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Convert an MDE 
to an MDB?

How To Extract Everything
from MDE's Except The Modules

By Paul Pruitt - MCP, CompTIA A+, 
CompTIA Net+, HDI Helpdesk Analyst

Free Method

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 Unfortunately if you only have the front end of a database or some of the table links are no longer valid, you will get an error with those tables and not be able to import them.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 non-free method outlined below.

  1. 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:

  2. To import macros use Serge's "SaveAs/Load From 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 add-in in your new database and import the macros. If you have a large number of macros see the alternative non-free method below.

  3. 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.

  4. Apparently no one yet has been able to reverse engineer actual VBA code but it can be recreated by experienced Access Developers. 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.

  5. 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.

Non-Free Method

Finally here is the non-free 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.

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