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Migrate Access to SQL Server – 4 Free Solutions

access to sql server
Published By Aswin Vijayan
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On December 5th, 2023
Reading Time 8 Minutes Reading
Category Converter, migration

Summary: If you are searching on the web for ”how to migrate Access to SQL Server”, but not getting the required results. Don’t worry, we have covered the solution for you. In this write-up, we will discuss the free methods and expert strategy on how to migrate Access database to SQL Server. 

Before diving into the main context, let’s go through the related terms. As we know Microsoft Access and SQL Server are well-known database management systems. By using these mediums, you can easily customize your database to store and manage data successfully. MS Access is an integral part of Microsoft Office Suite.  On the other hand, Microsoft SQL Server is a server-based database management system (DBMS), especially used by corporations or enterprises.

About MS Access

Access is owned by Microsoft and is a DBMS. Practically, has more usage in small-scale applications. It has an intuitive and elegant user interface, software development tools, and a relational database system. Further, it is very useful for data entry, web development, and software development fields. Moreover, the latest version of MS Access provides a comprehensive set of tools that simplify the user experience with the databases. Through this knowledge of terms, you can better understand the Access migration to SQL Server database. 

About MS SQL

Microsoft SQL (Structured Query Language) Server is a robust database engine that enables users to manage large amounts of data with good scalability and high availability options. In addition, this utility has a built-in visual basic programming language by which users can create stored procedures and functions for custom applications. Furthermore, it has its own set of data types, security features, and query optimization tools. Thus, users can seamlessly use MS SQL Server in their workflow to address distributed queries, transactions, and replication. 

To get an in-depth analysis of the above two powerful concepts, you can see the difference table shown below:

access vs. sql server

Table of Contents Hide

Free Method #1: Migrate Access Database to SQL Server Using SSMA

Use the following easily accessible solution to migrate Access to SQL Server. SSMA is commonly known as SQL Server Migration Assistant. Through this free utility, you can automate the migration of Access database to SQL live server. Also, it is compatible with schema and both schema and data migration. 

Step 1. Download and install SSMA on your system from the official Microsoft website. 

ssma for access

Step 2. Open the SSMA and create on new project.

Step 3. Next, select “Microsoft Access” as the primary source database.

Step 4. Connect the SSMA with your  Access database by providing the proper login credentials. 

Step 5. After that, configure the migration settings with respect to the targeted SQL Server details. 

Step 6. In this position, SSMA will analyze the entered Access database. Henceforth, it will list out the migration issues, if any were present. 

Step 7. For the same purpose, generate SQL scripts.

Step 8. Review the generated scripts. Run the algorithm to import data from Access to SQL Server database.

Find More: Check out the In-detail explanation to Migrate Access database to SQL Server Using SSMA.

Free Method #2: Migrate Access to SQL Server through SSIS

SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) is a part of the SQL Server suite. Mainly, it is used for ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) operations without Access software. Additionally, you can employ this tool to create a package that can extract the data from Access database and export it into SQL Server. Most often, it requires some basic tech skills to run this application, if you are not familiar with the interface. 

Step 1. Download the SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) tool from the official Microsoft site. Then, Open it. It is a specialized development environment dedicated to SQL Server. 

sql server data tools

Step 2. Click on Create to unfold a new SSIS project.

Step 3. Within the SSIS project manager, add a Data Flow Task.

Step 4. Next, configure the parameters in the Data Flow Task i.e. source component for Access and destination component for SQL Server. 

Step 5. After that, Map columns from the Access source to the destination SQL Server columns respectively. 

Step 6. Finally, carrying out the SSIS package for Access migration to SQL Server database. 

Free Solution #3: Convert Access Database to SQL Server by Upsizing Wizard (Microsoft Access)

Besides using other free approaches, you can use the built-in feature of MS Access to migrate Access to SQL Server. Access has an Upsizing wizard which can be effectively used for the export process. Now, follow the instructions below to perform the operation:

Step 1. Open the MS Access application on your system.

Step 2. Next, go to the “Database Tools” tab.

database tools

Step 3. After that, under the “Move Data” group, select “SQL Server.”

