How To: Use Microsoft Access tables in ArcGIS


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.

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.


Use the following procedure 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.
    [O-Image] Database Connections

    To add OLE DB Connections for ArcGIS 10.1 and above, please refer to the following KB Article: FAQ: Where is the 'Add OLE DB Connection' command in ArcGIS Desktop 10.1?

  2. Select the Microsoft Jet 4.0 OLE DB Provider, and click Next.
    [O-Image] Data Link Properties dialog box
    The Microsoft Office 12.0 Access Database Engine OLE DB Provider can also be selected.

  3. In section one, specify the database by navigating to it. If the database has a password, enter that information in section 2. Click the Test Connection button to verify the database can be connected.
    [O-Image] Data Link Properties dialog box Password
  4. To use the Access table through ArcMap, add the table through the OLE DB connection.
    [O-Image] Add Data OLE DB
    Some users 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.

    There are a few limitations to be aware of when working with OLE DB connections. See the link in the Related Information section below.

    For users that experience bug NIM009080, work around the issue by using the Microsoft Access ODBC Driver instead of an OLE DB connection.

Related Information