Your Microsoft Access database or project contains a missing or broken reference to the file ‘OFFOWC.DLL’ version 1.1.

* To ensure that your database or project works properly, you must fix this reference. 

Microsoft Access Database Contains Missing Broken Reference

In this post, we will delve into the details of this error, and guide you through the complete steps of solving it.

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Quick Fixes:

Explanation of the Missing or Broken Reference Error

The error “missing or broken reference” occurs after moving your database from an earlier version of Office to a newer version. However, this warning message is a clear indication that the Access program is unable to find/load the referenced library or file that is crucial for the proper functioning of your database.

Common Causes of this Error

However, there are a couple of reasons for the occurrence of this error. Here are the major causes:

  1. Missing or Moved File– The database file that MS Access is attempting to reference has been deleted, moved, or renamed.
  2. Corrupted Reference– If the reference gets corrupted within your database due to improper handling, then it can lead to error 29070.
  3. Different Version– It can happen when you’ve downgraded or upgraded your MS Office or MS Access installation and trying to access the database on another version.
  4. Security Settings– Microsoft Access might block a referenced file due to the security settings, especially if it is an external file.

Methods to Fix Your Microsoft Access Database Contains Missing Broken Reference Error

Apply the following solutions to troubleshoot missing or broken reference to the file offowc.dll version 1.1.

Method 1- Check & Remove the Missing References

The very first method that you need to try is to remove a missing reference. To do so, follow the below steps:

  • Open the Access database.
  • Then, press the ALT+F11 keys together to open the VBA (Visual Basic Editor).
  • Go to Tools menu >> then click on References.
  • Now, uncheck the box for the object library or type library that is marked as- MISSING: <referencename>.

Broken Reference

Also Read: Fix “You Do Not Have Exclusive Access to The Database at This Time” Error

Method 2- Resolving Visual Basic References in Access

Access loads applicable files (such as type of library, control library, or object library) for every reference, as per the information that’s shown in References box. If Access can’t locate the file, Access operates the following methods to situate the file:

  1. Access verifies to see whether a referenced file is presently loaded within memory.
  2. If a file isn’t loaded into storage, Access verifies that RefLibPaths registry key survives. If the key subsists, Access appears for a named value that has a similar name as a reference. If there’s an equivalent, Access loads reference from a path that’s named points of value.
  3. Access finds for the referenced file within subsequent spots, in this classification:

a. Folder of Application (location of Msaccess.exe file).

b. Present folder that you observe if you hit Open on a menu of File.

c. The Winnt or Windows folder where OS files are functioning.

d. The System folder beneath Windows or Winnt folder.

e. The folders in PATH environment are inconsistent and unswervingly accessible by OS.

  1. If Access can’t uncover file, a reference error takes place.

Method 3- Re-Add the References

If you are well aware of which file or library is missing, then you can check and add a reference once again by navigating to the accurate location in the References dialog.

Method 4- Repair MS Office to Fix Your Microsoft Access Database Contains Missing Broken Reference

If you are suspicious that the missing or broken reference to the file offowc DLL version 10 error is related to a missing/corrupted MS Office installation component, then consider repairing the Office.

Follow the below steps to do this:

  • Press Windows + R keys together to open a Run dialog box.
  • Then, type appwiz.cpl >> hit Enter.


  • Now, you will get the Programs and Features window opened on your screen.
  • Locate Microsoft 365 and right-click on three vertical dots opposite >> click on Change/Modify.

Fix Your Microsoft Access Database Contains Missing Broken Reference

  • After this, click Yes in a UAC prompt to proceed.
  • Now, you’ll see– How would you like repair your Office programs?
  • Choose Quick Repair option >> Repair button.


Wait until the repair process is over. It will identify & fix any problems automatically.

Method 5- Use Compatible Versions

An incompatible version of referenced files with your Microsoft Access version can result in the ‘your Microsoft Access database contains missing broken reference’ error.

Therefore, if you are using a 64-bit Access version, then ensure your references are also 64-bit. This should fix Access database error 29070.

Fully Automatic Solution to Fix MS Access Database Missing References

If the above-mentioned solution does not help you to fix the MS Access database reference error then use the Compact & Repair tool. For severe database corruption, make use of a professional third-party application- Access Repair And Recovery Tool. Making use of this software tool is the best option as it is high-end user-friendly software that repairs damaged Access databases safely and securely.

