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Access Bugs – The Long List 2023/1

Updated: Mar 7


You can find the current list here. We leave this old list online so that bugs can be found that have since been fixed in current Access versions and because of the comments here.

We are compiling a list of major and minor Access bugs here over time. It shall serve as a reference for the community and in our discussions with Microsoft. Feel free to support us in this endeavour in the comments.

This is an intentional work-in-progress. We have a long backlog list of bug candidates because we only include items here that are sufficiently discussed, classifiable as a bug, and reproducible, or if not, then at least experienced or reported multiple times. The goal is to have a "reliable" list of (often long-term) bugs that are still present in current versions. If a bug has been fixed by Microsoft, we will note that here and remove the item in the next version.

We plan to republish the updated list from time to time so that it doesn't become too buried in the blog and the comments and discussions don't become too cluttered.



Monster Bug

Error message for Access backends: "Database is in an inconsistent state"

  • all Access versions, started 2018/05

  • workaround: disable leasing in the registry

  • MS support article

added 2023-03-17

Access slow or freezing when you copy records

Access gets slow or freezes on Windows 11 when you copy records in tables.

  • all Access versions, Windows 11, started 2022/11

  • pending fix in a coming Win11 update best of several workarounds: run Access as Administrator

  • AFo article

added 2023-03-17

Reserved errors, no message

There are several problems in Access that trigger an error message like "Reserved error (number); there is no message for this error." Microsoft considers this kind of error message as a bug and asks for reports about it.

added 2023-03-17

Outer Join queries fail on Yes/No fields

If you group by Yes/No fields on the side targeted by the join arrow and no corresponding record does exist there for the other side of the join, the query fails with the error message "No current record". So, it looks like the query engine would have a problem with "hypothetical" Null values in Yes/No fields.

added 2023-03-17

Password length for linked tables

​According to the specifications, the maximum password length for Access files (>=2007) is 20 characters. However, if you link tables from an Access backend, the maximum password length that can be used is 19 characters. If the backend has a 20-character password and you try to use a linked table, you get the error message "Not a valid password".

Note: This bug has been fixed in version 2305 (released 2023-06-01). So it is present in older Access versions, but no longer in the current versions.

updated 2023-06-07

Unexpected Window Change between Access and VBE

When working with both, the Access main window and the VB Editor (VBE), sometimes focus may change between both windows without any preceding action. The focused window becomes "sticky", i.e. trying to set focus on the original window fails, the focused window stays in front.

This is a bug in Windows that for Access/VBE was first reported beginning of 2022. The issue is not limited to Access/VBE but all applications opening child/partner windows may experience the situation, e.g. when opening an attachment in Outlook, the attachment window may keep the focus or vice versa.

  • The only known workaround is to minimize the focused window. From then onwards it is also not "sticky" anymore.

added 2023-04-03

OutPutTo Not Available in Access Runtime

With the Runtime version when you try to export any database object with a macro or VBA using actions/methods like

  • EmailDatabaseObject

  • ExportWithFormatting

  • DoCmd.SendObject

  • DoCmd.OutPutTo

and you do this in a moment where no database object is open, e.g. in the Autoexec macro, then you get: Error 2046 "The command or action 'OutputTo' isn't available now."

and the export fails.

With the full version of Access (even when in Runtime mode) this problem doesn't happen.

  • all versions of the Access Runtime < Runtime 365

  • workaround1: open any exportable object before you call the export method

  • workaround2: use Runtime 365

added 2023-04-08



Disabled controls react to events in datasheet view

Controls/columns (textbox, checkbox, combo box) whose Enabled property is set to False react to mouse events (click, mouse down etc.) in datasheet view. This behaviour is different from single and continuous forms.

added 2023-03-17

Ribbon text alignment buttons

The text alignment buttons in the ribbon are inactive for command buttons. So, you have to use the Alignment property of command buttons to change the alignment of their caption.

  • Access 2007 onwards

added 2023-03-17

Query wizard shows unknown items for Attachment fields

3 additional "spurious items" appear when an attachment field is added to a query using the wizard. They appear as columns in the resulting query but do not show any values.

  • Access 2007 onwards

added 2023-03-17

Rich Text fields change formatting

When you click in a text box that contains rich text, the formatting of the text changes. Characters and spacing become wider and this can change the line breaks. This behaviour makes it difficult to format text and especially to visually compare it with parallel text fields in terms of text changes.

  • Access 2013 onwards

added 2023-03-17

Hidden navigation pane becomes visible

When you have hidden the navigation pane and use TransferDatabase, TransferText or TransferSpreadsheet in VBA code or a macro to create a link to an external source, the new linked object is selected in the navigation pane, which thus becomes undesirably visible.

  • Access 2007- ?

  • workaround: hide the navigation pane again by code immediately after using one of the causing methods

Note: This bug was fixed in version 2207. So it is present in older Access versions, but no longer in the current versions.

updated 2023-03-17

Complex field data detached in deep hidden table

When tables containing complex field types (multivalued field, attachment) are 'deep hidden' (by using the dbHiddenObject property) the data of the complex fields becomes detached and appears to be lost. The data is not restored if the table is returned to normal view.

added 2023-03-17

Split Form Issues

Split forms have many issues, some of which qualify as bugs:

1. Using overlapping windows display, split form width & height cannot be controlled, nor can the position of the splitter bar.

