A Workaround for the Access 255 Columns Limit

Microsoft Access has a limit of 255 columns per table. If you attempt to link to an external table that has more than 255 columns, Access will retrieve the first 255 columns only.

With a linked table, you cannot choose which columns are retrieved. If, say, you want to retrieve the 256th column but not the first, you can use a pass-through query instead:

  1. Open your Microsoft Access database.
  2. Create a new Query in Design View. Dismiss the Show Table dialog box.
  3. Choose Pass-Through as the Query type.
  4. Right-click the Query tab, and choose SQL View.
  5. Enter your SQL statement in the Query pane. For example:
    SELECT Col1, Col2, Col3 FROM Account
  6. Choose the Run Button. Use the Select Data Source dialog box to choose your ODBC driver data source.