Access vs Excel – Difference and Comparison

What is Access?

MS Access was first launched in November 1992 developed by Microsoft. It is a DBMS, Database Management System.
DBMS is nothing but a system to store data in computers. It is a large system that can store, manage, retrieve, edit data such that it can be used for future purposes.

MS Access is a type of relational database. A relational database is a database system that stores data related to each other.
Access provides options for different users to store the data in the same file. This is done by creating unique IDs for every user. Data stored by one user is in no way affecting data stored by other users, Access has many options to stop this.

To work on Access some sort of programming knowledge is required. As it is a relational database, Access helps you create data with specific constraints.
For example, Data of Aadhar Card Number is required for official purposes.
Constraints that would allow users to only save alphanumeric(Alphabets + number) should be applied.

Data in Microsoft Access can be stored in form of different numbers, alphabets, symbols, etc. The extension of files saved is .accdb
As Access is a huge database, therefore it has a lot of storage capability. The need to learn a programming language makes it a bit complex to learn.

What is Excel?

Microsoft Excel is software developed by Microsoft. It was first launched alongside the MS office in 1998. Microsoft Excel is a huge spread sheet(a sort of sheet spread over an infinite sort of area) consisting of rows and columns. Data are stored in box-like spaces called cells. Each cell has a specific number which is determined by the number of rows and number of columns.

Excel is used mainly for financial and accounting purposes. That’s the reason why it is widely used in offices these days.
Excel has a lot of formulas that help in doing calculations.
For Example, alt+=
is the formula to find the sum of data stored in a particular cell.

Apart from this, there are several options for the sheet to look visually appealing. We can create pie charts, bar graphs, pictures, etc.
Excel is not a database. Hence, a large amount of data cannot be stored. It can be used mainly for calculation purposes.

Also, there are many changes in excel from the time it was launched according to the need of the user. This makes it very user-friendly.
All these reasons contribute to excel becoming easy to learn software. With usage and over time excel can be learned.The extensions of files saved is .xlsx

Difference Between Access and Excel

  1. Access was first launched in November 1992. Although, it actively came to use a few years later whereas Excel was launched with MS office in 1998.
  2. Access is a database management system, so it is used to store large data whereas Excel is used for financial and accounting purposes.
  3. Storage capacity of MS Access is much more than MS Excel as it is a database.
  4. MS Excel has gone through several changes according to the needs of the user since its launch. This makes its adaptability higher in comparison to MS Access.
  5. Access provides users with options to sort and store data for future uses whereas Excel provides us with many formulas for ease of calculation and options to make it more visually appealing.
  6. A bit of programming knowledge is needed to work on Access. This makes it a bit difficult to learn and work upon it in comparison to MS excel.
  7. File in MS Access is saved with .accdb extension whereas in excel files are stored with .xlsx extension.

Comparison Between Access and Excel

Parameters of comparisonAccessExcel
Launch TimeAccess was first launched in November,1992Excel was first launched alongside MS office in 1998.
Main UseThe main use of Access is to store large data for future purposes.Excel is primarily used in accounting purposes as it facilitates calculations.
Storage CapacityIt has a lot of storage capacity as it is a database.The storage capacity of Excel is less than Access.
AdaptabilityAccess is bit rigid and no changes are made according to users.Excel is quite flexible ,so changes are made according to needs.
Different OptionsAccess has options to sort and store data.Excel can be used to create charts, visual interprets etc.
Ease of learningIt is a bit tough to learn MS access.It can be learnt with ease in comparison to MS access.
ExtensionThe file in access is saved with .accdb extensionThe default extension for excel is .xlsx