Migrating from Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access is database software that runs on Windows and is part of specific versions of Office. It is often used to create specialized in-house database applications. But Access cannot create real, stand-alone applications. If you have an Access application and are running into its limitations, Xojo is a great choice to take your application to the next level.


Access has a form designer, database designer and a programming language (VBA: Visual Basic for Applications).

Xojo has all these components as well, but expands on each of them. Xojo has a form designer with many more controls than Access provides and Xojo allows you to layout your user interface any way you want. It uses SQLite as its built-in database and has a database designer for designing your tables. And of course, Xojo has a much more robust programming language.


Migrating an Access application is typically a three-step process where you migrate the database itself, the forms that are used to manipulate the data and the source code.


When migrating a Microsoft Access application, you first need to consider the database. If you are using the Access “Jet” database engine, you will most likely want to migrate it to another database engine. Although you can connect to a Jet database using ODBC or ADO on Windows, Jet is not a cross-platform database format. On a Mac you can only connect to a Jet database using ODBC in read-only mode.

Your best option in this case is to use SQLite, which is much faster than the Access Jet database and is fully cross-platform. You can easily migrate your database tables and data from an Access database to SQLite. This can be done using ODBC, ADO or a variety of 3rd party products.

If your Access database is connecting to another database as its data source, then you can use the ODBCDatabase class and an ODBC driver to connect. Or you can use Xojo's built-in support for PostgreSQL and MySQL.


Your Access forms are likely used to edit data in tables. You can recreate these forms as Windows, Web Pages or Views (iOS) in your Xojo application.

Source code

Access is programmed using the Visual Basic for Applications language which is quite similar to the Xojo programming language. You will have to rewrite your code, but at the same time will find the Xojo programming language to be familiar in its syntax and commands.

Learn more

To learn more about Xojo and how you can use it to replace Microsoft Access, check out these topics:

  • Getting Started

  • Desktop App Tutorial

  • Web App Tutorial

  • iOS App Tutorial