5 Easy to Use & Free Alternatives to Microsoft Access
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Microsoft Access is a database tool Excel Vs. Access - Can a Spreadsheet Replace a Database? Excel Vs. Access - Can a Spreadsheet Replace a Database? Which tool should you use to manage data? Access and Excel both feature data filtering, collation and querying. We'll show you which one is best suited for your needs. Read More , popularised through its inclusion in most Microsoft Office updates since 1992. Being the industry standard, it’s also a complex tool with a steep learning curve. If you’re searching for more intuitive and free alternatives 14 Free & Open Source Alternatives For Paid Software 14 Free & Open Source Alternatives For Paid Software Don't waste money on software for personal use! Not only do free alternatives exist, they most likely offer all the features you need and may be easier and safer to use. Read More  with comparable features that are worth your time, look no further.

Why Use an Microsoft Access Alternative?

Is Microsoft Access your go-to database tool A Quick Guide To Get Started With Microsoft Access 2007 A Quick Guide To Get Started With Microsoft Access 2007 Read More ? Despite the platforms continual inclusion in the top 10 database-engines ranking, Microsoft Access often splits opinions. Pro-Access users point to its ease of use, the massive range of online resources available for users across the spectrum, and its powerful querying, filtering and table tools A Quick Tutorial On Queries In Microsoft Access 2007 A Quick Tutorial On Queries In Microsoft Access 2007 Read More . Anti-Access users contest that its lack of scalability, its frustrating 2GB limit and generally cold, lifeless interface restrict its potential, forcing users to seek alternatives.

So, here we offer you some free, easy-to-use alternatives to Microsoft Access 9 of the Best Free and Low-Cost Alternatives to Microsoft Office 9 of the Best Free and Low-Cost Alternatives to Microsoft Office Microsoft Office has dominated the market of text documents, spreadsheets and slide shows for years, and for good reason – it’s one of the very best. However, there’s one drawback and that is the price.... Read More :

1. OpenOffice Base / LibreOffice Base

OpenOffice / LibreOffice (our LibreOffice review LibreOffice - A Free Office Suite For Windows, Linux & Mac LibreOffice - A Free Office Suite For Windows, Linux & Mac Read More ) offer a very similar database tool in Base, hence the inclusion of both under the same header (they do come from the same source-code, after all!). Base is a great all-rounder suited to both home and business needs, providing cross-database support and linking for other common database engines such as MySQL, PostgreSQL and of course, Microsoft Access.

Libre Office Base New DB

This pair of images illustrates the LibreOffice Base interface.

Libre Office Base New DB

As a potential user, you can flick through a number of tutorials and templates before downloading. Base, like Microsoft Access, divides opinion. Perhaps the best, most concise explanation for this split is this:

“Base is a quality solution for small applications and database development. Microsoft Access is more of a Swiss Army Knife than Base.

And of course, price…with OpenOffice still being free of charge”

User JamesJo, OpenOffice Forums

Open Office Base New DB

This pair of images details the OpenOffice Base interface – you could very well be looking at the OpenLibre screenshots situated above.

Open Office Base New DB

As mentioned, you can see from the screenshots just how similar each platform is. However, they are both worthy competitors modelled on their direct rivals that, with the right experience, you can jump right into and for a powerful, personal database solution that is free, are definitely worth considering.

2. Axisbase

Axisbase was brought to life by a frustrated developer, angered at the expense of forcing his clientèle to pay for Microsoft Access, though development seems to have stopped in January 2011. Axisbase is slightly different from the other entries in this list in that it offers an entire database solution, with a familiar front end interface that feels similar to Filemaker, Access or Base, but can also act as a database server like MySQL.

Axisbase New DB

The interface is simplistic, keeping visual bombardment to a minimum, providing the software with an unsophisticated, accessible aesthetic. Axisbase offers some tutorials and functionality content, though there is no landing page specifically detailing tutorials. These are accessed in the left-hand column situated on the homepage, as seen below.

Axisbase Tutorials Column

Overall, Axisbase represents a solid Microsoft Access alternative, capable of using powerful expression syntax’s for advanced users.

