How to Convert XLS to MDB

By Louise Balle

Microsoft Excel, which creates XLS files, and Access, which produces MDB files, have similar functions. They both allow you to add data in a cell format where columns intersect with rows. You can maintain a mailing list in both program. But there are benefits to working with an MDB format file over XLS. An Access MDB file allows you to analyze the data, create reports, and generate queries that can help you make important decisions based on the information. You must have both Office programs on your computer in order to convert an XLS to MDB format.

Step 1

Open Microsoft Access, and click the option to create a new blank database.

Step 2

Click "File," then "Open" on the main menu to bring up the "Open" dialog box.

Step 3

Choose "Microsoft Excel" or "Excel Workbook" from the "Files of types" drop down list. The Excel Workbook option is best if you only want to transfer a single workbook from an Excel file that you've created.

Step 4

Find the Excel file that you want to convert to MDB format from your computer, and click "Open."

Step 5

View the "Link Spreadsheet Wizard" that appears on screen. The first screen shows you a preview of the data from your Excel spreadsheet. All worksheets in the spreadsheet are listed in the box at the top. Select the one that you want to transfer over to MDB first, and click "Next."

Step 6

Define whether or not the worksheet has a column header in the first row on the next screen, then click "Next."

Step 7

Type in a name for your new Access table (multiple tables can be within one MDB file), and click "Finish."

Step 8

Repeat Steps 4 to 7 for each worksheet that you want to transfer into your new MDB file. Each worksheet will become a table in the Access file. Save the MDB document to complete the conversion.

Step 9

Use the "Import Spreadsheet Wizard" as an alternative if you want to add a primary key to the new MDB table automatically. Click "Excel" on the "External Data" tab to pull up the "Import Spreadsheet Wizard," and follow the same process as described in Steps f5 and 6. Click "Next" until you reach the screen that asks you if you want to let Access set a primary key or assign one of your own. Choose one, then click "Next," name the table, and finally the "Finish" button to create the MDB table.

Tips & Warnings

  • These instructions are specific to Microsoft Office 2007, but are very similar in other versions of Excel and Access.