I recently had to work with some data that came in a huge Microsoft Access database. Because I like SQLite (and despise Access), I’ve decided to export the data to an SQLite file. The first thing I needed to do was to somehow get all the data out of the db. Being a Linux user, complicates things a bit, but thanks to
mdb-tools it’s possible to process the
.mdb files without resorting to Windows and buying Access. Using
mdb-tools directly can be tedious if you want to export a large db with multiple tables, so when I’ve looked for a way to automate it, I came across Liberating data from Microsoft Access “.mdb” files. This post shows a nice script that dumps every table in a
.mdb file to separate CSV file.
While useful, I wanted something that I could easily import into SQLite. So I’ve modified their script to generate an SQL dump of the db. Given a db file, it writes to
stdout SQL statements describing the schema of the DB followed by
INSERTs for each table. Actually because
mdb-tools doesn’t support SQLite as a backend, the dump uses a MySQL dialect, but it should be fine with SQLite as well (SQLite will mostly ignore the parts it can’t process such as
COMMENTs). The easiest way to use the script is
$ python AccessDump.py access.mdb | sqlite3 new.db
If the original db contains non-ascii characters, and isn’t encoded in UTF-8, you should set the
MDB_JET3_CHARSET environment variable to the correct charset. The dump itself will be UTF-8 encoded.
$ MDB_JET3_CHARSET="cp1255" python AccessDump.py access.mdb | sqlite3 new.db