3. Glom

For its interesting name and potential, two issues from the outset made me lose interest in Glom: you cannot run a database instance as a Windows Administrator, and it cannot edit databases it didn’t create. Whilst the former is to ensure beginners do not destroy their system when running PostgreSQL, having to make a separate user account on a Windows terminal is somewhat frustrating and lack of documentation only added to my frustrations.

Glom Database Error

However, judging from others experiences across the online sphere, there are some positives to take from the open source software. Being built on a PostgreSQL backend should provide a powerful relational database, whilst from other screenshots the interface appears simplistic and easy to approach.

Glom website clip

4. FileMaker Pro (30 Day Free Trial)

We’ve included FileMaker Pro’s 30 Day Free Trial as a potential database solution for small businesses and home users. Similarly to other ‘established’ database platforms on this list, FileMaker Pro comes with a robust documentation package and a huge range of tutorials to boot – exactly what you would expect from an Apple subsidiary.

Filemaker Pro Trial Tutorials

FileMaker Pro offers novice users the chance to drag and drop their existing database file onto the FileMaker icon, instantaneously opening and importing any available data. This, along with the familiar Apple-esq aesthetic lend FileMaker an appeal and overall ease of use. However, after your 30 day free trial ends, prepare yourself for some equally Apple-esq costs to license your software: $329 / £289 for a single license.

FileMaker Pro Converted

5. Brilliant Database (30 Day Free Trial)

This is another free to try database, but it could be worth the $80 to license the professional edition. The unassuming user interface belies its backend, with the import features and wizards particularly useful, though at times frustrating if you need to rewrite import parse files.

Brilliant Database Trial Ed

A range of tutorials, wizards and practice databases are appealing for beginner users adding to the open, easy feeling of the software and for small businesses or home database users Brilliant Database is potentially worth a look – if you can stomach the $80 cost.

Brilliant Database Import Options

Other Alternatives

Of course we haven’t covered all open source or free to use database platforms in this article. MySQL Learn SQL Or Create A Simple Database With SQLite Database Browser Learn SQL Or Create A Simple Database With SQLite Database Browser Have you ever found yourself in need of a database, but you can't really afford Microsoft Access, and you certainly can't afford to install and operate an Oracle server at home. Whether your goal is... Read More , PostgreSQL, MSSQL, SQLite, MongoDB, RethinkDB, Cassandra and the many, many others represent resilient, powerful database tools suited to a wide range of data tasks. However, for relative ease of use for new database users wishing to experiment with accessible, familiar user interfaces and content management systems, our selections represent a great range of the existing market that most users should be able to instantaneously access.

What are you favorite Microsoft Access alternatives? What do you look for when selecting a database for home or work usage? Let us know below!

Image Credits: file in database Via Shutterstock

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  1. dee
    November 12, 2018 at 11:31 am

    Hi Gavin! I am a volunteer with a small film festival (60+ films) who is the point person for all talent, meaning directors, producers, actors, etc involved with the films. I need a clever and easy way to track who's attending, who's sending their "people", who those people are and their titles, what day they arrive in town (for airport trans), if they need accommodation and for how many people, what their film is and what category it's in, what workshops they're hosting/attending etc. Unlike other "attendee registration" boring forms sent out, I basically would like to take the info they send me in a personal email and transfer it to their "file" that I've created if that's possible. A database is the first way I came up with to do this but I'd rather avoid spending days learning software. Also I have no budget. Ideally I'd create a system that was easy to access all info to my and my team of festival organizers. Over our first couple of years, a google doc spreadsheet was created by someone which I then had access to however I found it daunting to access the info I needed and it was difficult to keep up to date. Any thoughts??!! Thanks! :D

  2. James R. McCarthy
    May 12, 2018 at 12:19 am

    My company is a full-service management consulting business. We have a database containing descriptions of our various programs, workshops and consulting services. I need a database package that can help my customers look through our database as they come onto our website - to help them determine what of our "offerings" may suit their needs. Is there any package "out there" that can do this?

