Excel and Access are among the most widely used Microsoft Office software. There are many organizations and companies that manage a lot of information with these softwares every day. Both of these softwares have their own features that can be used to perform various operations.
However, there are differences between Access and Excel that not everyone may be aware of. In the following article, we intend to explain the difference between Excel and Access rapidly; Stay with us.

Excel is a spreadsheet software used to analyze data and create charts, calculations and statistical models. It’s a very popular software among students, engineers, accountants and those who deal with various numerical and qualitative data.

In this software, as you can see in the picture, you can draw different graphs, including linear, column, circular, histogram, and others, and even obtain statistical parameters such as average, standard deviation, and variance for a statistical population.

Data storage and processing

When you have a file for product and sales information, you can easily use advanced charts and Excel calculation formulas to calculate sales profit.

On the other hand, Access software is used to create and maintain a database, and it is actually an efficient database. This software also helps in collecting and sorting data. For example, Access can be used to enter and maintain information about products, raw materials and personnel who have played a role in production.

Excel contains formulas, statistical models and charts that perform operations on data; But in Access, it is important to collect data, maintain, sort and extract them.

Another important difference between Excel and Access is the difference in storage space. Excel has less space to store data compared to Access. Since Access is designed to store information, it naturally has more storage capacity and a large amount of product information can be entered and stored in Access.

Environment and learning

Another important aspect of the difference between Excel and Access is the difference in the level and difficulty of teaching and learning them.
Usually, teaching and learning Excel software is easier for users than Access; Because the basic concepts of Access such as attribute, entity, relationship between tables, forms and queries are difficult for ordinary users to understand.
On the other hand, Access has a more complex user environment than Excel. To learn advanced Access, you need programming knowledge, but for advanced Excel, working with functions and analyzing data is important.

In Access, tables can be linked to each other. For this reason, the data of several tables can be used to extract information. There is no such feature in Excel. For example, you have a bank of products, a bank of sales invoices and a bank of customer information. When you want to calculate the monthly sales profit of each product in an invoice, you need to call the product, sales and customer information in an invoice.

Communicating between three banks in Access is easy. But in Excel, you have to enter all the information in a worksheet. The worksheets are unrelated and the data is separate.


Each of the Access cells is called a field according to the next image. Each field has a data structure. That is, a field can only have one value of numerical data, text, link, photo, etc.

Excel cells are unstructured and you can enter any type of data into them. Logical and mathematical operations can be performed on these cells. For example, in Excel, you can perform mathematical operations on the data such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, or even put the data in various mathematical functions such as logarithmic functions.


Entering and registering information in Access is done through forms. Forms give a certain order to your work and it is easier for the user to work with them. In Access, the user enters information in the field specific to each topic or attribute and does not see other data and other values in the table. For this reason, access forms can be compared with registration forms on websites, email creation, entrance exam registration, comments, etc.

Despite the existence of various cases in the difference between Excel and Access, these two softwares belong to the same Microsoft Office family, and for this reason, they can be connected to each other and the tables of each of them can be entered in the other software file.

The right choice between Excel and Access

If you intend to store and maintain information and the security of information is considered a priority for you, it is better to use Access; But if you are dealing with sales and accounting software and statistical analysis is part of your work, Excel will undoubtedly be the best choice for you. Note that Excel is always the best option for calculation and math operations.

This diagram will help you to have a general picture of the differences between Excel and Access:


Excel is an application that uses spreadsheets to create charts, graphs, tabular models.

Access is also an application that acts as a database program. It helps in collecting and sorting the data.


Excel is useful in building financial & statistical models to track data. It is good for short term solutions and small scale projects.

Access can be used in database manipulation, also to collect & sort data. It is good for long term solutions and large scale projects.

Data storage

Since Excel is not built to store data, in Comparison to Access, it has less storage capacity.
Access is mainly created for storing, sorting, and manipulating databases.

Programming knowledge

To learn working with Excel, you do not need programming knowledge.

Programming knowledge is required to learn and use Access, specially in professional use.

Frequently asked questions

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