How to open Access databases without Microsoft Access?

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


This entry was posted in Access, General.

9 Responses to How to open Access databases without Microsoft Access?

  1. Mike McCormick says:

    Using Access 2007 with Runtime.

    I have yet to find VB code that works to place my application icon in the Access 2007 runtime mode. The icon needs to be at the top of the application, folders and bottom tool bar.

    Also, is there a way to hide the Microsoft Access advertising in the bottom right hand corner?

    I’m using this code in my frmsplash onload:
    This hides the tool bar or menu bar when needed…
    Private Sub Form_Load()
    DoCmd.ShowToolbar “Ribbon”, acToolbarNo
    End Sub
    This works great but I need the icon to work.

    I tried this one below with no success:
    Function AddAppProperty(strName As String, varTyp As Variant, varWert
    As Variant) As Integer
    Dim dbs As Database, prp As Property
    Const conPropNotFoundError = 3270

    Set dbs = CurrentDb
    On Error GoTo AddAppProperty_Err

    dbs.Properties(strName) = varWert
    AddAppProperty = True

    Exit Function

    If Err = conPropNotFoundError Then
    Set prp = dbs.CreateProperty(strName, varTyp, varWert)
    dbs.Properties.Append prp
    AddAppProperty = False
    Resume AddAppProperty_End
    End If
    End Function

    Public Function DBStart()

    AddAppProperty “AppTitle”, dbText, “Your Prg-Name” & ” – © 2011 -” &
    AddAppProperty “AppIcon”, dbText, CurrentProject.Path & “\YourApp.ico”

    End Function

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions

  2. Siamak says:

    It was really helpful for me.

  3. Steve says:

    It’s 2015 and I just found this when looking for a way to view access files on a new laptop. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Gabe says:

    It’s 2016 and you still helped me! Greatly appreciated this article for an antiquated database program.

    Best Regards!

  5. Willy De Kocker says:

    Can an access runtime version run without an any office installation in a windows w7/8/10

  6. Bob says:

    I tried it on a DB file I have, the program opens, show a security warning, I click OK, and then the program opens without showing anything.


  7. anup rawat says:

    Hy i want to use the access db viewer

  8. charlie says:

    It ‘s 2018 and this still helps. Great to know of this free lightweight runtime which is exactly I want for distributing an Access application.