Databases 2 - Importing

Import Data in MS Access

Hand entering data is great if you’re collecting your own data and need to enter it yourself, but it’s a pretty terrible way to use already available data, especially if it’s more than a few dozen lines long. This example will walk you through how to get data that already exists into Access.

​a. Download the main table for the full Portal LTREB mammal survey database from Ecological Archives (it’s kind of large so it might take a few seconds). This database is published as a Data Paper on Ecological Archives (, which is generally a great place to look for ecology data.

b.Create a new database by selecting a file name and location and clicking Create

​c. Click on the External Data tab in Access

​d. Select Text File since this is a text file, you’ll notice that you can also import from Excel and from other Access databases

​e. Click on Browse and navigate to where you saved the data file and select it

​f. Make sure that Import the source data into a new table in the current database is selected and click OK

​g. Since the data are comma delimited, click Next

​h. Make sure the Comma is selected as the delimiter, check the First Row Contains Field Names option, and click Next

​i. Check to make sure that the types for each field are reasonable. Access only checks this first few rows of data to determine these types, so if type of data in a column changes further down this can can cause import errors. If it was me I’d take are careful look hft and wgt (which are weights and hindfoot lenths and should therefore be numbers) and at tag, either by opening the file in Excel or by checking the portion of the table from the Databases 1 problem to see what might be an issue. When you’re finished click Next

​j. Select Choose my own primary key, choose recordID, and click Next

​k. Name the table that you are importing into Surveys and click Finish