Difference Between Access and Excel (With Table)

Difference Between Access and Excel (With Table)

Among hundreds of apps and programs all around the world, some are used more than others because they have many benefits and are completely versatile. Microsoft Office offers different kinds of programs that include Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Access, and many others. Though some may think that Excel and Access are the same, there are quite some notable differences.

Access vs Excel

The main difference between Excel and Access is that Excel is a spreadsheet program while Access is a database program. Access uses ID numbers to store data and this list is completely editable, but in Excel sheets, the data will be stored in rows and columns. Access is used for large projects that take up a long time, while Excel is used for minimal problems that need solutions as soon as possible.

Access vs

In an Access database, a large number of items and their details can be stored easily. There are many benefits like for example, many people can use the same Access files and edit them without issue. The data can be protected with record-level locking and many other safety precautions can be used. The database in Access must be saved with an extension of .mdb.

A spreadsheet found and developed by Microsoft Office is Microsoft Excel, which is suits Windows, iOS, macOS, and Android. It contains all the characteristics and features of any spreadsheet software and some grids and cells can be used to organize the data. One can perform different operations on the data, because, Excel offers about 500 functions. In Excel, a person can add anything they want, like charts, graphics, images, and much more.

Comparison Table Between Access and Excel

Parameters of ComparisonAccessExcel
Program typeAccess is a database program where data can be stored.Excel is a spreadsheet program where data can be stored, calculated, and modified.
Amount of spaceAccess contains large amounts of records and spaces.Excel only contains a certain amount of rows and columns.
Process typeAccess is used to manage data and store it.Excel can be used to analyze and calculate data.
The number of users who can access the fileMultiple users can use the files, run queries and make changes if allowed.Only a limited amount of people can access the files and make changes, only when allowed.
Type of operationsExcel is highly used for mathematical operations and logical operations.Access is popularly used for complex queries and structuring of data.

What is Access?

There is a lot to learn about Access before using it. Microsoft Access is a relational database, otherwise commonly known as an information management tool. In this program, data and processed information can be stored for future reference, analyzing, and reporting. One best thing about Access is that large amounts of data can be easily processed and stored, unlike other database and spreadsheet programs.

The space present here is vast and can be used endlessly. Microsoft Access is perfect for small teams and just like every other program, for individual users who want to store data. It is very to easy to use and understand, and the data and files here can be exported to other applications, and data from other applications can be imported too.

The templates are readily available and can be used to store, create, analyze and publish data. Web databases offered by Access can be used to build and publish data. Access offers other components like reports, modules, tables, queries, forms, macros, and much more. It was first released in November 1992 and has been one of the best DBMS ever since.

What is Excel?

Microsoft Excel was developed to suit iOS, Windows, macOS, and Android. Excel offers features that will help in computing and calculating, and it also offers pivot tables and graphic tools. Visual Basic for Applications is the programming language offered by Excel and it is highly used to perform analysis on the data in financial aspects and it also helps in organizing data. Every company uses spreadsheet software, especially Excel to perform business functions, let the company be large or small.

Excel offers multiple functions like TEXT, SUM, VLOOKUP, AVERAGE, CONCENTRATION, and many others and some of the major functions offered by Excel for business include managing operations, programs, projects, and even data about people. Administration of office, reporting performance of employees, and much more. Excel is spreadsheet software that is commonly used by accountants, companies, marketers, data analysts, and every other professional in the industrial field to store, organize, calculate, analyze and share data in rows and columns.

Main Differences Between Access and Excel

  1. There are many minor and major differences between Microsoft Access and Excel.
  2. While Access is a database program that only collects and stores data, Excel is the application where the data can be stored, calculated, analyzed and the data is put in rows and columns.
  3. In Excel, charts and graphs can be attached, while Acess helps in collecting data, storing and sorting them.
  4. Excel is a form of spreadsheet software that helps in making financial calculations, while Access helps in manipulating and storing heavy amounts of data or information without errors or getting stuck.
  5. While storage capacity is less in Excel, Access offers more capacity than other software and that’s why it’s smooth to run.
  6. Excel is very easy to learn, access, and use, while Access is harder to learn.
  7. Excel is not as flexible as Access. Excel locks the entire spreadsheet while Access only locks the data necessary.


Both the programs have many similarities, but Excel is popularly used for analyzing and calculating data, while Access is commonly used for storing and managing data. When one wants to get their hands on short-term solutions, Excel is their best option.

Although, for long-term projects and solutions, and to manage long-term projects, Access is better since it stores large levels of data without any issues. In short, Excel and Access are both from Microsoft Office, and when multiple users are using the file, it is better if it is Access, but if only less number of people are using it, Excel is better and easier. To use Access, there is no need to know programming to use efficient features, but for Excel, it is necessary.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167947304002026
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/343698/
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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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