I get the error message “Could not delete from the specified tables”

Applies to: Access for Microsoft 365, Access 2019, Access 2016, Access 2013, Access 2010, Access 2007.

Once you run a delete query, Access might show the error message Could not delete from the specified tables. This article displays cases in which you can apply a delete query, explains why the error message emerges, and offers steps for fixing the error.

There are several ways to erase records in Access. For a clearer explanation of removing records, see the article Ways to add, edit, and delete records.

In this article

Introduction

Why am I seeing this error message, and how do I fix it?

Introduction

Anytime you want to erase multiple records from a table in one operation, you can employ a delete query. A delete query is successful when it:

  • Applies a single table that does not have a relationship to any other table.
  • Integrates two tables that have a one-to-one relationship.
  • Employs a single table that is one the “one” side of a one-to-many relationship, and cascading delete is enabled for that relationship.
  • Encloses both the table on the “one” side of a one-to-many relationship and the table on the “many” side of that relationship (for example, to use criteria on a field from the “many” table).

Important: You must run the query twice to delete records from both tables.

Why am I seeing this error message, and how do I fix it?

If you create a delete query by applying numerous tables and the query’s Unique Records property is set to No, Access presents the error message Could not delete from the specified tables once you run the query.

To repair this problem, set the query’s Unique Records property to Yes.

  1. Enter the delete query in Design view.
  2. If the query property sheet is closed, press F4 to launch it.
  3. Select the query designer to display the query properties (rather than the field properties).
  4. In the query property sheet, find the Unique Records property, and set it to Yes.

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