What Is an MDB File?

How to open, edit, and convert MDB files

What to Know

This article describes what an MDB file is, several options you have for opening 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 MS Access 2003 and earlier, while newer versions of Access 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 MDB file. It's an Access lock file that's temporarily stored alongside a shared database.

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

MDB Files
MDB Files.

Though they have nothing to do with Microsoft Access Database files as described on this page, MDB is also an abbreviation for a multidrop bus, Memory-Mapped Database, and Modular Debugger.

How to Open an MDB File

MDB files can be opened with Microsoft Access and probably some other database programs as well. Microsoft Excel will import MDB files, but that data will then have to be saved in some other spreadsheet format.

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 both MDB and ACCDB, even 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 MDB files without Microsoft Access using the free MDB Viewer Plus program. Access doesn't even need to be installed on your computer in order to use this program.

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 may work with MDB files include Microsoft's Visual Studio, OpenOffice's Base, Wolfram's 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 MDB file from within the software's menu buttons.

How to Convert an MDB File

If you're running Microsoft 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 an MDB file in Microsoft Excel and then save that information to a spreadsheet format. Another way you can 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 Your 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 Multimedia Builder Project files. MBD files only work with the Multimedia Builder program.

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 that you're not actually dealing with a Microsoft Access 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.
Was this page helpful?