Encrypting an Access Database

Security-conscious database users have long called for the ability to use strong encryption in Microsoft Access. With the release of Access 2007, Microsoft answered these pleas and introduced a robust encryption feature that allows for the simple addition of a great deal of security to Access databases.

Note that these instructions are for Access 2007. If you are using a later version of Access, read Password Protecting an Access 2010 Database or Password Protecting an Access 2013 Database.

What is encryption?

Encryption provides you with the ability to protect your database file from prying eyes. It transforms the way data is stored on your disk so that individuals who do not know the database password can not open the database or use other techniques to view the file contents. Security professionals recommend the use of encryption to protect sensitive information.

How do I encrypt an Access 2007 database?

Access 2007 users may encrypt databases stored in ACCDB format by password-protecting them. Note that this feature is not available for database stored in the older MDB format. You may find the following articles useful when attempting to encrypt an Access database:

How do I decrypt an Access 2007 database?

If you want to open an encrypted database for use and then reencrypt it when you are finished, Microsoft Access will handle the mechanics for you.

Simply open the database as you normally would and enter the database password when prompted. Access will decrypt the database for your use and then save a new encrypted copy when you make changes.

If you want to remove encryption from an encrypted Access database, open the database in exclusive mode and then click “Decrypt Database” in the Database Tools group.

What type of encryption does Access 2007 use?

Access 2007 uses the Microsoft Cryptographic API. This means that it will support any cryptographic algorithm available within Windows as a Cryptographic Service Provider (CSP). This is a great improvement over earlier versions of Access, which only supported a built-in, weak encryption algorithm.