What Is an ACCDE File?

This is a database format used by Microsoft Access

What to Know

  • An ACCDE file is an Access Execute Only Database file.
  • Open one with MS Access, or for free with Access Runtime.

This article explains what an ACCDE file is, how to open one, and how to convert one to a different format.

What Is an ACCDE File?

A file with the ACCDE file extension is a Microsoft Access Execute Only Database file used to protect an ACCDB file. It replaces the MDE format (which secures an MDB file) used by older versions of Access.

The VBA code in an execute-only database is saved in a way that prevents anyone from seeing or changing it. When you save a database as an ACCDE file, you can also choose to protect custom database code as well as to encrypt the entire file with a password.

An ACCDE file also prevents anyone from writing changes to the reports, forms, and modules.


How to Open an ACCDE File

ACCDE files are opened with Microsoft Access, the free Microsoft 365 Access Runtime, and probably some other database programs as well.

Microsoft Excel will import ACCDE files, but that data will then have to be saved in some other spreadsheet format. This is done through Excel's File > Open menu—just be sure to choose the Access Databases option so that it can find the file.

How to Convert an ACCDE File

Most files (like DOCX, PDF, MP3, etc.) can be converted to another format using a free file converter, but that isn't the case for ACCDE files.

You can't convert one back to its original ACCDB format. The only hope you have for making changes to the read-only parts of the file is to have access to the ACCDB file that was used to create it.

However, you may be able to reverse engineer it to get access to the source code using a service like Everything Access.

Still Can't Open It?

If your file isn't opening like you think it should, double-check that you're reading the extension correctly. Some files use an extension that closely resembles this one, despite their formats being completely unrelated.

ACCDB, ACCDT, and ACCDR are some other Access file types and should open similarly, but ACFACV, AC3, and ACD files are completely different, requiring their own programs to be on your computer before they'll open properly.

More Information on ACCDE Files

Create an ACCDE file in Access: File > Save As > Save Database As > Make ACCDE > Save As.

Make ACCDE option in Access

This format is backward compatible only, meaning a file created in, say, Access 2013 can't be opened in Access 2010, but one built in 2010 can be opened with newer versions.

Also, remember that an ACCDE file built by a 32-bit version of Access can't be opened by a 64-bit version, and the same is true in reverse—files created out of a 64-bit version of Access must be opened with another 64-bit version of the program.

  • How are ACCDE and ACCDB files different?

    ACCDB files are the default Microsoft Access database format in Access 2007 and later. The ACCDE format is a read-only, compressed version of an Access database that hides all the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) source code. You can convert ACCDB files to ACCDE in Access 2007 and later, including databases in Access for Microsoft 365.

  • How do I share a Microsoft Access ACCDE file?

    If other users run Microsoft Access on their computers, you can use network file sharing in Windows; right-click the file and click Give access to > Specific people. If recipients don't have Access installed, you can provide the ACCDE file along with the link to download the Access Runtime application, which allows users to run the file on their machines.

Was this page helpful?