How to Split an Access 2010 Database into Front-End/Back-End Components

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Open the database you wish to split

business person holding a smart phone in front of a computer

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As a general rule, it's inadvisable to provide multiple copies of access databases to other users without making the front end of the database inaccessible. Data corruption may result.

So, how do you handle it when you want to share the data itself with other users in your organization who may, in turn, wish to create their own forms and reports using that same data? You may want them to have the ability to view and/or update your data, but you definitely don't want them to modify the interface you've used to work with the data yourself and that contains other database objects. Fortunately, Microsoft Access 2010 provides the ability to split a database into front-end and back-end components. You can safely share data with other users while keeping your interface private, providing each user a local copy.

If you're working in a multi-user environment, another benefit of this useful technique is that giving colleagues the data without an active interface can make a considerable difference in network traffic. It also allows front-end development work to continue without its affecting the data or interrupting other users on the network.
From within Microsoft Access 2010, choose Open from the File menu. Navigate to the database you wish to split and open it.

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Start the Database Splitter Wizard

access menu bar

To split a database, you'll use the Database Splitter Wizard.

Go to the Database Tools tab of the Ribbon, and, in the Move Data section, select Access Database.

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Split the Database

dialogue box of database splitter

Next, you'll see the wizard screen. It warns you that the process may take a long time, depending upon the size of the database. It also reminds you that this is a risky procedure and that you should make a backup of your database before proceeding. (This is certainly good advice. If you haven't already made a backup, do it now!) When you're ready to begin, click the "Split Database" button.

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Choose a Location for the Back-End Database

location save window

You'll see the familiar windows file selection tool. Navigate to the folder where you wish to store the back-end database and provide the filename you wish to use for this file. As a reminder, the back-end database is the shared file that will contain the data used by all users. Once you've named the file and selected the appropriate folder, click the Split button to begin the split operation.

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Database Splitting Complete

dialogue box showing successful split

After a period of time (which varies depending upon the size of your database), you'll see the message "Data Successfully Split" in the Data Splitter window. When you see this, the splitting operation is complete. Your back-end database is now stored using the name you provided. The original file still  contains the front-end portion of the database. Congratulations, you're done!