    • Goli Kaviani
      May 29, 2018 at 5:34 pm

      You can use HyperOffice online database to do this.

  3. john blues
    December 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

    A free trial is not free!

  4. Jim Butterworth
    May 16, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    Have tried some Windows databases but simply can't get into them. Maybe being brought up on the DOS version of Q&A has spoilt me as this is so easy to use, program and produce reports. Plus it has the unique integrated Write which makes writing personalised letters and circulars so easy. I have even tried Lantica but it would have been so much work to reprogram everything I gave up.
    I appreciate I am now well out of the mainstream but my Q&A DOS works and above all, is not one of those likely to be affected by the current ransomware :-)

  5. Areeb Aurangzeb
    November 1, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Nice, very helpfiul

  6. Areeb Aurangzeb
    November 1, 2016 at 2:20 pm


  7. Cristian S.
    September 10, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    Allow me to recommend Data Xtractor (data-xtractor.com), with an universal SELECT query builder and generator. You never write SQL, you design simple to complex queries and they are generated for your current database, or simulated for Oracle, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Access, SQLite, Firebird, MariaDB, Redshift, Ingres, Sybase, SQL Anywhere etc.

    With powerful emulation support, you may design crosstab/pivot queries or grouping sets/rollup in ANY database, even in those with no native support.

  8. nfrhnjuf4
    April 8, 2016 at 4:22 pm


  9. asdf
    March 7, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    SQL Express?

  10. name
    February 19, 2016 at 5:26 pm


  11. Anonymous
    July 29, 2015 at 6:18 am

    There is another option in the "free to try" category that has been around for a few years. Database Oasis (www.DatabaseOasis.com) strikes a good balance between simplified user interface and feature set. It's geared towards non-technical users and handles the technical parts of creating a database automatically with no database knowledge required by the end user. There is a simple form designer that can be used to layout data screens exactly as users envision them, then all of the technical parts of creating tables, handling relations and other usually high learning curve tasks are handled automatically. It's not necessary to even know what a data table is, let alone how things like field types and other normally difficult tasks are handled. It's all automatic. With multi user capabilities, sorting, filtering, a reporting engine and other features intuitively handled, the learning curve for getting up to speed for novice users is surprisingly low. There are quite a few pre-installed and set up data templates, so it's possible to get started without even designing a single form - or any of the templates can be easily modified. It's equally easy to create your own from scratch.

  12. Anonymous
    June 24, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    I am using access db rite now in my windows app.But i want to change it to sqlite db.Can you please help me in regard to it?

    Thanks & Regards,

    • Anonymous
      July 17, 2015 at 10:55 pm

      My Visual Database

  13. Dan Vincent
    May 15, 2015 at 1:01 am

    OK - I'm old. But I've been using - and loving - the same database program for the past (over) 20 years: AppleWorks. Prior to that is was named ClairsWorks. I have tried to switch to Access, OpenOffice, and other styles, but I keep coming back to AWs. It's easy, full-featured, easy to learn, and cheap. I think you can still purchase the software on eBay. If you need to share, you can convert to Access.

    • Andesine
      May 15, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      Doesn't work with Win 7, 8, and 10.

      • Brainwave
        March 10, 2017 at 4:58 pm

        For an easy to use database for simple home use I have been using MS Works v4.5. I have had this program since the beginning of time. It does work fine in Windows 10. (it was installed with Win7 then upgraded to Win10.) Businesses probably need Access or other professional database, but MS Works has stood the test of time for ease of use and simplicity. It is no longer supported but you can find it online, try eBay.

        • Gavin Phillips
          March 15, 2017 at 3:41 pm

          That is actually quite a good shout if you only need basic tools. A new license will still set you back $90, so finding an older license might be best - as suggested.

          There are some reasonable online/cloud database options for basic stuff, too. You could try Zoho Database, for instance.

