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Microsoft Access 2016 Now Supports dBase Database Format

Microsoft's Access database management software, as offered through Office 365 service plans, now supports the dBase file format, yet again.

In a "Back to the Future" type of announcement today, Microsoft indicated that it's now possible to "import or link to data stored in dBase databases in Access." This new capability is getting gradually rolled out to Office 365 subscribers using Access 2016. It'll reach "Office Insider" testers first, followed by general release, although Microsoft didn't indicate the exact release timeline.

Microsoft Access was originally designed with the aim of reading all database formats, including the dBase file format (.DBF). However, Microsoft dropped dBase support with its Access 2013 product, per Wikipedia's recounting.

In its announcement, Microsoft explained that it is adding dBase support in Access 2016 in response to customer requests. The requests came through its Access UserVoice forum.

"One of the leading requests for Access was to see renewed support for dBASE (.dbf), and quite a few of you -- particularly those in the Geographic Information System (GIS) community -- made a compelling case to do so," Microsoft's announcement explained.

The dBase database management system was an Ashton-Tate product that began in 1980, but it was later acquired by Borland, according to a Wikipedia article. The product is currently owned by dBase LLC, which currently offers its dBASE Plus 10.3 product that will run on 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 10. Also offered is dBASE Classic for DOS. In addition, dBase LLC makes a DOS support product for 64-bit Windows systems, plus some utilities programs.

The dBase file format is currently used by "millions of software developers, businesses, work teams and government agencies worldwide," according to dBase LLC's Web site.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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