Converting an Access Database to SQL Server

Pop up window for Upsizing Wizard program.

 Mike Chapple

In time, most databases grow in size and complexity. If your Access 2010 database is growing too large or unwieldy, you may need to allow more robust multiuser access to the database. Converting your Access database to Microsoft SQL Server database might be the solution you need. Fortunately, Microsoft provides an Upsizing Wizard in Access 2010 that makes it easy to convert your database. This tutorial walks through the process of converting your database.

It's important to note that if you're looking for a SQL Server tool that offers a similar migration path, you need to look at the SQL Server Migration Assistant. 

What You Need

  • Microsoft Access 2010
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Relational Database
  • SQL Server administrative account with permission to create a database

Preparations for Upsizing an Access Database

Before you begin the tutorial to convert your database to a SQL Server database, you need to do a few things:

  • Back up the database
  • Make sure you have plenty of disk space on the device that will contain the upsized database
  • Assign yourself permissions on the SQL Server database
  • Add a unique index to each Access table that doesn't have one before you upsize it

Converting an Access 2010 Database to SQL Server

  1. Open the database in Microsoft Access.
  2. Choose the Database Tools tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click the SQL Server button located in the Move Data section. This opens the Upsizing Wizard.
  4. Select whether you want to import the data into an existing database or create a new database for the data. For this tutorial, assume that you're trying to create a new SQL Server database using the data in your Access database. Click Next to continue.
  5. Provide the connection information for the SQL Server installation. You'll need to provide the name of the server, credentials for an administrator with permission to create a database and the name of the database you want to connect. Click Next after providing this information.
  6. Use the arrow buttons to move the tables you want to transfer to the list labeled Export to SQL Server. Click the Next button to continue.
  7. Review the default attributes that will be transferred and make any changes desired. You have the option to preserve settings for table indexes, validation rules, and relationships, among other settings. When done, click the Next button to continue.
  8. Decide how you want to handle your Access application. You may choose to create a new Access client/server application that accesses the SQL Server database, modify your existing application to reference the data stored on SQL Server, or copy the data without making any changes to your Access database.
  9. Click Finish and wait for the upsizing process to complete. When you are finished, review the upsizing report for important information about the database migration.


This tutorial was written for Access 2010 users. The Upsizing Wizard first appeared in Access 97 but the specific process for using it varies in other versions.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Chapple, Mike. "Converting an Access Database to SQL Server." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Chapple, Mike. (2021, February 16). Converting an Access Database to SQL Server. Retrieved from Chapple, Mike. "Converting an Access Database to SQL Server." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 13, 2021).