Previously, users were required to install the Access Database Engine (ACE) Redistributable (or “redist”) to expose ACE outside of the Office bubble. Upon transferring data between existing Microsoft Office files and those outside of Office, one needed to download a set of components to facilitate the process. 2016, 2019, and O365 consumer versions of Access have not exposed its ACE engine outside of Office, including the ACE OLEDB provider.
Well, the Access team has good news for you. If you have O365, or click-to-run versions of Access 2016/2019 Consumer installed, you will no longer need to install the ACE Redistributable to use the ACE OLEDB provider (Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.16.0, or Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0). This will now enable previously unsupported scenarios, including allowing PowerBI to connect to Office data. Custom applications will also be able to connect to Office data without installing the redist.
If you have not installed Office, you can continue using the ACE redist, or you can install the Office 365 Access Runtime, which will include support for anything added after our 2016 MSI version.
The team is working to expose ODBC and DAO interfaces very soon. Currently With ODBC, users still need to build DSNs to ACE data within an Office app. With DAO, users will still need a complete MSI Office installation to use SQL Server’s migration assistant, which transfers data from various sources into SQL Server. These scenarios are being addressed by the Access team.
Please send us your thoughts and feedback on the first step of our ACE Redistributable process! The team is always looking for more ways to improve. You can leave comments here, or use the Send-A-Smile tool in Access to let us know what you think of this experience.