Step 4. Enter the information about the destination SQL Server like server name and authentication in the Upsizing Wizard

Step 5. Here, choose the database objects such as tables, queries, etc. that you want to export to the SQL Server.

Don’t forget to review the data after the migration from Access database to SQL Server. 

Also Read: How to Export Access to Excel file format without any data loss?

Free Solution #4: Migrate Access to SQL Server via VBA Code

This technique is one of the easiest ways to export data from Microsoft Access to SQL Server using VBA code. VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications. Follow the guide to accomplish the export process. 

Step 1. Make sure your SQL Server is live and has the necessary permissions enabled to import databases and tables. 

Step 2. In the Access database, ensure that you have the integration of “Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects x.x Library.” To set this reference follow the process below:

Press Alt + F11 together to open the VBA editor. Then, go to ToolsReferences. After that, select the suitable version of “Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects x.x Library.”

Sub MigrateDataToSQLServer()

    Dim conn As Object

    Set conn = CreateObject(“ADODB.Connection”)

    ‘ Connect to SQL Server

    conn.ConnectionString = “Provider=SQLOLEDB;Data Source=YourServerName;Initial Catalog=YourDatabaseName;User ID=YourUsername;Password=YourPassword;”


    ‘ Export data from Access to SQL Server

    Dim strSQL As String

    strSQL = “SELECT * INTO YourTableName IN ‘ODBC;DRIVER=SQL Server;SERVER=YourServerName;DATABASE=YourDatabaseName;Trusted_Connection=Yes’ FROM YourAccessTableName;”

    CurrentDb.Execute strSQL, dbFailOnError

    ‘ Close connection


    Set conn = Nothing

End Sub

Keep in mind to replace the placeholder values with their actual names like YourServerName, YourDatabaseName, YourUsername, and YourPassword.

Important Notes:

  • Before starting the process, ensure that your SQL Server has enabled the remote connections option.
  • Test the code in a demo environment before running the same on your system.
  • The above code uses the SQL Server authentication services. However, if you are using Windows authentication, you can set your connection string accordingly.

Also Read: Different Free Ways to Convert MDB to CSV File Format.

Shortcomings in the Easily Accessible Solution to Migrate Access to SQL Server

Here are some of the drawbacks i.e. associated with the process of conversion:

  • Time-consuming and Labour-intensive task
  • Risk of Errors, Data loss, and Data alteration
  • Requires technical knowledge
  • At times, migration stops due to unexpected error
  • Limits automation and challenges to schema mapping
  • An inevitable system or electricity shutdown can result in repeating the procedure

Instant Solution #5: Migrate Access Database to SQL Server

In lieu of free techniques, where the process is long, cumbersome, requires technical expertise, and involves risk of data loss & data corruption. Thankfully, we have the expert’s verified Access to SQL migration tool, where you can swiftly perform the migration without any problem.

Further, by using this application, you can not only convert Access file to SQL Server database but also to other file formats such as Excel, CSV, ACCDB, MDB, and more. Also, it can recover the deleted database objects from the .accdb/.mdb files. 

Download Now Purchase Now

With this information in mind, let’s check the migration process without any errors or data loss. Even if you land any error, you can contact customer services 24×7. 

Step 1. Download and Open the Access migration to SQL Server tool on your computer.

Tool Screen

Step 2. Hit on the Browse tab to locate the Access (.accdb/.mdb) file in your storage.

click on Browse

Step 3. Tap on the Export button. Then, select the SQL Server from the dropdown Select Export Options.

click on export

Step 4. Next, enter the SQL Server details like Server Name, Authentication, and more.

enter the sql server details

Step 5. At the end, tap on the Export/Save tab to begin the conversion with all the parameters selected as shown in the figure below.

hit on Export/Save

Final Takeaway

In this write-up, we have learned about the free solutions to encounter the problem of “How to migrate Access to SQL Server? ” No doubt that the easily accessible methods are good to find and available for free but there are some serious limitations to them. As stated in the above section about the shortcomings. As a result, we can rely on the migration tool Access to SQL Server.