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Use a screen reader to export an Access table to a text file

This article is for people with visual or cognitive impairments who use a screen reader program such as Microsoft’s Narrator, JAWS, or NVDA with Microsoft 365 products. This article is part of the Microsoft 365 screen reader support content set where you can find more accessibility information on our apps. For general help, visit Microsoft Support home.

Use Access with your keyboard and a screen reader to export data from an Access desktop database to a text (*.txt) file. We have tested it with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll learn how to use the export wizard to export data, such as a table, query, form, report, or selected records in a multiple-record view, such as a datasheet, to a plaintext file, enabling you to use the data in other apps that do not support Access data directly.


In this topic

Prepare your data for export

Before exporting your data, take a moment to review the data and decide how you want to export it.

  • Make sure the data doesn't contain any error indicators or error values. Otherwise, problems can occur during the export, and null values might appear in the text file. For troubleshooting info, go to the section Troubleshoot missing and incorrect values in a text file in Export data to a text file.

  • Choose the destination text file and text encoding. If you export a table, query, form, or report with formatting to an existing text file, the file will be overwritten. You cannot append data to an existing text file.

Export data with formatting and layout

When you export a form, report, or datasheet that contains subforms, subreports, or subdatasheets, only the main form, report, or datasheet is exported. You must repeat the export operation for each subform, subreport, and subdatasheet that you want to export to a text file.

You can only export one database object in a single export operation.

When you export data with formatting and layout to a text file, Access attempts to recreate the table layout using dash (-) and vertical bar (|) characters.

  1. After opening the source database, move to the Navigation Pane by pressing F6 until you hear "Navigation Pane," or the name of an Access object.

  2. To select the object to export, press the Tab key to move into the object list, and then use the Up and Down arrow keys to navigate to the object you want.

    If the object is a table, query, or form, and you want to export only a portion of the data, open the object in Datasheet View and select the records you want.


    • You can't export a portion of a report. However, you can select or open the table or query that the report is based on, and then export a portion of the data in that object.

    • To open an object in Datasheet View, when on the object in the navigation tree, press Enter to open it. Press F6 until you hear "Status bar," and the name of the current view. Press the Right or Left arrow key until you hear "Datasheet View," and then press Enter to select.

      If the Datasheet View option is not available, you need to enable the view for the object. For instructions, go to Enable the Datasheet View for an object.

  3. To start the text file export wizard, press Alt+X, T. The Export - Text File dialog box appears.

  4. In the dialog, do one of the following:

    • If you want to export the data to a new text file, press Alt+F to move the focus to the File name text field. Access suggests the name of the source object as the file name for the exported file. To change the name, delete the suggested name and type a new name.

    • If you have an existing text file to which you want to export the data, press Alt+R to open the File Save dialog box, and browse for the file you want. Once you're on the file, press Enter to select it. The dialog box closes, and the focus returns to the Export - Text File dialog box.

  5. If you are exporting a table or a query, press Alt+W to move to and select the Export data with formatting and layout option.

    Note: If you are exporting a form or report, this option is always selected, and you can't unselect it.

  6. If you want the destination text file to open automatically after exporting completes, press Alt+A to move to and select the Open the destination file after the export operation is complete option.

  7. If the source object is open, and if you selected one or more records in the view before starting the export and these are the records you want to export, press Alt+S to move to and select the Export only the selected records option. If you want to export all the records displayed in the view, do not select this option.

    Note: If no records are selected, this option is not available.

  8. To confirm your selections and start exporting, press the Tab key until you hear "OK," and then press Enter to select it.

    If the text file you defined already exists, Access asks if you want to replace the existing file. To overwrite the file, press the Tab key until you hear "Yes," and press Enter to select it.

    The Encode as dialog box appears.

  9. To select the text encoding and export the file, press the Up or Down arrow key until you hear the encoding you want, and then press Enter to select it.

  10. If the export was successful, Access prompts you to save the export steps to quickly repeat them without the export wizard. To select this option, press Alt+V. To name the export steps, press Alt+A, and type a name for the export operation. To save the export steps, press Alt+S.

    If the export operation fails because of an error, Access displays a message that describes the cause of the error.

    If you selected to open the destination file, you can now review the export results in the default text editor on your computer.

See also

Use a screen reader to create tables in Access desktop databases

Use a screen reader to create a query in Access desktop databases

Use a screen reader to create a form in Access desktop databases

Use a screen reader to export an Access table to an Excel workbook

Keyboard shortcuts for Access

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Access

Technical Support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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