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How To: Use Microsoft Access tables in ArcGIS

Summary

Neither adding a Microsoft Access table directly into ArcMap, nor opening and modifying a Personal Geodatabase in Microsoft Access is supported by Esri because this can damage the Access database. Instructions provided describe how to use Microsoft Access tables in ArcGIS by way of an OLE DB connection.

Note:
Even though Microsoft Access Databases and Esri's Personal Geodatabases are both built on the MDB file format, they should not be opened through their non-native software.

Procedure

Use the following workaround to create an OLE DB connection to the Access Database:

  1. In ArcCatalog, open the Database Connections folder, and double-click 'Add OLE DB Connections' to open the Data Link Properties dialog box.
Database Connections
Note:
Refer to FAQ: Where is the 'Add OLE DB Connection' command in ArcGIS Desktop 10.1? to add OLE DB Connections for ArcGIS 10.1 and above.
  1. Select the Microsoft Jet 4.0 OLE DB Provider on the Provider tab, and click Next.
Data Link Properties dialog box
Note:
The Microsoft Office 12.0 Access Database Engine OLE DB Provider can also be selected.
  1. Specify the database in the first field on the Connection tab. If the database is password protected, fill in the password in the second field. Click the Test Connection button to verify the database can be connected.
Data Link Properties dialog box Password
  1. To use the Access table through ArcMap, add the table through the OLE DB connection.
Add Data OLE DB
Note:
It is possible to use Linked Tables in Access. These are not viewable through an OLE DB connection, although Access Queries are viewable. To use the Linked Table, create a query in Access that references the Linked Table, and connect to the Linked Table through the query in the OLE DB connection.
Note:
It is important to note the limitations of working with OLE DB connections. Click on the links provided in the Related Information section below for more information.
Note:
For issues related to bug NIM009080, resolve them using the Microsoft Access ODBC Driver instead of an OLE DB connection.

Related Information