2. Doesn't work in a subform. Only the single form is displayed.

3. Any object placed in the footer section may overlay part or all of the single form section.

4. Changes to datasheet section can also affect single form section.

5. Datasheet design can still be edited when read only property set.

6. Code context menu doesn't exist.

added 2023-03-17

Totals row in datasheet views overlays data

Visual glitches when scrolling datasheet forms after clicking in the totals row. You should see it provided you have enough records to scroll through quite a few rows with the mouse. Make sure you don't click anywhere on the form after clicking the totals row as the bug occurs when the totals still have focus whilst scrolling.

If the totals row for a column contains an entry, this overlays the original data.

If the totals row is blank for a column, the 'empty space' overlays the data column (except for the first two characters). The first two characters are unaffected as that is the area occupied by the totals dropdown.

added 2023-03-17

Totals Row + ADO = Access crash

Displaying an Access Datasheet form with the Totals Row visible causes Access to crash when the form is bound to an ADODB.Recordset.

Steps to Reproduce:

(It is advisable to save the form after each step, as we are steering towards crashing Access and all unsaved changes will be lost once we reached that destination.)

1. Open any database with at least one table or create a new one.

2. Select any table in the Navigation Pane.

3. In the "Create" ribbon tab click on Forms -> More Forms -> Datasheet.

4. Once the Datasheet form is created, click "Totals" in the "Records” group of the "Home" ribbon tab to add a Totals Row to the form.

5. In the Totals Row select any of the aggregate functions in any of the form’s columns.

6. Switch to Design View of the form.

7. Remove the tableName from the form’s Record Source property.

8. Add an Event Procedure to the OnLoad property of the form.

9. In the VBA environment set a reference to the Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects x.x Library (x.x represents the version number, which appears to be irrelevant to reproduce this issue.)

10. Add the following code to the Form_Load event procedure. tableName in the code should be the name of the table the form was originally created for.

Private Sub Form_Load()

    Dim rs As ADODB.Recordset
    Set rs = New ADODB.Recordset

    rs.CursorLocation = adUseClient
    rs.Open "SELECT * FROM tableName", CurrentProject.Connection, adOpenKeyset

    Set Me.Recordset = rs

End Sub

11. Save the form!

12. Now open the form in Datasheet view.

13. Observe: A message box "Microsoft Access has stopped working" appears and Access is terminating itself.

Affected Access Versions

  • Access 2010 onwards, last verified in Access 365 Version 2301

  • Not tested in Access 2007 and earlier

  • Note: This bug does not happen in an ADP project in Access 2010.

added 2023-03-20

Zoom Box opens with 1 pt Font Size

When you open the zoom box in Access you might see the content in a tiny font size of 1 point. Some users therefore think that the zoom box would be empty at all.

Once you set a larger font, the new font and size will be used persistently.

This was a common problem that occurred a few years ago after the zoom box was redesigned and it was supposed to be fixed. According to our discussion with Microsoft, it is still a current problem, (only) when the system uses metric settings.

Note: This bug has been fixed in version 2305 (released 2023-06-01).

updated 2023-06-01



Breakpoints and special keys

Unticking Allow special keys stops the use of Ctrl+Break which is intentional. However it has the unintended side effect of preventing breakpoints and Stop from pausing execution.

Note: This bug has been fixed in version 2305 (released 2023-06-01). So it is present in older Access versions, but no longer in the current versions.

updated 2023-06-01

Phantom breakpoints

Code execution sometimes stops at breakpoints which have been already deleted.

added 2023-03-17

No exclusive access when calling OpenDatabase before CurrentDb

When you call the OpenDatabase method before your first call to CurrentDb, and then do call CurrentDb, you lose exclusive access to your current database.

added 2023-03-17

Navigation pane search bar

​Application.SetOption "Show Navigation Pane Search Bar", True / False doesn't work in current versions of Access. It did work in A2007

  • Access 2010 onwards

  • workaround (by Shane Groff, Microsoft Access team): Application.CommandBars("Navigation Pane Pop-up").Controls(7).Execute

  • article by Colin Riddington

added 2023-03-17

1,427 views4 comments


Unknown member
Apr 09, 2023

It has been over 4 years since the "Database is in an ‘Inconsistent State’ or ‘Unrecognized Format’" bug appeared and wondering if MS has fixed this bug without having to change registry values?

Karl Donaubauer
Karl Donaubauer
Apr 10, 2023
Replying to

No, they haven't fixed it. It is the first in our list here and the support article that we link is still the current status.


Ryan W
Ryan W
Mar 20, 2023 This one smashed me over the head a couple years ago. Doesn't seem very well known.


Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson
Mar 17, 2023

A great idea to compile this list. I did not know that phantom breakpoints were still an issue. They used to bother me all the time, but it has been some years since they caused trouble.

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