Unable to Full Outer Join with MS Access

Published: 19 Jun 2015
Last Modified Date: 08 Jul 2022


How to use a union to imitate an outer join when connected to an MS Access database.


  • Tableau Desktop
  • Access


Option 1

  1. If in 8.2 or later, but earlier than 2019.1 (see note in Additional Information below), connect to the data using a legacy connection. If in 8.1 or earlier, connect as usual.
  2. Write custom SQL for a UNION of a LEFT and RIGHT join.

Option 2

Mirror the data to a database that supports a Full Outer join, such as MS SQL.


When connecting to data on a Microsoft Access database, the outer join is not available due to limitations in the Microsoft Access database.

Additional Information

Join tables and queries in Microsoft Office Support.

Note Starting in Tableau 2019.1, you can no longer create a new Legacy Excel or Text connection. Existing workbooks created with these legacy connections will continue to work until 2019.2, when all support for legacy connections will be removed. See the Legacy Connection Alternatives document in Tableau Community for alternatives to using the legacy connection.

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