Monday, 19 July 2021

Microsoft Access Alternatives - Best Free Open Source Replacements

Microsoft Access Alternatives - Best Free Open Source Replacements

Microsoft Access is a database management system (DBM) that offers tons of functionalities. You can use it for accounting, inventory, and records management. It provides an ideal solution for small and medium-sized companies. Users do not need programming skills training to use Access.  

But, you have to sign up for Microsoft 365 to use the package. This in itself should not be a deal-breaker as there are tons of benefits. Businesses can choose subscription packages depending on their needs.  

The cloud-based platform has packages like Project 365 that are excellent for project managers. Online Microsoft Project training courses are available for beginners to get started with the tool. With a few clicks, team leaders can manage everything from one centralized location. 

But, there are some limitations to Microsoft Access. For some, the learning curve is a bit steep. But, once you grasp the concepts, it becomes quite easy to use. Other people cite a lack of scalability as a significant issue. 

Users have a 2GB limit, which can be a challenge for heavy data users.  The use of solitary files for databases increases the chances of a data breach through corruption or hacking. And of course, there is the cost aspect. 

So, if you prefer not to pay for your DBM, please read on. We will share some fantastic open-source alternatives.  

1. LibreOffice Base

LibreOffice base allows for multi-user cross-database support. You can use it on Adabas D, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Microsoft Access, to name a few. It also has Inbuilt support for ODBC and JDBC drivers. This allows for easy connection to different database engines.  

LibreOffice Base is a fantastic alternative to Microsoft Access. First of all, it is free. Second, the package is easy to use due to features like table definitions and inbuilt wizards. Those who are familiar with the MS document format will quickly adapt to LibreOffice Base. 

The learning curve is easier than Access. Users can complete multiple tasks including writing queries, building tables, and form creations. Further, they can generate reports for sales, customer lists, invoices and so much more. 

Users have access to free extensions, templates, and plugins for additional functionalities. Such include proofreading and grammar tools, language packages and other accessibility options. 
There are tons of tutorials available in the user manual and community forums. The support desk is also available to help if you need it.  The OS includes Mac OS, Linux, Android, and Windows. It is also available on Mozilla Public License v2 

The major downside to LibreOffice is the lack of cloud features as inbuilt options. But, users can install Google Drive or Dropbox for cloud storage facilities.  

2. Kexi

Kexi from Calligraphy Suite is another Access alternative. Users can complete a wide range of DBM tasks. Such include table generation and modification. Creating and working with forms and tables is also easy. 

You can also integrate it with other suite applications. Such include Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and Plan for project management. It is applicable on databases like MySQL, dBase, Microsoft SQL Server, and PostgreSQL.  

You can use Kexi on KDE Plasma, Linux, Windows, BSD, and GNU. Others are GNOME UNIX users. The Microsoft Access conversion support allows for easy migration. It also helps with data maintenance and in-between editing applications.   

Do note, the features may not be as advanced as what you would get on Microsoft Access. The desktop application also has a one-person limit when working on databases. Thus, simultaneous collaboration will not be possible. 

3. DB Browser for SQLite

DB Browser for SQLite allows for the creation of files without knowing complex commands. It has over the years undergone some name changes. The original name was Arca Database browser. This then changed to the SQLite database browser. It wasn’t until 2014 when it took the present name. 

The tool is ideal for beginners who may not have background knowledge. They have access to pre-built wizards and interfaces that resemble spreadsheets. Users will like how easy this Microsoft Access alternative is to use. 

The operating systems are Windows, some Linux versions, macOS. You can create or modify files, records, and indexes. Data importing and exporting to standard file formats is a breeze. 
DB Browser for SQLite is available under the Mozilla Public License and GNU General Public License for Versions 2 and 3. 

4. nuBuilder Forte

One of the outstanding features of nuBuilder Forte is that it is easy to use. The interface is clean with drag and drop features. The browser-based tool allows for web-based app development. Users can access data from browsers or in MySQL storage. The browser application eliminates the need for platform dependency.  

The coding language includes SQL, JavaScript, PHP, and HTML. Customization is easy with the event-based logic. You can insert PHP or whatever code at different points within the flow. Inbuilt features like rights and user management also make it easy to use the software. 

Beginners have access to tutorials and additional help from documentation and videos. There is also a community forum where other members provide support.  

The software is available on Github. 

5. Google Forms

Google forms have features that make it an excellent alternative to Microsoft Access. It allows users to complete tasks like data entry or run queries. The online platform interface is easy-to-use. 

You do not require any technical or coding knowledge to use the forms. It also allows for easy integration with Cloud. 

Do note though, for more advanced features, you will need to sign up for the paid version of Google G-Suite.  

Final Thoughts

Microsoft has excellent features for database management. It has been around for a long time and continues to remain relevant to date. This document management software can be a bit challenging, especially for first-time users. But, there are many training platforms both online and offline that can help.  

Access does have a cost implication, which some users may not be comfortable with. Our article has looked at 5 alternatives to Microsoft Access. What you will love about them is that they are free.

You get all the functionalities you need for database management. Most are easy to use. You will not need to spend hours learning them. In case of any difficulties, there are tutorials, manuals, and community forums to help. 

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