Access Services

Migrating Access Services from SharePoint Online to On-premises

Microsoft are ending support for Access Services in SharePoint Online from April 2018. This means anyone using Access Services has to make a choice and very soon about what they do as support ends. There are several possible choices:

Option 1: Move back to SharePoint 2016 On-Premises. Note that older SharePoint versions are not supported. This provides similar functionality but means you’re moving from the cloud back to either on-premises or a hosted SharePoint environment.

  • Using Microsoft Access (Desktop), connect to the Access Web App
  • Choose Save As, choose Snapshot to export the App and related data to a local file
  • In SharePoint, go to the App management site and import the App
  • Add the exported App into a SharePoint site in your SP 2016 farm

In addition to deploying back to either an on-premises or hosted SharePoint 2016 farm, there are other options to consider.

Option 2: Converting to SharePoint Lists. This option is really only suitable to relatively simple solutions and you lose much of the functionality Access Web Apps have that lead you to use them in the first place.

Option 3: Convert to PowerApps. This is a redevelopment and is worth considering bearing in mind that there are functionality gaps between the old and new solution that may need to be worked through. Read more here.

Option 4: Convert back to a desktop Access database. The benefits of using a web based solution are lost, but it may be the option of last resort for some.

Further information that is useful for anyone using Access Web Apps can be found in the roadmap.



Introducing SharePoint Access Services

Access Services lets you quickly create web applications and make them available to your SharePoint users via their web browser. The great thing is you don’t actually need to know much about SharePoint or be a web developer to make your application, the only thing you need is Microsoft Access skills.

The process for creating an Access Services database is:

  1. Create a database with tables and forms in Access 2010.
  2. Click the Home menu and choose the Save and Share option.
  3. Perform the compatibility test and fix any issues.
  4. Publish to SharePoint – enter a site name (Access Services creates a site for each published Access database).

Access Services migrates the data from the Access MDB file into the SharePoint Content database (as lists). This allows multi-user access to the Access Services database. One thing to note is that Access Services databases can’t use a SQL Server backend database. 


Why use Access Services?

Access Services applications can be built by anyone with Microsoft Access with a very low learning curve. No need to learn .NET development.

Existing Access Databases can be converted. They must be upgraded to Access 2010 first and a few changes may be required to meet the deployment requirements, but will often be far quicker than developing a new application.

Performance is great for remote users. The application is accessed via your web browser and is a great way to improve performance for remote users.

Your database becomes multi-user with minimal effort!

Because it’s SharePoint your application is available on the intranet without additional infrastructure and licensing.

A few other things you should know:

  • User access management is handled by SharePoint security.
  • Locks the database at object level rather than file level. Better concurrent user access.
  • Allows large lists (100,000 items is easily supported)
  • Master page branding is not supported. Uses Access branding.
  • Linked tables are not supported
  • Access Services sites can’t be edited using SharePoint designer


To use Access Services you need the following:

  • SharePoint 2010 Enterprise
  • SQL 2008 R2 with Reporting Services installed in SharePoint Integrated mode

Learn more: