What Is an MDA File?

Some Microsoft Access add-ins are MDA files, but the same file extension is used by a handful of other unrelated formats

What to Know

  • Most MDA files are add-in files used by Access.
  • To open one in Access, go to File > Options > Add-ins > Access Add-ins > Go > Add New.
  • Several other formats use this same file extension.

This article describes the several formats that use the MDA file extension, including how to open each kind and what your options are for file conversions.

What Is an MDA File?

A file with the MDA file extension is a Microsoft Access add-in file used for adding queries and other functionality to the Access program. Some early versions of the software used MDA files as workspace files. ACCDA replaces the MDA format in the newest versions of Access.

MDA files
Microsoft Access MDA files.

Some files that use this extension are instead associated with Yamaha's Clavinova piano or Creative Technology's MicroDesign software as an area format file. Still, others may be unrelated and saved as Meridian Data Slingshot files, Rays Media Data files, used with software tools called EPICS, or related to the PIPES music creator.

How to Open an MDA File

The vast majority of MDA files you'll encounter will be Access add-in files, meaning they can be opened with Microsoft Access. To do this, first go to File > Options > Add-ins. Then, next to Manage, select Access Add-ins > Go. Select Add New to browse for and open the MDA file.

Access uses other formats that are similar in name to MDA, like MDB, MDE, MDT, and MDW. All of those formats will open in Access as well, but if your specific file doesn't, be sure you're not misreading the extension. It might just look like an MDA file but really be an MDC, MDS, or MDX file.

If your file is definitely using the MDA file extension, but it doesn't open with Microsoft's program, it might be a type of audio file that pertains to Yamaha's Clavinova piano. YAM player should be able to open it.

For MicroDesign Area files, all we have is a link to the Creative Technology website, but we don't know where (or if) you can download the MicroDesign software. It seems that this format might be a type of image, which means it's possible you could rename it to JPG or PNG and open it with any image viewer.

We also don't have much useful information on Meridian Data Slingshot files, except that they were originally used by Meridian Data's Slingshot software. The company has changed hands a lot over the years and was at one time acquired by a company called Microchip Technology.

We have no information on Rays Media Data files.

EPICS stands for Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System, and its related software uses MDA files, too.

See MDA Files — PIPES to learn more about that audio format.

Given that there are a few different possible formats that use the .MDA file extension, you might have luck opening the file with a text editor or the HxD program. These applications open any file as if it were a text document, so if opening the file shows some sort of identifiable information (like some header text at the top of the file), it may point you in the direction of the program that was used to create it.

In a reverse problem of sorts, you may have more than one program installed that opens MDA files. If that's true, and the one that opens them by default (when you double-click on one) isn't the one you want to open them, that's easy to change. Here's how to change file associations in Windows.

How to Convert an MDA File

Although there are plenty of unique uses for MDA files, we don't know of any file converter tools that can change one to a different, similar format.

Your best bet is to open the file in the appropriate program and see what options it gives you. Software that support file conversions generally allow it through some sort of File > Save as or Export menu option.

Was this page helpful?