Microsoft Access 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2002, 2000, and 97Microsoft Access Runtime Distribution and Free Downloads

Microsoft offers runtime versions of Microsoft Access so you can create database applications in MS Access and distribute them to non-Access owners. The runtime version allows your users to use your databases without purchasing their own license of Access/Office.

The Microsoft Access Runtime version differs from the retail version in several ways:

  • All design-related user interfaces are either removed or disabled
    • Database and macro windows are hidden
    • Filter By Form, Filter By Selection, and Advanced Filter windows are hidden
    • This means your users only use the forms and reports you create and do not work directly with the tables, queries, etc.
  • Users cannot create their own Microsoft Access databases or modify the object designs in the database(s) you give them
    • There is no Design View. Your users cannot modify your objects including queries and reports.
    • The VBA editor is not included. Your users cannot view or modify module code.
    • They can view, add, edit, and delete the data in your database
  • Special Keys such as Ctrl+Break, Ctrl+G, Shift key when opening the database, and other keys to modify objects or code are not available
  • Microsoft Office features such as spell checking are not included. Note that spell checking is available if the user has that version of Office installed.
  • Crashes in your VBA code are not handled. Make sure you implement error handling throughout your application.
  • No Access help file

Make Sure You Have Error Handling for Runtime Distributions

Because users of the runtime version do not have the design surfaces, it's important that any MS Access application you distribute with the runtime has a robust global error handler in place for all procedures. Otherwise, unexpected errors will cause your application without recourse. The Debug dialog is not available with a runtime deployment.

For more details on error handling read our papers on:

In earlier versions of Microsoft Access, you needed to purchase a special developer version of Access to receive the runtime version and other related resources. Since MS Access 2007, Microsoft has distributed the runtime versions for free. You can download them from here:

Microsoft Access 2013

Microsoft Access 2013 SP1 Runtime (released April 22, 2014)

Original Microsoft Access 2013 Runtime no longer available for download

Microsoft Access 2003

Older versions of Microsoft Access

The runtime versions of Access 2003 and earlier were not free.

  • For Access 2003, get the Office Developer Extensions for Office 2003
  • For earlier versions of Access, get the Office Developer Toolkit

Given the deprecation of many features in Microsoft Access 2013, we recommend distributing the Microsoft Access 2010 runtime rather than 2013 in most cases.

As the developer, you have the full version of Microsoft Access to create your database application. Rather than have a different machine to test how your application behaves with the runtime version, Microsoft offers a way to run MS Access in runtime mode. Read our paper for more details:

Launching Microsoft Access with your database is similar to the way you would do so with the regular version of Access. Simply launch the msaccess.exe followed by the name of your database. Your database should launch with an Autoexec macro or have a startup form defined. Without it, nothing will appear as the runtime version does not expose the database container to users.

Here's a history of all the Microsoft Access major version releases, service packs, and recent updates with a summary of enhancements, deprecated features and other changes.

Total Access StartupOur custom software development team has extensive experience creating Microsoft Access solutions that are deployed to users around the world using the Access runtime version.

Total Access Startup for Deployment

In conjunction with our Total Access Startup program, application deployment can be managed and updated centrally.

RemoteApp and Terminal Services to Eliminate User Installations

We also have experience using Terminal Services and RemoteApp to support users over the Internet to run Access applications without having to install Access on their local machines. By hosting the Access application in a secure data center, Mac users and other non-traditional Access users can run your Microsoft Access application from their device.

Consulting Services

Contact our Professional Solutions Group for details.

Table Design

Query Design

Form Design

Form Tips and Mistakes

Copy Command Button and Keep Picture

Module VBA to Forms and Controls

Form Navigation Caption

Resync Record in a Subform

Synchronize Two Subforms

Multiple OpenArgs Values

Late Bind Tab Subforms

Subform Reference to Control Rather than Field

Tab Page Reference

Shortcut Keys

Combo Box Top 6 Tips

Properties and Validation

Select First Item

Cascading Combo Boxes

Zip, City, State AutoFill

Report Design

Suppress Page Headers and Footers on the First Page of Your Report

Add the NoData Event

Annual Monthly Crosstab Columns

Design Environment

Add Buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar

Collapse the Office Ribbon for more space

VBA Programming

Basics: Forms and Controls

Run VBA Code from a Macro

Use Nz() to Handle Nulls

Avoid Exits in the Body of a Procedure

Shortcut Debugging Keys

Set Module Options

Math Rounding Issues

Rename a File or Folder

Avoid DoEvents in Loops

Age Calculations

Weekday Math

Send Emails with DoCmd.SendObject

Source Code Library

Microsoft Access Modules Library

Microsoft Access Modules

VBA Error Handling

Error Handling and Debugging Techniques

Error Number and Description Reference

Basic Error Handling

Pinpointing the Error Line

Performance Tips

Linked Database

Subdatasheet Name

Visual SourceSafe


Runtime Downloads

Simulate Runtime

Prevent Close Box

Disable Design Changes

Broken References

Remote Desktop Connection Setup

Terminal Services and RemoteApp Deployment

Reboot Remote Desktop

Missing Package & Deployment Wizard

Avoid Program Files Folder

Unavailable Mapped Drives

Microsoft Access Front-End Deployment

System Admin

Disaster Recovery Plan

Compact Database

Compact on Close

Database Corruption

Remove 'Save to SharePoint Site' Prompt from an Access Database

Class Not Registered Run-time Error -2147221164

Inconsistent Compile Error

Decompile Database

Bad DLL Calling Convention

Error 3045: Could Not Use

Converting ACCDB to MDB

SQL Server Upsizing

Microsoft Access to SQL Server Upsizing Center

Microsoft Access to SQL Server Upsizing Center

When and How to Upsize Access to SQL Server

SQL Server Express Versions and Downloads

Cloud and Azure

Cloud Implications

MS Access and SQL Azure

Deploying MS Access Linked to SQL Azure

SQL Server Azure Usage and DTU Limits

Visual Studio LightSwitch

LightSwitch Introduction

Comparison Matrix

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