Using MS Access files with my Mac. How?
July 3, 2006 8:44 AM   Subscribe

OSX Databases: I have just migrated to Mac OSX from MS windows but have left behind several MS Access databases of varying complexity.

I'd like to bring these databases with me to my new system. What are my options? Is there a OSX database program out there that can read MS Access files? Can I save MS Access files as something which CAN be read by an OSX program?
posted by jonesor to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You might want to consider MySQL. It's GPL'ed (i.e. free) and even has some features Access doesn't have. Here's a page about migrating Access DBs to MySQL.
posted by Herr Fahrstuhl at 8:57 AM on July 3, 2006

First: No, there is no Access reader for OSX that I know of. The closest database program analouge is FileMaker Pro.

Second: What do you use the Access databases for? Do you use it for it's forms utility, for the query generator, or simply to store data in several excel-like spreadsheets?
posted by SpecialK at 9:02 AM on July 3, 2006

Best answer: I second that motion to export to SQL and import into MySQL in OS X.

If you want a MySQL GUI, they are available in Versiontracker - or of course you could install PHPMyAdmin on your machine locally - also available on Versiontracker.

Filemaker's latest version (8) is pretty great for some db development, especially for local use. But going that route would depend on what you really are using the db for.
posted by iTristan at 9:33 AM on July 3, 2006

Response by poster: SpecialK: the access databases I'm mainly concerned with store tables of data along with the relationships between them and some queries. They have minimal front ends and no forms to worry about.

So ideally I'd like to be able to migrate the data to another system whilst preserving the relationships between data tables. I'm not bothered about forms but a query generator would be useful.

I'd only need to do this in one direction (i.e. translate from MS Access to an OSX compatible system,but not vice versa).

Herr Fahrstuhl: Thanks for that - this might be just what I'm looking for (although it does seem a tad complicated)
posted by jonesor at 9:41 AM on July 3, 2006

Response by poster: iTristan: Thanks too. I'll check out the GUI you mention - less daunting than command line.
posted by jonesor at 9:44 AM on July 3, 2006

Best answer: Jones: MySQL might not be the best tool if you want enforced relationships. PostgresSQL or FileMakerPro might be better. MySQL depends on you to keep track of your primary/foreign keys and referential integrity.

To use the database more effectively, no matter which one you choose, you can find many graphical tools that will replicate the query builder. I personally use Aqua Data Studio, but you can also use Cocoa MySQL and others.

Yes, it's more complex, but *real* SQL databases (MySQL, PostgeresSQL, etc. are so much more powerful ... once you learn how to use them. They're faster to return data, they can do more complex joins across more tables, and you can link them to other programming languages and tools to share, pull in, and coordinate data. When you're using them, don't just think about your desktop and your analysis needs, think about where you get your information from and if you can speed the input side of it by asking a programmer to squirt some stuff in to your db.
posted by SpecialK at 11:02 AM on July 3, 2006

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