I have an old Microsoft access database (circa 2002 or so), which I need to extract data from. I don't have Microsoft Office available - the trial version I downloaded expired a week ago or so. I am looking for an open source solution or something similar that will allow me to open the database and extract the data - so I can throw away the database.

BTW, can I use OpenOffice to access the data in the .mdb file? (I don't think the option is available IIRC)


I have used MDB Tools to do that on linux. This also includes a unixODBC-driver which OpenOffice.org can use (but just using MDB Tools is less trouble IMO). I'm not sure there exists a Windows version of it (but you probably don't need it, read on).

As noted in the comments below, if you don't have an antique Windows version, there should be ODBC drivers for the MS Jet DB engine installed on your system by default, and OpenOffice.org supports ODBC.

  • Er, all copies of Windows starting with Windows 2000 include the Jet 4 database engine as a Windows component (it's used with Active Directory), so there's nothing to download. I don't know if OpenOffice's ODBC can use it, but it's there on every copy of Windows. – David W. Fenton Oct 16 '10 at 15:39
  • To add to David's comment, read the details at msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/… before attempting to download or install MDAC on your OS. Chances are you don't need to install it unless you are running NT 4.0 or Windows 98. – Tony Toews Oct 16 '10 at 20:36
  • I guess it's been too long since I needed it on a vanilla Windows system... ;) And @David: I can't see why OpenOffice.org wouldn't be able to use it? – JanC Oct 16 '10 at 21:03
  • It's normal for the ODBC driver to be provided by whoever provides the database engine. I don't know if Jet 4 that's included in Windows includes the ODBC drivers (as I've never used a computer on a regular basis that didn't have Access installed!). I wouldn't expect someone other than Microsoft to provide reliable ODBC drivers for Jet 4 -- hence, my reservations about the comment about OpenOffice's ODBC drivers properly supporting Jet 4. – David W. Fenton Oct 18 '10 at 1:14
  • The OpenOffice.org ODBC driver is an OOo database driver that talks to the Microsoft-provided ODBC-drivers on Windows (on linux/unix it talks to the open source unixODBC drivers). OpenOffice.org has database drivers for hsqldb, MySQL, Postgres, ODBC, JDBC, dBase, several mail contact databases, etc. It's similar to how MS Office can talk to any ODBC databases really (when you need databases that aren't natively supported by MS Office). – JanC Oct 18 '10 at 2:25

Get anyone you know to download the trial. Export the data to (for instance) a comma-delimited file. Import the CDL into Openoffice Base or whatever other database software you like.

  • Or install the trial to a virtual machine. – Michael Itzoe Oct 16 '10 at 23:53

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