Upgrading access 2003 to 2010 or 2013

We are moving a client app from Access 2003.  Our staff has worked with 2010 but not 2013, so the initial plan was to move to 2010 since we are familiar with it.  The client is asking why we aren''t going to 2013?

When we began upgrading 2003 apps a while ago, I posted a question EE as to whether to upgrade to 2010 or 2013, which were both available.  This was over a year ago.  At that time I remember the responses suggested that it was a more direct path to upgrade from to 2003 to 2010, than to upgrade from 2003 to 2013.  But I don't remember why.

So I'm asking the question again.  We're upgrading a 2003 app, hoping to keep as much functionality as possible without re-coding.  The app has thousands of lines of VB code.  Is this supported in 2013?  

Is there any reason to upgrade to 2010 instead of 2013?
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Jeffrey CoachmanConnect With a Mentor MIS LiasonCommented:
2013 is now about two years old, so I see no reason to move to a 5 year old product (2010)
, ...unless you still have users who will be using 2010.
Always go with the lowest common version anyone in your organization will be using, ...to insure the best chance for maximum compatibility.
Also note that you should also do all of your development work in that lowest common version.

The kicker here is that from 2003 to 2013, you are bridging a 10 year gap in technology.
A lot has changed,... so you will have growing pains no matter which version you move to...

The bottom line is to first create a backup of the DB *before* you upgrade.
Then other kicker is that once you move to 2010/13, ...any 2010/13 feature you might inadvertently use, may not be compatible with any prior version 2007, 2003.

Test, Test, ...and test some more.
Test the operation of every aspect of the database in the new version *before* releasing it to your users. (in a test db)
Make sure you run the compact/repair utility, ...make sure you compile the code.

Lastly consider if you will simply be running your 2003 mdb file under acc2010/13,...or "converting" the db to the .accdb format.

Lets see what other experts may add...

Gustav BrockConnect With a Mentor CIOCommented:
I have upgraded several apps from Access 2000 directly to Access 2013, so I see no reason to stop by A2010.

Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)Connect With a Mentor President / OwnerCommented:
Is there any reason to upgrade to 2010 instead of 2013?

A2010 is the last "full" version of the desktop version of Access.  Access 2013 dropped a number of features:


If your coming from an older version, some of these might give you a problem.  Namely:

ADP support
DBF support
Support for JET 3.x
Data Collection Feature (which some use) - Note that A2013 will still process data, you just can't create new forms.

Also note that you'll have a little more trouble in dealing with the ribbon.    Up until A2010, it was possible to present an app with menu bar's just the way it appeared in earlier version.   With A2013, any custom menu bars will now appear as a tab on the ribbon.

So a couple things which might give you pause to stick with A2010 and unlike the others, the only reason to move to 2013 is for the web apps if your going that route.  Otherwise, I'd stick with A2010 to retain the most features possible.

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mlcktmguyAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all, excellent feedback.

I looked at the link Jim provided and noticed that the  Upsizing wizard is gone in 2013.  An alternative upsizing path is described.  

"To do this, run the SQL Server Import and Export Wizard (in SQL Server Management Studio) to import your Access tables into a SQL Server database.
Then, create a new custom Access web app, and import the tables from SQL Server into the web app."

The database we are upgrading is currently using an Access backend DB.  Once the application upgrade is complete the next phase is to move the backend from Access DB to SQL Server.

Removal of the upsizing wizard eliminates the direct migration path but the article list an alternative.  Has anyone been thru the process of moving an Access 2013 backend DB to SQL server?  

Would a viable option be to leave the Backend DB in Access 2010, (front end will be in 2013) until upsizing to SQL Server?  Then use the upsizing wizard in the 2010 backend.
Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
Or you can use the SQL Server Migration Tool to transfer the backend from Access to SQL Server.
A bit mor convoluted than the the Upgrade Wizard but much more flexible.

mlcktmguyAuthor Commented:
I've never used Access 2013 but as I read more about it:  it sounds like the form design function is more limited.   User comments mention that the look and feel of new forms can't be modified as well as in prior versions.

Anyone have feedback on this?
Gustav BrockCIOCommented:
That's a matter of taste, I guess. I don't feel limitations as I'm not hit by the missing items that Jim listed.
Also, the visual design fits better Windows 8-10.
You can download an evalution if you want to check out details.

Further, as Office 2016 should be around later this year, I would try to leave 2010 if possible.

Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)Connect With a Mentor President / OwnerCommented:
The SSMA utility is far superior to the Upsizing wizard, which is the reason it was removed from Access.

<<it sounds like the form design function is more limited.   User comments mention that the look and feel of new forms can't be modified as well as in prior versions.>>

 That depends on what their talking about; if the web apps, then yes you are far more restricted.  On the desktop side, there is no difference.

mlcktmguyAuthor Commented:
Excellent Feedback from all.  Thank you.  Based on your comments I obtain 2013 for some actual usage analysis.
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