  14. Postit47
    May 1, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    I have used MS Access for many years and have designed a relational database on pop music and since I wanted to go all Apple I now have an iMac but, MS Access won't run on my Mac you have to partition and run Windows. I have Filemaker Pro 13 and been to the seminars and experience days but can't do what MS Access can do, albeit a relational database, simple things like tick boxes or navigation within various forms. So for me until I see what is included in MA Office 2016, the beta is out now, i will have to use bootcamp and run my database under Windows.
    I cannot find anywhere on the internet to explain to me why Microsoft can release a Apple version as if you do search on Access for iMack there are lots of people asking the same questions, 'Where is MS Access for iMack'


  15. John
    April 20, 2015 at 12:35 am

    I dont like microsoft access - it totally and absolutely sucks - I have taken excel 1 and need to need to plar an exam in access 1 tomorrow. I hope I pass it although online practice quizzes are harder for it than for excel (the first part of it). Excel can do almost anything and has so much more straightforward to operate. Some microsoft salesperson is for the advertising and selling of access. I would

    • David Schofield
      May 1, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      John wrote "Excel can do almost anything and has so much more straightforward to operate..."
      Yes, except that Excel is essentially a calculator on steroids, and access is a database. Both are the right tool for their intended jobs.
      It's true that you can create a database in Excel; and I can use the heel of my dress shoe for a hammer in an emergency, but I'd hate to build a house with it!
      I actually support a client (http://www.stinkbugspecialist.com, if you're in Western PA) whose CRM is an Excel application. But his customer "database table" is stored as a Worksheet, and if he goes in and sorts the worksheet by customer name, for example (which he should never do, but he does) then his application breaks.
      David Schofield, Systems Consultant and Founder, Hotspot Office LLC
      412 dot 726 dot 1147
      david dot schofield at hotspotoffice dot net

  16. Eric Christian Hansen
    March 6, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    My alternative to MS-Access is instead using Microsoft Jet Engine 4.x. This is an awesome database that is free/no cost. It came factory installed on my Windows 7 Home Premium Laptop. All I had to do to set it up was create a blank *.MDB file in ODBC Administrator, then create the tables and indexes/constraints using simple SQL statements via ODBC, which I run from Win32 PERL, also free. Another programming language could also be used, I perfer PERL.
    The Jet Engine 4.x Database gives you 2 Gigabytes of Compressed/Encrypted data storage. That's not all !! Because you are connecting via ODBC, you have the flexibility of connecting to as many 2 GIG *.MDB files as you like. My single database is 100s of Gigabytes, not limited to 2 Gig. The end-user is oblivious to this. They think they are accessing MS-SQL Server or other database server style database.

    I have actually successfully opened 510 ODBC connections simultaneously/concurrently (via Windows O/S detached background processes kicked off from PERL) to the same *.MDB file (acting as a table or partial table, and not as a database in and of itself), and performed SQL query reporting and table Updates without generating neither ODBC or JET ENGINE errors, and none it consistently over and over again. Yes, I did have to tweek the FILE DSN to have the parameters it offers properly configured, such as raising the THREADS to 510.

    I plan on using this database technology for National databases (such as U.S. Census).
    Let it be known that one(1) JET ENGINE 4.x *.MDB file, compressed/encrypted intrinsically, can store over 10 million rows/records evevn with MEMO fields.

    One(1) Billion record/row databases are possible with Microsoft Jet Engine 4. x.

    • kiranc
      June 1, 2015 at 4:52 am

      For the record, Microsoft Access uses the Jet database engine as its back-end. You can use both interchangeably, but they serve different purposes. Jet Engine would be used as a database server, for example when an application on other computers or the net needs to store data in an external database, while Access would be used more for personal databases on a single computer, or for managing the database that is otherwise used by and accessed through the Jet engine.

  17. Annette
    February 18, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    If you don't mind paying for a good alternative to Access, try Alpha5. I used it for years at work. It's very intuitive, has more features than Access and costs a lot less. I could do anything with that program. I made rosters, a supply program, with invoicing, and also did my bookkeeping on it.

    • Gavin
      February 19, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      Haven't come across that one, Annette, will give it a look. Thank you for reading!

