Moving Away from MS Access

Brass Contributor

The organization I work for is wanting to move away from Microsoft Access databases where possible, and we have started exploring what tools our current Access databases could be moved to.  Is there a standard for what works best (Powerapps, Sharepoint, etc)?  What have you found to be a good resource for guidance on this topic?  Thanks!  

71 Replies
That's a good analogy. I sometimes use ChatGPT to create a skeleton of a script which I can then customize. It almost never gets it right the first time, but generally you can just keep saying "that doesn't work" and providing it any error messages, and it will keep apologizing and making changes until you get something usable. Seems like it usually takes three or four tries before it provides a usable example for me.

Then you have to actually fix it for your real environment. Because of course, nobody is providing actual production data to ChatGPT... I hope.

How is that different to a person doing it?
I see no difference, except it does not bring a coffee. Or complain.

So here is an idea, upload MS Access and ask to covert it to a Web app!
Of course people would upload prod data, because they can.

I'm still waiting to see an actual advice for the OP's question. What I see is a lot of doubts, not actual experiences in doing it.
People are forgetting that Access app can be anything. Can be a rubbish app, or a top-notch!
But we just don't know that.
We are blind.
And yet, the reply from many is "it's complicated", "costs money and time", it's ugly, it does not address VBA...

The good advice in my books is this from Tom:
"Hence you start with a pilot project, and migrate a small percentage of the app. I probably would worry less about the data than the ability to create forms with identical functionality. "

POC is everything. If someone does not have a few hours to build the POC with no coding at all, that's a shame.
And yes, people do not care what are they are uploading. Only professionals do.
How ChatGPT is different from a person:
1. ChatGPT has absolutely no knowledge or understanding of language syntax, set theory, data structures, indexes, etc.
2. ChatGPT cannot actually run a query against the DB and compare the output to expectations to confirm whether it's correct or not.
3. ChatGPT can create a query that looks perfect, but is wrong, and ChatGPT cannot tell that it is wrong.
4. ChatGPT can provide contradictory answers to the same question based solely on differences in phrasing the question.
ChatGPT is an impressive accomplishment and does amazing things, but it is not alive. It does not reason.

Regarding what the OP asked for, I see multiple helpful suggestions, and the OP has stated as much.

PowerApps, Sharepoint, and custom web apps with SQL Server have all been suggested. If Microsoft has another general purpose database platform, I've never heard of it.
The simplest way to get data out of Access and into a more reliable and performant platform is to keep the Access front-end and move the back end data to a SQL Server, and that suggestion was made.

Excellent write up. Microsoft could continue to support Access because it has been a very useful tool for businesses of all sizes for decades now. But the corporate greed part of the decision making process has decided doing something good for the customer is not as important as squeezing every last cent out people and businesses. I personally hate what Microsoft has become. I used to be an advocate of the products. Now I detest having to use them even though I'm knowledgeable and proficient.
I have built more Access databases in the last 20 years than I would like to admit. For some projects Access can be a quick and easy solution. When the Access database becomes difficult to manage - size is too big and too many users needing to access it at the same time - I have been converting them to Oracle APEX web applications which look and feel like an Access database in many ways - tables, queries, forms, reports, data exports, data imports, low code, etc. but with the benefit of accessing the database from any device connected to the internet. I found that pricing is pretty competitive as well. A 250 megabyte Oracle APEX database in the cloud using shared hosting runs about $50.00 a month and can be used by around 15 people. From there it can be easily scaled up.

@ITLouis69 et al.


I just re-read most of this discussion. It was suggested to me that this might be a good topic for my Access User Group.  

I run one of the Chapters of the Access User Group organization. I'm always on the lookup out for interesting topics that may not be on the beaten path. Would any of you be interested in joining us for a discussion of your concerns and possible alternatives?


I'm scheduling now for later in the summer this year. 


At this point, it's kind of an idea, not a plan, but if there is interest, we can make it happen.



@George Hepworth I’d be up for that :) I eventually decided to move to Azure and am just starting to convert everything over. 

Contact me, if you will, via private message.

@George Hepworth 

Absolutely! Sign me up.



Please contact me via private message here.

@George Hepworth 

I'm in.
Not sure how to PM...

Click on a person's hyperlinked name. In the next screen, there is a Message button in the upper right corner. I just sent you a test message.