Replace windows and Access with Mac and?

My HOA has an aging windows laptop. We need to replace it, I hope with MacBook Air. One problem is our membership is in Access. Any suggestions for a replacement?

When you say “in Access”, what does that mean? Is it a simple table of information, or is it a custom application someone has written?
How many people are in the database? might be a good fit, or


Years ago, I had a lot of data stored in Access. While Apple has no direct equivalent it does own FileMaker Pro. It’s a bit different to setup than Access, but in the end, it’s a relational database. I use FM Pro almost daily. Having said that, depending on the nature of your database, I’ve been digging more into Notion and think it can do a lot of what an Access database can do. Maybe worth a look. Hope this helps.


Also consider Memberful, as recommended in this thread:

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Access is a database application owned by Microsoft. (It is the bane of many corporate IT shops, FWIW.) does allow some degree of relational connections. I have found it much easier to use than Filemaker Pro - and way, way cheaper!

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Export the db (Access) into excel or csv. Upload into notion or airtable #imo

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I was aware.
There are different degrees of being “in Access.”
I made custom applications in Access in the past, or it could just be a table with or without a form.


What’s the level of technical competence involved here? If it’s higher, there are tons of SQLite apps available for Mac. If it’s lower, I’d honestly be looking to see if you can do what you need with an Excel spreadsheet. Low barrier to entry, and for many things it’s just as easy to enter data into Excel as it is into an Access form.

If you have to get FileMaker Pro to do what you need just buy a $500 Windows laptop every half dozen years and call it good. You’ll save so much on the FileMaker license that the Windows laptop will pay for itself.

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Definitely not for everyone, but if you know some SQL and use csv files and/or sqlite databases, but don’t love full-fledged database managers when you just want to take a quick look at some data or run a quick query or two … check out Datasette, which now has a desktop app: Datasette Desktop for macOS

Annoyingly it’s not supported on the Mac at the minute, but the Windows version of Excel will let you enter data in to a table via a form (it’s the first option here).

I would also second this - we have an Access form at work, but it’s basically just a couple of tables - the only lookup is for the building name. This could be done in Excel (and I wouldn’t have to boot Windows just to access the database!)

Exists on Windows and Mac and is compatible with PHP, SQL etc. A big community as well. You can be quite frustrated with it sometimes, but when the day is finished it always delivers.


OpenOffice includes a database component that is almost identical to Access: Apache OpenOffice Base

It also is free and doesn’t require a $20 a month subscription like Filemaker.

I use it for teaching relational databases and it works well, although it’s not particularly pretty to look at!


I was looking at Filemaker, and it was something like possibly $500 for an up-front purchase or a monthly purchase that equates to about $240 per year.

For a HOA, that seems like a pretty crazy monthly expense - especially when the objective is to try to get them to purchase a laptop that will already be more expensive. “Here, let’s spend $400 more on a laptop so we can spend $250 a year on software” is a sales proposition that I’m pretty sure has sold nobody, ever. :slight_smile:

Unless there’s a better way to get Filemaker that I’m not seeing … ?

The biggest problem I see with Filemaker even if you pay for it is that it costs even more money to create a publicly accessible website and there are some technical hoops to do it even then.

Airtable, Notion, and many others are much easier to create a database and share it. is great for sharing an actual web app.

Filemaker was great in its time, but I think its proprietary model of web sharing is archaic.

I’m not sure the original poster mentioned needing to get this on the web? In any case, while FileMaker is great, I’ve slowly moved away from it due to cost and the fact that I use it far less. My last consistent need and use of FileMaker was my custom invoicing which I’ve evolved for the past 15 years. Recently decided to try a switch to Numbers for something simpler, free, and perhaps more portable. Actually intend to make a separate post on the forum soon about that experiment.

In any case, depending on what is being done with Access for this membership list, I’d suggest giving Numbers a try.


Please do…


It depends on the application, but I agree with Rob that LibreOffice Base is worth looking at. You would convert the tables to base and then redo the front end views. So, depends on the complexity of the frontend.

If the database design is stable and it just needs to be used, another route to investigate is packaging the Access database with Access Runtime (basically Access without the design tools for end users) and then trying to run Runtime with Crossover.

I haven’t tested either of these.

Replacing the aging laptop with a Windows laptop seems like the best route, though, unless a total rewrite of the app is on the table.


When you are not concerned about future portability back to Windows with the same UI/UX design, consider TapForms.

When you are concerned about remaining portable back to Windows in an equivalent UI/UX and/or need a database that can be shared in a team, consider AirTable.

When you are simply needing to keep a table (flat database) of HOA members, consider Numbers (macOS only) or Excel (translatable).


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I developed some Access “applications” in the late 90ies, which were used for 2 decades. Maybe even today… :smiley: