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MS Access to SQL Server – 101 Made Easy Guide

Published By Ashwani Tiwari
Tej Pratap Shukla
Approved By Tej Pratap Shukla
Published On November 21st, 2023
Reading Time 9 Minutes Reading

Access to SQL Server

In this digital age of internet abundance, storing and retrieving data is crucial. For this, there are 2 ways: traditional and modern approaches. The traditional way is simply to store it on a text file or CSV file which is not viable in the current huge data world. On the other hand, a Database Management System (DBMS) allows different user applications to interact with the database. 

In general, the database management system is faster, more responsive, easier, and more effective in terms of storing, managing, and retrieving data. In the write-up, you will be discussing how to migrate from MS Access to SQL Server

You will get a better idea from the user queries given below about the problems people are facing:

User Query 1:
User – Is there any way to migrate my existing MS Access database to SQL Server?

Additional Details – Generally, I use the Microsoft Access. But now, I want to switch to SQL Server. Can anyone guide me through the steps to ensure a smooth migration without any data loss?

User Query 2:
User – I’m looking for a precise solution to transfer my MS Access data to SQL Server. Which migration tool is best for this?

Additional Details – I have a nominal-sized database in MS Access. However, for better scalability, I like to move it to SQL Server. Any suggestions for a user-friendly migration process?

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Brief about Microsoft Access and its Key Features

Before going into the main context of migrating MS Access to SQL Server. Let’s have some understanding of the relevant terms. Microsoft Access works as a Database Management System (DBMS) designed by Microsoft. Specifically, the main purpose is to seamlessly integrate a graphical user interface with the relational Access Database Engine (ACE) and other software development tools. It is included in the Microsoft 365 suite of apps, and available as a professional and standalone entity. 

The function of Access Database Engine (formerly known as Jet Database Engine) is to store data in its proprietary format. Furthermore, it also allows you to immediately import or link data from diverse programs and databases. 

Key Attributes of Microsoft Access:

  • Tailored for Individual Users and Smaller Teams
  • Simplified Understanding and Usage
  • Facilitates Custom Solutions with VBA Code
  • Effortless Creation and Publication of Web Databases
  • Report Generation in PDF Format

Brief About SQL Server and its Features

SQL Server is the significant pillar in the migration of Access to SQL Server. SQL (Structured Query Language) Server is also a Relational Database Management System (RDMS). It is recognized as Microsoft SQL Server or MS SQL. It was developed by Microsoft on April 24, 1989. The latest stable version of SQL Server 2019 was released on November 4, 2019. Further, the MSSQL is written in programming languages such as C and C++. Indeed, it works on the relational model introduced by E. F. Codd. 

RDBMS data is generally stored in tables and maintains relationships among them. The tabular organization involves rows and columns. In this regard, each column signifies a particular field or attribute and each row represents an entry or record. 

Microsoft SQL Server comes in different editions like Express, Enterprise, Standard, Web, and Developer. For small and entry-level applications, you can refer to the freeware Express Edition. However, for bigger projects, you can use licensed-based editions. Moreover, SQL Server effectively handles XML data type formats and dynamic management views. 

Main Features of SQL Server:

  • Cloud Database Support
  • Ease of Management
  • High Security
  • End-to-End Business Data Solutions

Migrate Access to SQL Server in Quick Steps

In comparison to the manual or free method, where the processes are lengthy with the risk of data loss & data corruption, we found a worthy solution. Fortunately, with this professional’s verified MS Access converter, you can instantly migrate from the MS Access database to SQL Server. 

Here, using this utility, you can not only migrate the access database to SQL but also convert the Access Database to Excel, CSV, ACCDB, MDB, etc. We consider the information given in this piece of content will add some insights to your knowledge. 

Download Now Purchase Now

Now, follow the steps given below to complete the migration process without any data reduction. Likewise, use this sophisticated tool for conversion that you have experience never before. 

Step 1. Install and run the Access database to SQL Server migration software on your system.

Tool Screen

Step 2. Click on Browse to locate the Access file in the storage.

click on Browse

Step 3. Hit on the Export button to begin the conversion from MS Access to SQL Server.

click on export

Step 4. Select the SQL Server version from the dropdown list of Select Export Option.

choose the SQL version

Step 5. Check all the options such as Schema & Data, Export Deleted Record, and other parameters shown in the screenshot below. Next, tap on the Export/Save tab to start the conversion. 

hit on Export/Save

Also Read: 3 Different Ways to Export Data From MS Access to Excel

Free Approach to Migrate Access to SQL Server

Because the Microsoft Access ODBC drivers are exclusively available on Windows, having Microsoft Windows becomes necessary. Further, the destination SQL Server can be installed on the same system or any other computer within the network. 

