What Is an MDB File?

MDB files are either Microsoft Access or Avid Media database files

What to Know

  • An MDB file is most likely an Access database file.
  • Open one with Access, MDBopener.com, or another database program.
  • Convert to ACCDB, CSV, Excel, etc. with those same programs.

This article describes what an MDB file is, how to open one, and how to convert one to XLSX, ACCDB, and other formats.

What Is an MDB File?

A file with the MDB file extension is a Microsoft Access database file that literally stands for Microsoft Database. This is the default database file format used in Access 2003 and earlier, while newer versions use the ACCDB format.

MDB files contain database queries, tables, and more that can be used to link to and store data from other files, like XML and HTML, and applications, like Excel and SharePoint. An LDB file is sometimes seen in the same folder as an Access database file; it's an Access lock file that's temporarily stored with a shared database.

MDB files that open with Access

If your MDB file has nothing to do with Access, it might instead be a database file that stores information about the media files used in an Avid video editing project.

Although they have nothing to do with Access or Avid programs, MDB is also short for multidrop bus, memory-mapped database, and modular debugger.

How to Open an MDB File

As you'd expect, you can open an Access database with Microsoft Access, and probably some other database programs as well.

Excel will import MDB files, via Data > Get Data > From Database > From Microsoft Access Database, but that data will then have to be saved in some other spreadsheet format. You can read more about this here: How to Export Data to Excel.

Another option for viewing, but not editing, MDB files is to use MDBopener.com. You don't have to download this program to use it, since it works through your web browser. It supports this database format as well as ACCDB, and lets you export the tables to CSV or XLS.

MDBopener website

RIA-Media Viewer can also open, but not edit, MDB files and others like DBF, PDF, and XML.

You can also open and edit the file without Access using the free MDB Viewer Plus program. Access doesn't even need to be installed on your computer to use it.

For macOS, MDB Viewer (it's not free, but there is a trial) lets you view and export tables. It doesn't, however, support queries or forms, nor does it edit databases.

Some other programs that might work with MDB files include Microsoft Visual Studio, OpenOffice Base, Wolfram Mathematica, Kexi, and SAS Institute's SAS/STAT.

Avid Media Composer uses MDB files generated by that program. Since these database files are made by the program automatically, they are also utilized by the software automatically. In other words, there probably isn't a way to open the file manually from within the software's menu.

How to Convert an MDB File

If you're running Access 2007 or newer, the best way to convert an MDB file is to first open it and then save the file to another format. Microsoft has step-by-step instructions for converting a database to the ACCDB format.

Microsoft Access save as screen

Although it's limited to converting only the first 20 rows of the table, MDB Converter is able to convert MDB to CSV, TXT, and XML.

Like you read above, you can import the file into Excel and then save that information to a spreadsheet format. Another way to convert MDB to Excel formats, like XLSX and XLS, is with WhiteTown's MDB to XLS Converter.

You can try this free Access to MySQL tool if you want to convert MDB to MySQL.

Still Can't Open the File?

Similar-looking file extensions aren't always related. What this means is that you most likely can't open them with the MDB file openers or converters mentioned above.

For example, although they might sound the same, MDB files have nothing to do with MBD files, which are project files that only work with Multimedia Builder.

Similarly, MDB files have little to do with MD, MDF (media disc image), MDL (MathWorks Simulink model), or MDMP (Windows minidump) files. Those files can probably not be opened in an MDB opener, nor can an MDB file be opened in the programs that work with those file formats.

If you double-check the file extension of your file and realize you're not actually dealing with an Access or Avid database file, research the file extension you do have to learn more about the programs that might be able to open or convert that particular kind of file.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you convert an ACCDB file to an MDB file? To convert an ACCDB file to an MDB file, open the ACCDB file in MS Access, then select File > Save as > save the file as an MDB file.
  • How do you create an MDB file from Excel? To create an MDF file from an Excel spreadsheet, you will need to convert the spreadsheet to an Access database and then save the spreadsheet as an MDB file.
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