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Thread: MDE File

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Columbus, GA

    Unanswered: MDE File

    We have a database that was converted to a MDE file a few years ago. The original MDB file is no longer available.

    We now need to make some changes to the DB and I tried to import all of the data into a new database however the Forms, Reports, Macros, and Modules have all been locked and I cannot import them into a new database. I also cannot go into design view on those 4 areas.

    Is there any way around this? Is there and way to imp[ort these reports and forms into a new database?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    South Wales

    Id be interested if there was - Access Help Says....

    About MDE files
    If your database contains Microsoft Visual Basic code, saving your Microsoft Access database as an MDE compiles all modules, removes all editable source code, and compacts the destination database. Your Visual Basic code will continue to run, but it cannot be viewed or edited, and the size of your Access database will be reduced due to the removal of the code. Additionally, memory usage is optimized, which will improve performance.

    Saving your Access database as an MDE file prevents the following actions:

    Viewing, modifying, or creating forms, reports, or modules in Design view.

    Adding, deleting, or changing references to object libraries or databases.

    Changing code using the properties or methods of the Microsoft Access or VBA Object models — an MDE file contains no source code.

    Importing or exporting forms, reports, or modules. However, tables, queries, data access pages, and macros can be imported from or exported to non-MDE databases. Any tables, queries, data access pages, or macros in an MDE file can be imported into another Access database, but no forms, reports, or modules can be imported into another Access database.
    Caution Be sure to save a copy of your original Access database. If you need to modify the design of forms, reports, or modules in an Access database saved as an MDE file, you must open the original Access database, modify it, and then save it as an MDE file again. Saving an Access database containing tables as an MDE file creates complications reconciling different versions of the data if you need to modify the design of the forms, reports, or modules later. For this reason, saving a Access database as an MDE file is most appropriate for the front-end database of a front-end/back-end application.

    Caution You won't be able to open, convert, or run code in a Microsoft Access 2000 MDE file in future versions of Microsoft Access. The only way to convert a Microsoft Access 2000 MDE file to a future version will be to open the original Access database the MDE file was created from, convert it, and then save the converted Access database as an MDE file.

    Important Some restrictions may prevent you from saving your Access database as an MDE file:

    If your Access database is secured with user-level security, you must meet certain criteria. Learn about using other forms of security with an Access database that is saved as an MDE file.

    You must have password access to the Visual Basic code. Learn about protecting Visual Basic code.

    If your database is replicated, you must first remove replication system tables and properties.

    If your Access database references another Access database, or add-in, you must save all Access databases or add-ins in the chain of references as MDE files.
    Windows Server 2003-8 / Terminal Services / SQL 2000 / Access 2003 / Office 2003-7 / Exchange 2003-7 / Blackberry Enterprise Server / AutoCAD / Lambert And Butler / Red Bull

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Columbus, GA
    Ive read that on Microsoft, I was wondering if there was any way around it. I knew I couldnt get around it simple, but sometimes there are back doors that Microsoft doesnt tell you about.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Wayne, PA, USA

    Re: MDE File

    Here's how to import everything from MDE's except the modules for free:

    1. The tables and queries are natively importable from mde's into a new database. Unfortunately if you only have the front end of a database or some of the table links are no longer valid, you will get an error with those tables and not be able to import them. If this is the case there is an alternative nonfree method outlined below.

    2. You can import all the forms and reports at one time using Serge Gavrilov's free tool "MDE forms/reports extractor v1.1". It's available here:

    3. To import macros use Serge's "SaveAs/LoadFrom Text File v1.0" also free from the Website above. This allows you to export macros from mde files one at a time to text files. You can then use the same addin in your new database and import the macros. If you have a large number of macros see the alternative nonfree method below.

    4. To regenerate some VBA code from the macros choose "Convert Macros to Visual Basic" from the Macros Menu on the Tools Menu in Access. This works in at least Access 2002. You may have to edit the VBA to get it to compile.

    Apparently no one yet has been able to reverse engineer actual VBA code but it can be recreated by experienced Access Developers. Although commercial posting is prohibited here let me put in a plug for Serge Gavrilov. He has been most generous in providing the free tools above, and his rates are quite reasonable. If you need help recreating code Serge may be able to help. His E-mail address is on the Web page above. I am not affiliated with him. There are other Access Developers another one is Peter Walker, see his site here: He reports some success at reverse engineering. There are others that you can get to through his pages that might help you recreate code as well as any of the MVP's and developers in the forum here.

    Finally here is the nonfree method which will allow you import tables with bad links, and a large amount of macros.

    1. Create an MDB replica of the MDE by using the Tools menu.

    2. Make the MDB the Design Master, by choosing Recover Design Master.

    3. Run AccessRecovery against the file (the program costs $399 and is available here:

    4. Everything is importable now from the recovered MDB file but the modules are gone.

    5. Highlight each macro in the recovered database and choose “Convert Macros to Visual Basic” from the Macros menu on the

    Tools menu. The VBA for the macros is now importable.
    Paul Pruitt

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