With this information, let’s dive into the process of exporting the MS Access database to SQL Server using SQL Server Migration Assistant for Access (SSMA for Access). 


Before you step into the migration process, let’s have a few checks:

  • Gain Access to SSMA for Access.
  • Check the compatibility of the source environment.
  • Finally, get the requisite connectivity and other necessary permissions for the source and destination. 

Step 1. Create an Assessment Using SQL Server Migration Assistant for Access

  • At first, you need to unlock SSMA for Access
  • After that, select File and then navigate to select New Project.
  • Once, you have assigned the project name. Next, fill in the location where you want to save the project. Henceforth, choose the SQL Server version from the options in the dropdown as the destination and tap on OK.


  • In the latest step, go to Add Databases and select the required database that you want to include in your project. This is one of the primary steps in the migration from MS Access to SQL Server.


  • In Access Metadata Explorer, select the database, you want to access. Then, right-click on the database, and navigate to Create Report. Alternatively, you can opt for the Create Report tab in the top-right corner. 


  • Now, have a thorough understanding of the conversion statistics, errors, or warnings insights by opening the HTML report. However, if you like, you can disclose the report in Excel format too. Here is the location where you can access the report file: 

Step 2. Validate the Default Data Type Mappings to Migrate the MS Access Database to SQL Server

  • In the Tools menu of the application, choose the Project Settings.
  • Next, go for the Type Mappings tab.


  • At this conjecture, you can change the type mapping for each table by opting for the table in the Access Metadata Explorer.

Step 3. Convert Database Objects

  • Click on the connection details, after choosing Connect to SQL Server


  • Similarly, right-click on the database in Access Metadata Explorer. Then, choose the Convert Schema option. Next, you can choose the Convert Schema tab in the top-right corner of the screen. 


  • After that, in the output pane, look for Review Results, if you want to gain insights in the Error list pane. 
  • Finally, choose Save Project to locally save the project on the computer. 

Step 4. Run the Migration Process

Once you are done with the assessment of the databases find out the discrepancies. The next logical step is to migrate MS access to SQL Server. Use the steps given below by employing SSMS for Access: 

  • If you have not finished already, then choose Connect to SQL Server. After that, enter the connection details
  • Publish the schema by selecting the database and right-clicking on it in the SQL Server Metadata Explorer. Henceforth, go for Synchronize with Database


  • Go through the mapping between the source project and the destination.


  • To begin the migration of MS Access to SQL server database, right-click on the required database on the Access Metadata Explorer and go to Migrate Data. However, if you want to migrate the entire database, then choose the check box next to the database name. Adding to the steps, if you want to perform the migration from individual tables, expand the database. Henceforth, expand the tables and check the boxes aligning with the tables. Besides this, if you want to remove the individual tables, uncheck the checkboxes. 


  • Take a closer look at the Data Migration Report, once completed.
  • The next step, validate the migration by reviewing the data and schema in SQL Server Management Studio by connecting to your SQL Server instance. 

Shortcomings in Manual Method to Migrate MS Access to SQL Server

  • Labor-Intensive
  • Prone to Errors
  • Limited Scalability
  • Downtime Risk
  • Dependency on Expertise
  • Incomplete Migration
  • Challenges in Schema Mapping
  • Limited Automation

Final Takeaway

After going through the regular as well as smart solutions, you can easily conclude that the professionally verified solution is far better in terms of data loss, errors, scalability, expertise, secure migration, automation, reliable schema mapping, and many more. Now, may the manual approach can be free or easily accessible. But in the long run, drawbacks in the manual steps can result in unsuccessful migration. Thus, the automated way to migrate access to SQL Server is the ideal path for a hassle-free conversion.


By Ashwani Tiwari

I am an Expert Technical Analyst, specialized in assisting users with complex technological challenges. Through my blogs and articles, I offer expert guidance to help tackle these technical issues effectively. My true passion lies in providing valuable insights and simplifying complicated technicalities, enhancing user understanding and confidence.