Free Auction Software
O.K. Almost free -- I'm looking for donations to my sons' school's PTL.

Auction database description

This site contains free software for running an auction, primarily a charity silent/live auction. The primary tool is a database that is used with Microsoft Access. However, I also have some supporting files such as an Excel workbook that can be used in support of the process or perhaps could even be used independently for small auctions. I also have some Word documents that use mail merge to create a catalog and bid sheets.

There is an overwhelming choice of commercial auction database software solutions. I have not used any of them so I cannot make any positive or negative recommendations regarding any of them. However, I do want you to know that they exist and that my work does not have the testing, support, or documentation that these commercial products have. However, the tools that I offer are very flexible and should be usable by anybody who is proficient with Microsoft Office. 

You will have to be have someone on your team who is somewhat tech savvy, preferably familiar with Microsoft Excel and Access. The amount of technical knowledge that you need will depend on what you are trying to do. If you are running a small auction, you may find that one person using my Excel workbook may be sufficient and this may offer an order of magnitude improvement over doing the same thing manually. This would require nothing more than a reasonable familiarity with Microsoft Excel. If you plan on using multiple computers networked together running the Access database, someone will need to have quite a bit more technical knowledge. However, the knowledge to do this is well short of professional knowledge. A motivated person who is familiar with Microsoft Office should be able to do fine.

The good news is that you can download the database and other files, run them, modify them, and see if they suit your needs. The files are not “demo” files. They are completely unencumbered and I am simply asking for a donation based on the honor system.

Although Access is a Microsoft Office product, most people do not have it and are not familiar with it. I have more information on what Access is and does in the documentation. If you actually use the database, I recommend buying the full version of Access. However, I have information on how you can use the free runtime version to run the database. This free version of Access is great for running the database on multiple computers and it allows you to try the database for free.


Use this at your own risk. I am not a professional programmer. The other disclaimer is that even though I am looking for payments for my sons’ school PTL, I am in no way acting as an agent of the school or PTL.


You can't resell or re-distribute content or derivatives from this site outside of your organization. However, you can make modifications to suite your own needs and distribute them within your organization. Basically, I do not want to see someone taking my work, making a couple of tweaks, and reselling it.


This database is not quite free, I am asking for donations to the PTL (Parent Teacher League) at my sons' school. None of the files are encumbered in any way, so you are welcome to try the database or other files to see if they suit your needs.

Many of the auction software packages that I have found are several hundred dollars. However, this is not a professionally written and documented package.

I'll leave it to your own judgment and consience as to what is an appropriate amount, but any donations are appreciated. You are even welcome to wait until after your fundraiser to pay.

Trinity Lutheran School PTL
123 E. Livingston St.
Orlando, FL 32801-1598

At this time, I do not have any method of selecting online payments. Thus, a check is preferred. Please make a note that the donation is for the auction database.


I do not have time to give technical support, but I can be contacted at “thejohnbell" with an at sign and then "" Making drastic improvements such as automated credit card processing are well beyond my capability, but making minor improvements and corrections may be considered.


I have yet to receive any feedback and would appreciate any comments that you might have. Follow the link to a comment form. All comments become public, but it is anonymous in the sense that you can leave out any identifying information. You can also drop me an e-mail using the contact information above.

Comment Form

Links and Files

note: These are the actual files as opposed to a trial version. They are not encumbered and are fully usable. The example files are versions where I have added some test items, bidders, and donors so that you can see how they work.


DatabaseInstructions.pdf (updated 11/2/2010)

DatabaseInstructions.doc (updated 11/2/2010)

Blank Files

AuctionDatabase.mdb (Access 2003 or newer Updated 3/23/2009)
note: This version is no longer being updated.

AuctionDatabase.accdb (Access 2007 or newer 11/1/2010)
note: This is the recommended and current version, but requires Access 2007 or newer.

If you use the Excel 2003 version, make sure that you continue to save it as .xls rather than as a newer version. There are some issues with the way Excel translates the Excel 2003 to 2007 formatting.

AuctionDataWorkbook.xls (Excel 2003) (Updated 2/3/2010)

AuctionDataWorkbook.xlsx (Excel 2007) (Updated 2/3/2010)


Example Google Sheet

ExampleAuctionDatabase.mdb (Access 2003 or newer)


Microsoft Word files for use with the Excel Workbook

BidSheet.doc (updated 3/23/2009)

Catalog.doc (updated 3/23/2009)

BlankThankYouLetter.doc (updated/3/23/2009)

Microsoft Word files for use with the Access Database

BidSheetAccess.doc (updated 3/23/2009)

CatalogAccess.doc (updated 3/31/2009)

Other Links

If you are unfamiliar with Access and want to download Microsoft's 30 day trial version:

I have used Square several times for taking credit cards. It works well. You can pick up a device at Walmart, Walgreens, Target, Best Buy, etc.


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