Importing ASCII Data

Mainframes and minicomputers often export data in the ASCII file format. When you import ASCII data, you often need to make some changes for Access to handle the data properly.

To import ASCII data into Access, follow these steps:

  1. Open the database into which you want to import a table.

  2. Right-click anywhere in the Database window and select Import from the context menu. The Import dialog box appears.

  3. Select the folder where the ASCII file you want to import is located.

  4. Select Text Files from the Files of Type drop-down list box.

  5. Double-click the file you want to import. This launches the Import Text Wizard.

  6. Select Delimited or Fixed Width, to designate the format of the file you want to import. Click Next.

  7. Select or deselect First Row Contains Field Names, as appropriate, and then click Next.

  8. Select In a New Table or In an Existing Table, as appropriate, and then click Next.

  9. Type the field name in the Field Name text box.

  10. Select whether you want Access to create an index for the field.

  11. Repeat steps 10 and 11, as appropriate, and then click Next.

  12. If your data has a column that is appropriate for the primary key, select Choose My Own Primary Key. Otherwise, select Let Access Add Primary Key.

  13. If you opted to choose your own primary key, select from the drop-down box the field that you want Access to use as the primary key, and then click Next.

  14. Type the table name in the Import to Table text box.

  15. Click Finish and then click OK.


There are some important thing that you should be aware of when working with ASCII data. These notes can save you lots of time and effort in working with the imported data:

  • After you import a table, you should open it and view its data. You might want to modify some of the field types to make them the appropriate Access data types. For example, the table you imported from might not have had a currency type.

  • You can click the Advanced button anytime in the Import Text Wizard to change the import specifications for each field.

    Part III: Creating Your Own Database and Objects
    Part V: Advanced Topics