Import and Export Options

Learning Outcomes

  • Differentiate among import and export options
  • Import external data
  • Export data

Access provides several options that support exchanging data with external sources.

  • Linking. Using this option entails creating a permanent connection to the external source. The data stays in the source location. The location cannot be moved without modifying the link or else Access will not be able to find it.
  • Importing. This method physically moves data from the outside source into the current Access database. The data is then converted to an Access data type, stored in an Access table, and remains in Access from that point on.
  • Exporting. Exporting copies data from an Access table into either a text file or some other format that is readable by the destination application.

PRactice Question

Importing External Data

Remember that importing external data makes a copy of the data within Access and does not affect the data in the external source. After the import, no connection remains between the current database and the external source.

One of the keys to a viable business system is the ease in which it can work with other applications and data sources. In this regard, Access is unmatched.

Access provides two groups of data sources as seen in the example below: “Import & Link” and “Export.” Within “Import & Link” we have “New Data Source,” “Saved Imports,” and “Linked Table Manager.”

Microsoft access toolbar with "External Data" selected and the following buttons available: New Data Source, Saved Imports, Linked Table Manager, Saved Exports, Excel, Text File, XML File, PDF or XPS, and Email.

Selecting “New Data Source” opens a drop-down which exposes 4 options: “From File,” “From Database,” “From Online Services,” and “From Other Sources,” as seen below.

Microsoft access External Data toolbar with "New Data Source" selected and a dialogue box open with the following options: From File, From Database, From Online Services, and From Other Sources.

Choosing “From File” reveals “Excel,” “HTML Document,” “XML File,” and “Text File” as data formats. “From Database” reveals 4 database formats “Access,” “From SQL Server,” “From Azure Database,” “dBase File.” “From Online Services” represents “SharePoint List” and “Data Services” and “From Other Sources” yields “ODBC Database” and “Outlook Folder.”

Microsoft access External Data toolbar with "New Data Source" selected and "From File" selected from the resulting dialogue box. Another dialogue box from "From File" shows the following options: Excel, HTML Document, XML File, and Text File.

It is obvious that Access has rich capabilities by virtue of its many options in which to process external data.

Practice Question

Exporting Data

Exporting data from Access is a fairly straightforward operation. The “External Data” export group is shown below. As an example, to export the contents of the Supplier table in the current database as a .PDF file, select “PDF or XPS.”

Microsoft access toolbar with "External Data" selected and zoomed in on the following buttons: Saved Exports, Excel, Text File, XML File, PDF or XPS, and Email.

Access then asks for a destination for the .PDF file.

The user selected "PDF or XPS" and is prompted by a window that lets the user select the destination for the PDF that is about to be generated.

Since most devices have an application that displays .PDF files, the exported data is populated in .PDF format as the example below.

Data exported as PDF shows the table of records for the Supplier list. The data is presented as a table.

Practice Question