A friend of mine just asked me if there was a way to open Microsoft Access databases without having Microsoft Access installed on the computer.
His clients did not want to buy the Microsoft Office suite and he needed a simple and free solution.
After a simple search on google I discovered the best solution for him, provided by Microsoft.
Installing Microsoft Access 2007 Runtime allows users to run their Access applications without requiring a full installation of Access 2007.
Its a small and free download you can get from the Microsoft download center.
Here is the description from Microsoft :
Office Access 2007 provides a rich platform for developing database management solutions with easy-to-use customization tools. If no end-user customization is required (including report modifications), you can choose to distribute those Access 2007 solutions so that they run without requiring a full installation of Access 2007. To do so, you must package and distribute your application with the Access 2007 Runtime.
The Access 2007 Runtime is similar to previous runtimes in that all design-related UI is either removed or disabled.
You do not need to buy any special SKU in order to redistribute the Access 2007 Runtime. You can freely redistribute it or point users to this download.
Basically you have a lightweight version of Access that does not allow to change table structures or customize reports but allows you to interact with the user interface.
Running in Runtime vs. Full Access 2007
The Access 2007 Runtime is basically Office Access 2007 with several key features disabled. A user who has the Access 2007 Runtime installed instead of the full version of Access can open and run an Access application, but cannot see the Navigation Pane or switch the view of any Access object to Design view.
The following features are not included as part of the Access 2007 Runtime without additional customization:
- Navigation Pane
- Title bar text/icon (can be specified by the database instead of by Access)
- Default Office Fluent Ribbon
- Quick Access Toolbar
- Shortcut menus
- Access Help
- Designers (including Filter by Form)
- Visual Basic Editor