Access Access files without Access

Open, view, and edit Access and other database files with this free viewer, plus extras.

It's hard to access Access files without access to Access, Microsoft's popular relational database management system. If you need to open Access database files, try Alex Nolan's MDB Viewer Plus. It's a free tool that not only displays Microsoft Access MDB files and the newer Accdb files via the Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) in Windows but also lets users open, view, edit, search, sort, import, and export Access files without an Access license or an installed copy of Access.

MDB Viewer Plus is portable freeware that runs as soon as you click the program file, which makes it a handy addition to your portable toolkit. The program's toolbar is well stocked with icons for searching for supported files as well as searching within them, not to mention displaying table info, importing and exporting data, creating and removing child fields, and other functions. It didn't take the program long to locate the few Access files stored locally on our system and display them in its main list view, but we were impressed with MDB Viewer's extensive and powerful search options nonetheless. In fact, MDB Viewer's most versatile feature is its search function, or functions, since it sports two Search icons, one for searching values and another for multiple word searches, not to mention the Query and Table Info tools, which have their own interfaces. We could save and export into text, rich text, PDF, Excel, Works, Foxpro, XML, HTML, and CSV formats. MDB Viewer also imports files in text, Word, clipboard, Excel, Lotus 1-2-3, QuattroPro, SPSS, Paradox, Dbase, and ADO database formats and Advantage, DBISAM, and Clarion table files as well as Access, XML, HTML, Windows Address Book, and VCalendar Data files. Wizards make importing and exporting all these file types easy.

MDB Viewer Plus certainly lives up to its name as well as its promise. It not only displays Access files without having Access installed, but it also offers considerable searching, editing, and modifying capabilities. As its developer notes, it's not an Access alternative or a standalone database solution--yet. It's on its way, though. For users who need to view or edit Access files, it's a great choice.

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