Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access is a database system

See Also

a form for Access Database
migrating ms access to other databases using XML

Tcl Programs for Access

SQL Relay

Other Programs for Access

MDB Tools
a package of libraries and utilities that allow Unix-like systems to natively read Microsoft Access database (MDB) files. Dissects access files. I believe that it offers an API which can be pretty easily wrapped and though it is not completely stable (according to traffic on their mailing list) seems to do a pretty good job. They also offer a rudimentary ODBC driver."


Jet is Access's persistence back-end, and the aspect of Access most likely to interest Tcl developers immediately. Windows has bundled Jet for several years now--write a Jet-dependent application, and it should work fine on any Windows host since Windows 95 (?).

In 2002, Jet was renamed to MSDE. [1 ] might explain more. It's also called "MDB" and "MSDB".

RS: A simple way to interact with Access is via CSV files (see also the links there) - plain text files with comma-separated values (in German locale, Access does not allow to use commas though, because it is considered decimal separator, so use semicolons instead; Excel accepts commas though...

database configure

Scott Gamon: I'm pasting in this c.l.t. post by Kevin Kenny

quoting Kevin Kenny:

You can use database configure to create an Access database - in fact, you don't even need Access on the system. (You do need Jet, but I don't think I've ever seen a Windows box without it.)

Try the following code. It creates an empty MDB file at the location the user gives and then opens it.

package require Tk
package require tclodbc

# Prompt the user for a database to create
# (For opening an existing database, use tk_getOpenFile instead of
# tk_getSaveFile)

set types {
    {{Access Databases} {*.mdb} }
set fileName [tk_getSaveFile \
   -defaultextension .mdb \
   -filetypes $types \
   -initialdir ~ \
   -title "Create Database"]

# Quit if the user cancels.

if { ! [string compare {} $fileName] } {

# Create the database.  (Omit this if opening an existing database)

set driver {Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)}
database configure config_dsn $driver \
    [list CREATE_DB=\"[file nativename $fileName]\" "General"]

# Connect to the database.

set connectString DRIVER=$driver
append connectString \; DBQ=[file nativename $fileName]
append connectString \; {FIL=MS Access}
append connectString \; EXCLUSIVE=Yes
puts $connectString
database db $connectString

Dump a .mdb Database

RS 2008-06-18: Here's a cute little tool to dump a table of a .mdb database in to stdout in semicolon-separated format:

#!/usr/bin/env tclsh

set usage {
   usage: mdb2csv.tcl mdbfile table > csvfile
   Dump a MS Access database table to stdout in CSV format.
   MS Access must be running for this to succeed.
if {[llength $argv] < 2} {puts stderr $usage; exit 1}

proc main argv {
   package require dde
   foreach {mdbfile table} $argv break
   set request "$mdbfile;TABLE $table"
   set it [dde request MSAccess $request All]
   foreach line [split $it \n] {
       puts [string map {\t ;} $line]

main $argv


etdxc: Just a quick note. When using tclodbc to work with Access memo fields, if you insert a record which contain a memo field that contains a large amount of data, you may get a problem rereading it. TclOdbc returns all the data associated with the memo, spurious or otherwise. In a rush (as always) I found the easiest solution is to store the memo as a two element list (or as two separate fields), index 0 contains an integer 'size' of the memo and index 1 the memo itself. Use lrange to extract the actual stored text.

Of course there may be a (lot) better method. If so, please let me know.