While building a software application, the question arises where will you store your data and how? The traditional approach is a simple text file or CSV file which is not a good choice in today’s big data world. The solution is Database Management System(DBMS) which allows different user application programs to concurrently access the same Database. A Database Management system(DBMS) is a simpler, easier, reliable, faster, secure, and powerful software tool for Storing, Managing, and Retrieving data, and in this article, you will gain information about migrating databases from MS Access to SQL Server.

We will also look at the different features of Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL Server, and the steps for migrating a database from Microsoft Access to SQL Server. Read along to find out in-depth information about migrating databases from Microsoft Access to SQL Server.

Steps For Migrating Database from MS Access to SQL Server

Because Microsoft Access ODBC drivers are only available on Windows, Microsoft Windows is necessary. The destination SQL Server can be on the same system or on another computer in your network.

In this section, we are going to learn how to migrate MS Access to SQL Server using SQL Server Migration Assistant for Access, also known as SSMA for Access, in 4 simple steps.

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Step 1: Create an Assessment

  • First, you’ll need to open SSMA for Access.
  • Next, select File and then proceed to select New Project.
  • Once done, you’ll have to create a project name and enter the location to save your project. Select, SQL Server from the options in the dropdown as the destination and hit OK.
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  • In the next step, you’ll need to Add Databases and consequently, select the database that you want to add.
  • Once done, you’ll need to right-click on the database you want to assess and hit on Create Report, in the Access Metadata Explorer.
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  • For any insights on the conversion statistics, errors or warnings, you’ll need to review the HTML report. If you’d like to, you can open the report in Excel too. The storage location of the report is as follows:

Step 2: Validate the Default Data Type Mappings

  • Go to the Tools menu and hit on Project Settings.
  • Next, you’ll have to select the Type Mappings tab as shown in the image below.
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  • Select the table in the Access Metadata Explorer to change the type mapping for each table.

Step 3: Convert Database Objects

  • Enter the connection details after selecting Connect to SQL Server.
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  • The next step would be to right-click on the database in Access Metadata Explorer, and hit Convert Schema.
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  • Next, in the output pane, select Review Results, if you wish to take a look at the errors in the Error List pane.
  • Finally, select Save Project to save the project locally.

Step 4: Run the Migration Process

  • Connect to SQL Server and enter the connection details, if you hadn’t already.
  • Right-click on the database in SQL Server Metadata Explorer and choose Synchronize with Database to publish the schema.
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  • In the next step, consider reviewing the mapping between the source project and your destination.
  • In this step, you’ll be finally be migrating your data. Right-click the database you wish to migrate in Access Metadata Explorer and choose Migrate Data. Note that if you want to migrate the entire database, you’ll have to check the box that’s next to the database name. However, if you want to migrate data from individual tables, you need to expand Tables after expanding the database, and then check the boxes next to the tables. Clear the boxes if you want to omit any data.
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  • At this point your migration is complete, and you can check the Data Migration Report for a comprehensive view of the process.
  • Finally, validate the migration by reviewing your data and schema by connecting to your SQL Server instance using SQL Server Management Studio.

Why Do Companies Migrate from Access to SQL Server?

  • MS Access has become very old. Its capabilities have continued to become irrelevant. Also, Microsoft has transitioned it into an unsupported database. So, migration from Access to SQL Server is more advantageous. 
  • The number of concurrent users SQL can handle is comparatively much higher than Access. Also, SQL Server is extremely secure and includes significantly more complex integrations with platforms and programming languages. With local capabilities and a lack of modern-day integrations,  Access has not evolved much. This justifies the reason to convert MS Access to SQL Server.
  • Another major cause for migration is scalability issues of Access. SQL Server supports 524 Petabytes, while the maximum size of the Access database is limited to 2 Gigabytes.


After you’ve successfully completed the migration stage, you need to complete a series of post-migration tasks to ensure that everything is functioning as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Remediate applications

After migrating the data to the target environment, all the applications need to start consuming the target that formerly consumed the source. This will require you to make changes to the applications in some cases.

Perform tests

The test approach for database migration consists of the following activities:

  1. Develop validation tests: Use SQL queries to test database migration. Create the validation queries to run against both the source and the target databases. It should cover the scope you’ve defined.
  2. Set up a test environment: The test environment should consist of a copy of the source database and the target database. Ensure that you have isolated the test environment.
  3. Run validation tests: Run validation tests against the source and the target. Thereafter, analyze the results.
  4. Run performance tests: Run performance tests against the source and the target. Then, analyze and compare the results.


The post-migration phase is important for reconciling any data accuracy issues, verifying completeness, and addressing performance issues with the workload.


This article provides comprehensive information on how to convert Access database to SQL. This article also provided information on the steps for migrating a database from MS Access to SQL Server in detail. For further information on MongoDB vs SQL Server, A Guide to SQL Server Migration, and Setting up Airflow SQL Server Integration, you can visit the following links.  Microsoft SQL Server offers tools for Data Administration,  ETL solutions, Online Analytical Processing(OLAP), and Data Mining purposes.

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Muhammad Faraz
Freelance Technical Content Writer, Hevo Data

In his role as a freelance writer, Muhammad loves to use his analytical mindset and a problem-solving ability to help businesses solve problems by offering extensively researched content.

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