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Unable to Import dbf file (Dbase IV file) into a Microsoft Access 207 database.

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Last Modified: 2011-10-19
Hi,  I am having problems importing a dbf (Dbase IV file) into Microsoft Access.  I get a message saying that the file is not in the correct format.  Access 207 is working well otherwise.  However, I am able to import this file into a Microsoft Access 2003 database on another computer.  Any ideas?

Look forward for some help with this one.

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Commented:
Looks to me that the dbf drivers aren't installed in the correctway/version.
Have experienced the same problem with A2003 and solved it installing a newer driver (as I recall correctly by installing FoxPro), but you might check the web and experiment with different versions.

Also make sure that besides the .dbf also the index files (.idx), etc are available !

Nic;o)

Author

Commented:
Thanks for your response.  I can open the dbf file with Excel 2007, whereas I cannot open the dbf file in Access 2007?  Is this significant.  Where do you go on the web to find a new driver for reading DBF files?  Or do I need to initialise the dBase driver for Access 2007?  If so, is this difficult?

Thanks in advance.  

Commented:
You can start with initializing the dBase driver for Access 2007. As you found out, Excel and Access have different ways of opening a file and that's something that puzzled me too. (Not only valid for A2007, but also the older versions).
When it's a once off job I often open the file in excel and save it as a .xls or .csv to import that in Access.
You might check the dBase site (http://www.dbase.com/) for the drivers as the MS version might cause the trouble.

Nic;o)

Author

Commented:
Thanks Nico
Unfortunately this is not a once off job.  I could not find anything that seemed to address my problem at the dbase web site.  Mind you I don't know what I am looking for.  I would have thought I should be looking at the Microsoft web site for the driver.  Is it easy to do the initialisation? Is there a way to determine whether I have a driver installed on my Vista computer?
Cheers for now.


Commented:
Hmm, I can try to simulate this on my Vista PC, but than I would need a test sample. Can you attach one of the dBase files (A small one and not only the .dbf file, but also the files with other extensions having the same filename like .idx, etc.) zipped here?

Nic;o)

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the offer.  Unfortunately Expert Exchange system would not allow me to attach the zip file I created using Windows Explorer.  The zipped events.dbf file is about 300K in size.  There were no other files associated with this file ie index.  The message I got from EE was:

"The extension of one or more files in the archive is not in the list of allowed extensions: EVENTS.DBF".
???
Cheers

Author

Commented:
It seems that the uploading of files function of EE does not allow dbf files??!  RD

Commented:
Nope, but you can change (on a copy) the extension into .txt. I'll change it back :-)

Nic;o)

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the tip.  Here is the zip dbf file but with a txt extension.
EVENTS.zip

Commented:
Still looking, but ran into a message telling me that I can't link to DBF files :-)
This kb article gives the solution, perhaps that might work for you too to get the right driver:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/824264

Ni;co)

Author

Commented:
Thanks for all your help.  We are certinly getting closer.  I tried using the instructions in the kb.  I didn't actually download a driver.  I just selected the dbase driver and continued from there.  But, when I went into Access to import a ODBC file, it would not identify my events.dbf file.  Maye the problem is in the options - all I did was select the dbase driver v 5.  I wonder whether it matters where the file is located.  Anyway,  still no luck.  
Please confirm, you have not received a copy of the dbf file either through your own email or via EE.
Cheers Hugo    

Commented:
I did receive both copies and Im still puzzling. My latest find is that when you open the file using excel, a "save as" dBase IV file does trigger an error message...

Nic;o)

Author

Commented:
How frustrating!!  I successfully opened the dbf file on my friends Access 2007 program with vista operating system.  He had done nothing special, ie no downloads of drivers.  I suppose at least we know it is possible to do.  RD

Author

Commented:
Hi Nic
Just a quick follow up.  I hope you did not interpret my last comment as the end of the issue.  I need to be able to open dbf files with Access 2007 on my computer.  So, this is still a problem for me.  Are you still able to help.  Should I increase the number of points for this issue?  RD  




Commented:
Hi RD,

Still working on it, but I'm on the Dutch time schedule and extremely busy at the moment for my work.
It's however still on my To-do list.
Meanwhile you might check or installing a Borland application like Delphi with dBase does provide you with a working driver. My last solution (several years ago) was by installing an older version of a Borland application. Thus my quest for another driver :-)

Nic;o)

Commented:
PS, points are of no value for me, have an EE "history" and found that points do corrupt people to comment without explanation. I'm here to teach and learn at the same time :-)

Nic;o)
"Knowledge can't be divided, only multiplied" :-D

Author

Commented:
Thanks Nic for your continued persistence.  Look forward to your assistance when you can.  RD

Author

Commented:
Thanks for this.  It looks like this problem has occurred in MA 2007 to other people. I will investigate this further.  I think it may be the solution we are seeking.  I will let you know how it goes.  Hugo

Author

Commented:
Still having no luck with this issue.  I tried opening the dbf file with Access 2007 on another computer with Vista - I got the same error message.  This is very strange.  RD

Author

Commented:
A bit of a update in my endeavours. Interestingly I found that Access 2003 imports the dbf file on my work computer, whereas Access 2003 will not open the file on my work mates computer - I have compared the ODCE drivers on each of the computers but they appear the same.  

Commented:
Guess we need to check/compare the registry from both PC's with regedit for the Access/Office installation parameters.
Can you save the Office registry on both computers and do a compare ?

Nic;o)

Author

Commented:
Thank you.  It sounds like we are back on the trail.  Can you offer me any guidance to find the office registries and also how to save these registries. Then how to comapre the files - I remember there used to be a compare function under msdos. I had a look under regedit - but I could not find anything that suggested microsoft office.  Thanks for your continued persistence..

Commented:
Just navigate to:
HKEY_USERS\<some long code>\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0 (For A2007 or 11.0 for A2003)
and use the right-click popup to "export" the structure (gave me a 794 Kb file).
The file is in text format and can be compared with the same file from another PC using e.g. http://www.dirfile.com/freeware/filediff.htm

Nic;o)

Author

Commented:
Thanks Nico.  I have been trying to find drivers that read dbf files.  Then yesterday I installed a demo version of a program called PigWin which has a Borland driver.  Eureka - it worked - I am now able to read dbf files into Access 2007 and 2003.  Boy, but what a job for something that I would have thought Microsoft would have had sorted.  Anyway, I am thankful there was a solution - and I can now get on with my development.  For what they are worth, I have awarded my points to you comment about the driver.
Cheers
rdun2564

Commented:
Glad I could point you in the right direction.
Was also startled that MS didn't support a foolproof Dbase driver and had to rely on an old Borland driver from an application installation. Moreover, it's strange that the Borland site doesn't have a full set of drivers...

But glad it's working now for you and I hope others might read this and save a lot of time.

Great job !

Nic;o)