What Is OLE Data Type in Access?


Heather Bennett

What Is OLE Data Type in Access?

When working with databases, it is important to understand the different data types that can be used to store various types of information. One such data type in Microsoft Access is the OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) data type. In this article, we will explore what the OLE data type is and how it can be used in Access.

Understanding OLE Data Type

OLE data type in Access allows you to store objects such as images, documents, spreadsheets, and other files within a database. It enables you to link or embed external files directly into your database records. This means that instead of storing just the file path or name, you can store the entire file itself.

Benefits of Using OLE Data Type

There are several benefits to using the OLE data type in Access:

  • Versatility: With the OLE data type, you can store a wide range of file types including images, audio files, videos, and even entire documents.
  • Consolidation: By storing related files within your database, you can consolidate your data and make it easier to manage.
  • Data Integrity: Storing files directly within the database ensures that they are always available when needed and reduces the risk of broken links or missing files.
  • Data Analysis: The ability to include objects such as charts or graphs within your database records allows for more comprehensive data analysis.

Using OLE Data Type in Access

To use the OLE data type in Access, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new table or open an existing one in Design View.
  2. Select the field where you want to store the OLE object.
  3. In the “Field Properties” section, change the “Data Type” to “OLE Object”.
  4. Save your changes and close the table design view.
  5. When entering data into the table, you can either link or embed an external file by right-clicking on the OLE field and selecting the appropriate option.

Linking vs. Embedding

When working with OLE data type, you have two options: linking or embedding.

  • Linking: When you link an external file, Access creates a reference to the file location instead of storing the actual file within the database. This means that any changes made to the original file will be reflected in your database.
  • Embedding: On the other hand, when you embed a file, Access stores a copy of the entire file within your database. This allows you to maintain a static version of the file that won’t change even if the original file is modified.

It’s important to consider your specific requirements when deciding whether to link or embed files using OLE data type.


OLE data type in Access provides a powerful way to store and manage various types of files within your database. By using this versatile data type, you can enhance your database functionality and improve data analysis capabilities. Whether linking or embedding files, Access gives you flexibility and control over your data.

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