    • Matthew Kaney
      May 18, 2015 at 7:40 am

      A little bit of a late comment but Alpha 5 is worth looking at. I haven't used it in years but it was great for developing line-of-business apps long before Access was even truly useful. It was truly amazing. In fact a $3 billion dollar company I wrote a small CRM for demanded I use it. Apparently it has come a long way including providing web form development.

    • Andesine
      May 15, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      $60 a month for the basic version. Works out a heck of a lot more expensive than buying access. The free version is heavily limited and no use for any decent sized database.

  18. Anita Petersen
    January 9, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Thank you for the review. Very helpful indeed.

    Is it possible to import data from excel to Open Office, or any other of the free alternatives? I read the tutorial but I can´t seem to figure out if import of data is a possibility.

    • Gavin
      February 19, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      You can import data from MS Excel to Apache OpenOffice, or LibreOffice using the correct format.

      We were looking at Access alternatives, focusing on the database aspects of these programs. You can export Access to LibreOffice, too, amongst others. Does that help?

  19. Pete
    December 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    I think any database solution decision is based on a number of interrelated needs and requirements, such as complexity of output, individual preferences, user (population), ease of use, availability of IT support, Internet vs server vs individual client, and, of course, ultimately, cost. Two "solutions" not mentioned for some may be of interest. On the personal database level, consider GS-BASE from Citadel5; an inexpensive and highly flexible and capable product. For use via server or individual client, consider FileAmigo by Sierra Software, a cost effective relational product in mdb format that is easy to use with excellent report capability.

  20. Pete
    December 16, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    I think any database solution decision is based on a number of interrelated needs and requirements, such as complexity of output, individual preferences, user (population), ease of use, availability of IT support, Internet vs server vs individual client, and, of course, ultimately, cost. Two "solutions" not mentioned for some may be of interest. On the personal database level, consider GS-BASE from Citadel5; an inexpensive and highly flexible and capable product. For use via server or individual client, consider FileAmigo by Sierra Software, a cost effective relational product in mdb format that is easy to use with excellent report capability.

  21. Wayne
    December 1, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Trial versions should not count toward your five. True title, three free alternatives.

  22. Dmitriy
    November 28, 2014 at 1:25 am

    Please, add in review My Visual Database

  23. Richard Hassler
    November 27, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    A great db app is Informix SQL.

  24. jjc_Mtl
    November 27, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    all these alternatives lack vba

  25. Avijit
    November 27, 2014 at 2:54 am

    What's about Kexi? It comes with Calligra Suite :)

  26. Russell Wilson
    November 27, 2014 at 2:16 am

    In effect, and as much as I hate to say it, this really is a non-contest -- Access wins. I have NEVER been impressed by "OpenLibre" Base -- for a long time they even used to, justifiably, apologise for it. It is still the poor relation in the family, much less supported than the other modules. It might be OK for geeks, but everyone else should just leave it alone. User support is almost totally non-existent -- I submitted a basic request for assistance, and got a reply 2 MONTHS later -- it was obvious the "reader" had never actually read my request. For those with basic needs, you have unfortunately "forgotten" to mention Alex Nolan's MDB Viewer, which while designed to "edit" MS databases, is almost a basic development tool in its own right. Thre's also HanDBase, the Windows-desktop MS Access-compatible, limited but cheap, companion to an app for a variety of mobile OSes -- something none of the others seem to have.

  27. Dmitriy
    November 26, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Please add, My Visual Database

    • Gavin
      February 19, 2015 at 10:13 pm

      MVD is too much money when you could have Access, IMO. If it's still retailing for $99 per license.

  28. Glenn
    November 26, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    The major feature Access contains that is difficult to easily replicate in other databases is its powerful reporting capabilities. No other database I have ever worked with on pc's has such features.

    I have created Access applications for users that report on data from MySQL, SQL Server, and other databases and applications, where the reporting capabilities are not nearly as sophisticated or easy to develop.

    In addition, without paying a fortune, producing similar reports on the web is virtually impossible.

  29. Doc
    November 26, 2014 at 12:49 am

    No love for FoxPro? While Microsoft has ended development with Visual FoxPro 9, it's still a wonderful xBase database and development system, and there's lots of development still going on.