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The first step is to decide if you really want to move from Access to MySQL. This is due to the amount of effort and complexity involved in migrating from Access to MySQL. There are a wide range of benefits in MySQL when you compare it to Microsoft Access in aspects such as usability, scalability, support across multiple platforms, higher level of security and the performance as well. If the complexity of the database system grows over time, it is best recommended that you move your data from Microsoft Access to MySQL.

In situations where there is a single user and the data is relatively less, it is not recommended that you move from Microsoft Access to MySQL, as there will not be much underlying benefits.

The following steps are to be undertaken if you wish to migrate from Microsoft Access to MySQL:

  1. The tables and constraint definitions in MS Access should be exported and then converted to MySQL format, following which it can be loaded to the target MySQL server.
  2. The MS Access data should be moved to an intermediate storage, converted as required and then loaded to the intended database.
  3. All the MS Access queries should be changed to SQL statements, converted into the required MySQL format and then loaded to the required database.

However, this need not be done manually and can be automated using the Access to different formats such as ODBC. You can export the tables to MySQL using ODBC driver or Connector that is available in MySQL.

You just have to click on File?Export on the table. When the dialog box is seen with the heading ‘Export Object Type’, select the option as ‘ODBC Database’. It will prompt you a few more times and finally, the data will be exported to MySQL. However, the queries and constraints are not converted. Note that some effort might be required in post-processing and it might take some time before it is automated.

Alternatively, you can make use of dedicated software to convert databases from Microsoft Access to MySQL. One of the most popular tool available is the Access to MySQL migration tool, which is developed by Intelligent Converters, a company that has been in the field of data migration, conversion and synchronization across multiple databases such as FoxPro, SQLite, IBM DB2, Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL and MS Access since the year 2001.

It is a wizard based tool that can be used easily and offers a wide range of capabilities so that complex and huge MS Access databases can be migrated with an average speed of 2,000 records a second. Also, the converted results are highly accurate and all types of attributes are handled effectively by the software during data transformation. The relationship between tables, constraints etc. are handled perfectly to cater to the views of MySQL.

Access-to-MySQL can also export the database to MySQL script if there is no direct connection to the MySQL server. Synchronization of an existing Microsoft Access data with an existing MySQL database is possible. If you have to run any scripts, there is a provision for command line as well, making things simpler!

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