Adding and Removing Access Database Files (AccessToSQL)

To migrate Access data to SQL Server or SQL Azure, you must add one or more Access databases to the SSMA project. These databases must be Access 97 or later versions. If you have databases from an earlier version of Access, you must convert the databases to a newer version. You do this by opening and saving the databases in Access 97 or a later version before you add them to SSMA.

What Happens When You Add Access Database Files?

When you add an Access database to an SSMA project, SSMA reads database metadata, and then adds this metadata to the project file. This metadata describes the database and its objects. SSMA uses the metadata when it converts objects to SQL Server or SQL Azure syntax, and when it migrates data to SQL Server or SQL Azure. You can browse this metadata in Access Metadata Explorer and review properties of individual database objects.


An Access database can be split into multiple files: a back-end database that contains tables, and front-end databases that contain queries, forms, reports, macros, modules, and shortcuts. If you want to migrate a split database to SQL Server or SQL Azure, add the front-end database to SSMA.

Permissions that are required by SSMA

To migrate an Access database to SQL Server or SQL Azure, the Users group and the Admin user must have Administer permissions. For information about how to migrate databases with workgroup protection, see Preparing Access Databases for Migration

Selecting Databases to Add

If you want to add one or more databases to an SSMA project, and the files are all in one known location, you can add the files by using the following procedure.

To add individual database files

  1. On the File menu, click Add Databases.

  2. In the Open dialog box, locate the folder that contains the database file or files.

  3. Select the files that you want to add, and then click Open.

Finding Databases to Add

If you want to add multiple Access databases from different folders to an SSMA project, or you want to add a single file but have to find the file, you can follow these steps to locate one of more files and add them to the project.

To find and add databases

  1. On the File menu, click Find Databases.

  2. In the Find Databases Wizard, enter the name of the drive, file path, or the UNC path that you want to search. Alternatively, click Browse to locate the drive or network folder.

  3. Click Add to add the location to the list.

    Repeat the previous two steps to add more search locations.

  4. Optionally, add search criteria to refine the list of databases that are returned.


    The All or part of the file name text box does not support wildcard characters.

  5. Click Scan.

    The Scan page appears. This shows the databases that have been found and the progress of the search. To stop the search, click Stop.

  6. On the Select Files page, select the databases that you want to add to the project.

    You can use the Select All and Clear All buttons at the top of the list to select or clear all databases. You can hold the CTRL key down to select multiple databases, or hold the SHIFT key down to select a range of databases.

  7. Click Next.

  8. On the Verify page, click Finish.

Browsing Access Metadata

After you add an Access database to a project, the project metadata appears in Access Metadata Explorer. You can browse the hierarchy of databases and database objects in the explorer.

To browse metadata

  1. In Access Metadata Explorer, expand access-metabase, and then expand Databases.

  2. Expand the database that you want to review, and then expand Queries.

    Notice the list of queries. If you select a query, an SQL tab and a Properties tab appear in the right pane.

  3. Expand Tables and then select a table.

    Notice that four tabs appear: Table, Type Mapping, Properties, and Data.

  4. Expand a table, expand Keys, and then select a key.

    The key properties appear in the right pane.

  5. Expand Indexes, and then select an index.

    The index properties appear in the right pane.

Refreshing Databases

If an Access database changes after you add its file, you can update metadata from the Access database.

To update Access metadata

  • In Access Metadata Explorer, right-click the database, and then select Refresh from Database.

Removing Databases

You can remove an Access database from a project by following these steps.

To remove a database from a project

  1. In Access Metadata Explorer, expand access-metabase, and then expand Databases.

  2. Right-click the database, and then select Remove Database.

Next Step

The next step in the migration process is to connect to SQL Server.

See Also

Migrating Access Databases to SQL Server
Creating and Managing Projects