This software restores forms and modules even though it is password-encrypted. Apart from that the software also recovers linked tables, modules, forms, tables, indexes, reports, queries, relations, deleted records, and macros.

* By clicking the Download button above and installing Stellar Repair for Access (14.8 MB), I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the End User License Agreement and Privacy Policy of this site.

Steps To Resolve Access DB Corruption & Fix Missing Or Broken Reference

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Different Reference Error Messages

reference errors

There are numerous messages that communicate misplaced files or files that have a dissimilar description from the version that’s utilized in the database. In the majority of situations, you search MS Knowledge Base for articles regarding precise error notes, and you can resolve errors by following the steps within the article. In a few circumstances, an addiction file is not appropriately coordinated with a primary file.

The following list portrays some of the reference error messages that you might take delivery of. On the other hand, note that the list doesn’t comprise all probable reference error notes.

  • “Method MethodName of Object ObjectName Failed”

Characteristically, you perhaps obtain this error if there’s an issue with the programming library, such as an unacceptable Data Access Object (DAO) dynamic-link library (DLL) file. You can hunt MS Knowledge Base for a piece that defines a variety of shapes of error messages.

Also read: How To Fix Access Error 49 – Bad DLL Calling Convention

  • “Function is un-available in Usage expression”

Though You might collect error message if difficulty with programming type library occurs, or if code doesn’t particularly call for an accurate library and the file is recorded at inferior priority in reference list than file that encloses the same name of the function –for instance, if DAO code is utilized with ActiveX Data Object (ADO) library scheduled at superior priority than DAO library. You might even get an error message if form or statement comprise of an ActiveX control.

  • “Can’t find project or library”

Well, you may receive this error if Access can’t find the file within the reference list. Often file is observed as Missing in the dialog box of Reference. At times file exists on the development PC but not on the target system. For more info, Click here.

  • ++

You may come across one of the error messages if you make use of the User-Level Security Wizard to protect a database that references libraries apart from libraries that are involved by default. Suppose, reference libraries exist in unprotected databases that aren’t automatically formulated in the new, open database.

  • “Run-time error 5,” “Invalid process argument or call,”

“The library that comprises of the icon isn’t referenced by existing project,” or “The library which has this symbol is referenced by the current project, so the logo is not defined”

You may receive this error messages if there’s reference to database, a type library, or object library that’s termed as Missing.

ALSO READ: How To Fix Access ‘Invalid Argument’ Error Message

  • “ActiveX component cannot create object” 

This error message doesn’t unavoidably mean that ActiveX control is occupied. For instance, one potential cause is DAO, which is ActiveX constituent, can’t generate objects since DAO Automation Server fails to begin. Recurrently, the cause is that DLLs providing referenced functionality for the program aren’t recorded or imperfectly registered. For further details regarding this error, click the article number beneath to view the article in MS Knowledge Base- Troubleshooting Error 429 When Automating Office Applications

Related FAQs:

Can A Missing Broken Reference Lead to Data Loss In My Microsoft Access Database?

No, a missing or broken reference cannot lead to severe data loss. But if any error occurs while handling the references, ensure to fix it to maintain the integrity of your database.

How Can I Identify Which Reference Is Missing In My Microsoft Access Database?

If you want to identify the missing reference in your MS Access database, navigate go to the VBA editor, then ‘Tools’ >> ‘References.’ Here, look for any “MISSING” entry.

What Steps Should I Take To Fix this Error?

By implementing the troubleshooting methods mentioned above in this post, you can fix this error.

Is There A Way To Prevent Missing Broken References In Microsoft Access?

To avoid missing broken references, keep regular backups of the database, update the paths to linked objects, avoid moving files associated with the database, etc.

Wrap Up

Addressing the Microsoft Access database missing or broken reference error is crucial for keeping your Access database working flawlessly. By understanding the reasons, diagnosing the error, and implementing the methods mentioned above, you can solve this error and experience a smooth database process.

Besides, if you are facing any other access database issues, feel free to ask on our social accounts like Twitter.


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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.