SQL Server CE

SQL Server CE

Microsoft SQL Server Compact or SQL CE is an embedded relational databases intended for use both on mobile devices and desktops. SQL Compact shares common programming interface with other SQL Server editions, making it easy to use for .NET developers familiar with standard SQL Server.

There are many limitations compared to a standard SQL Server instance, but that’s expected for a small embedded database engine. You can’t write stored procedures, for example - but one of the main purposes of stored procedures is to avoid frequent network round-trips to the server. With embedded databases, stored procedures have less appeal. Also, XML data type is not supports in SQL Compact.

SQL Server Compact holds its databases in a single file with .SDF extension. However, that extension is just a recommendation, so any extension can be used for the database file. SDF files can be compressed and encrypted. If database is created with password specified, it will be encrypted and will never allow access without correct password.

Some of the well-known competitors to SQL Server Compact are SQLite and Pervasive PSQL, which run on many more platforms compared to SQL CE.

Full Convert supports SQL Server CE database directly. SQL Server CE is also known as SQL Server Compact Edition, SQL Compact, SQL CE, SQLCE (related files: sdf).

SQL Server CE data types we support


bigint, int, smallint, tinyint


decimal (numeric), float, money, real


nchar, ntext, nvarchar (sysname)


binary, bit, timestamp, varbinary



Large objects

image, ntext



Export SQL Server CE database

It may make sense to migrate your data away from SQL Server CE. You may want to do it permanently or just need to share your tables with a collague in a different format.

We will copy all your tables with their data and apply indexing and relationships exactly as they are in your current SQL Server CE database. In a nutshell, you get exactly the same database in another database engine. Each time you run the migration, we will copy all the tables again. Of course, we have a built-in scheduler, so you can run this overnight and have a fresh database copy in the morning.

Take a look at the quick tutorials below to see how it's done.

Import data into SQL Server CE database

Additionally, if you want to import data on a regular basis and do not want to recreate the whole target database from scratch every time, but rather do tiny targeted sync of only changes since the last run, please use Full Convert Pro or Ultimate.

Take a look at the quick tutorials below to see how it's done.