Although there’s no version of Microsoft Access for Mac, you can still open MS Access files on a Mac. There are various Microsoft Access viewers for Mac that allow you to open MDB files on macOS Big Sur and Catalina.
Some of them even allow basic editing of Microsoft Access MDB files on macOS.
Note that none of these apps can open password protected Microsoft Access files. The only way to open a password protected MS Access database on a Mac is to install Windows on your Mac.
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Here then are the best ways to open Microsoft Access files on a Mac.
Access Database Manager not only allows you to open MS Access files but even edit them although you have to make an in app purchase to do the latter.
It supports Access 2000 files and upwards and allows you to filter, sort, export data and more.
The real attraction is the ability to edit MDB files on a Mac although there are in-app purchases which allow you to unlock the editing features.
These include the ability to update table row data, add new tables, create databases, import CSV data and even build a customized user interface for your database.
If you need maximum control over your database files, then Database Manager is probably your best option.
MDB ACCDB Viewer opens Access files in both the old .mdb format and newer .accdb format at no extra cost or hassle.
MDB ACCDB Viewer is also extremely quick compared to most and handles large databases with ease.
You can search your data and it comes with extensive documentation for exporting to other apps such as Numbers and OpenOffice.
SQL exporting can be a bit messy but other than that, MDB ACCDB is one of the most powerful tools available for opening database files on a Mac.
MDB Tool – For Microsoft Access allows you to export data directly into SQL or CSV and open it in Excel. It’s one of the simplest ways to open database files on Mac but does have several serious limitations.
It only works with Databases in Access 2007 or below format – it does not work with 2010/2013 files and above.
It’s also only suitable for small databases because although it can open large databases, it’s extremely slow. And although you can view tables, it does not support queries, forms or reports.
MDB Explorer is a clear and simple tool that opens both MDB and MDE files on Mac and supports exporting to SQLite, CSV, TXT, XML, XLS and XLSX to open in Excel.
MDB Explorer supports Access 97-2003 (.mdb) files but if you want to use 2007-2013 files, you must pay extra and upgrade from within the app itself for an extra $12.99.
However, MDB Explorer has limitations. You can only view and export tables and forms, queries cannot be displayed and you can’t modify database data using MDB Explorer.
ACCDB MDB Explorer is by the same developer as MDB Explorer but is more powerful as it allows you to access tables from multiple ACCDB, MDB, ACCDE and MDE databases without Access on your Mac.
It can convert databases to CSV, TXT, XML, XLS and XLSX and SQL for use in applications such as MySQL, Oracle and SQlite. It also reads all formats from 1997-2013.
However, note that ACCDB MDB Explorer is only designed for viewing and exporting tables – forms and queries cannot be displayed and you can’t modify data.
MDBLite is the simplest but most limited option of the lot. It only works with Access 2003 files – it does not work with 2007 or higher.
The only way to open Access 2007 files with MDBLite is to export them to 2003 format and convert that file instead. MDBLite is however very easy to use.
Just drag and drop MDB files into MDBLite and it automatically converts MDB databases to SQLite. You can then export the database as a CSV file or raw SQL statement.
Actual ODBC Driver For Access allows you to connect Microsoft Excel on Mac or Filemaker Pro for Mac to Microsoft Access databases.
If you’ve already got Microsoft Excel or Filemaker Pro on your Mac, it’s an excellent way to open Access databases on your Mac.
There are other applications that it works with – such as OpenOffice and NeoOffice – but it’s most effective when combined with Excel and Filemaker Pro.
A simple setup wizard helps you connect Access databases to Actual ODBC Driver for Access and there’s very little to configure as all you need to give it is the name, DSN type, description and location of your Access database file.
It works with Access 97 databases or higher and supports standard SQL “select” and “join” statements although note that read-only “insert” and “update” SQL statements and password protected databases are not supported.
You can even try it for free and see how well it works in accessing and retrieving data from your Access database.