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MS Office Access 2003

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    2 Reviews
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    • More +
      04.03.2009 21:27
      Very helpful


      • Reliability


      Recommended for those who need power over their databases.

      Microsoft Access is a database program which is extremely powerful.

      Unfortunately, because it is so powerful, it is notoriously difficult to use to its full potential.

      The first thing to note is that there are a number of sections where you can store different items:

      1) Tables: These contain your data
      2) Queries: These can perform filters on the above data
      3) Forms: Display and edit your data on the screen on a nice looking page
      4) Reports: Display your data in a pleasant way, mainly for printing
      5) Macros: Perform a set of commands (simple programming)
      6) Modules: Visual Basic programming language (complicated programming)

      Now, you don't need to know how to use all of the above to get a database working.

      Some parts of the program are very simple to use, such as designing tables. You can choose field names for your information and the data type. So, you might have "Email" as a text field and "Age" as a number for example. This will stop someone from entering "ABC" into an age field in your database.

      Queries can be simple or complicated. These are one of the worst designed parts of the program. When they work, they are amazingly powerful. If there is an error in there, the error messages you get often don't really help at all, they don't tell you which field it even applies to.

      Forms are easier to design and really help with data entry. Rather than having your database table set out like a spreadsheet, these allow you to move the fields where you want.

      Both Macros and Modules are easy to use if you can already program a computer. Macros are fairly simple even for non-programmers.

      One of the fundemental parts of the program is manipulating your data: getting the records you want. For this, you would obviously need to use a query, but as stated above the error messages given are most unhelpful. On occassion, I have deleted an entire query after a few hours work and started again. Although I have been sure it was the same, sometimes starting again can be quicker than fixing a problem.

      It is a shame as it can let the whole program become frustrating. On the other hand, I have written a few programs in Access that can control a whole aspect of a business and in a couple of cases, the whole business. When I worked in an education department, the software was written in Access. This shows the sheer power of the software.

      For simple databases, this may be a little too steep a learning curve for many. If you are willing to put the time in to get exactly what you want from your data, it is a powerful piece of software. The speed it can execute queries sometimes amazes me.

      Relational databases are simple to set up: where two tables are linked to each other through a common field.

      There are many things that are simply not possible in Access as standard. Fortunately, they have included the programming language. This makes almost anything possible, but you may need a bit of technical knowhow. I have been trying to get it to make cups of tea for me, but so far I have been unsuccessful on getting that to work. It can't do the ironing either, but other than these flaws, it has been able to do everything I have asked of it.

      The software is very reliable and I have had it running for 8 weeks (24 hours a day) without any problems. Sometimes the computers need restarting, but this has always been the fault of other software.

      There are a few problems however. The software is expensive to buy on its own and is often best purchased as Microsoft Office Professional. Many people get the standard Microsoft Office and you may need to know whether you would need Access before you order a computer. It would be nice if Microsoft could offer an upgrade for those who have the standard Office suite already. Error messages can be most unhelpful, sometimes only telling you that there was an error. The in-built help system is useless and the Microsoft Access section on the Microsoft website is overly technical and complicated. Good job other people have better websites to help you with issues with Access.

      Sometimes it tries to assume what you want to do and will fill or autocomplete bits you are typing in. Unfortunately, I would prefer the software to do what I ask it to do rather than do what it thinks I want it to do.

      All-in-all, I wouldn't like to have a computer without Access. The power and frustration that it can cause can save hours of work, when you eventually get it all work correctly. For simple, one-table databases, I would recommend you look elsewhere, otherwise, this is worth considering just for the power.


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      • More +
        06.04.2006 09:35
        Very helpful



        Small smart program with big use, needs training and learning


        Access is a database management system, it can help in decision making, its job is to store and retrieve information, it has Wizards and other tools to make database management east.

        Access cannot provide all services to all its users, it has by design useful database features for global needs. Special needs of Organization require programming an application created in Access. It has Tables, Forms, Reports, Data Access Pages and Queries. The Visual Basic can be used along with SQL and Macro programming to make Access cutomized to you.

        There are Dialog boxes which can be programmed to feed Queries. Macros can be made to perform actions when users click a button or a event occures. You can look at the codes of all 3 languages in code viewers.

        Like all other Microsoft Office programs the Visual Basic and Programming needs literacy of codes to make use of it for specific needs. You can make custom functions in the expression builder box or Code builder window, also custom functions can be made if the built-in functions does not suit the requirement.

        Access is not a simple software like word or other office components, I myself do not have big experience in working with Access, I have been using all my life PC, which is under sole use. So I dont get to make database applications for multiuser. But this program is there always on my PC and in my office CD.

        Elements of a Database
        (1) Your created Applicate (2)Tables (3)Queries (4)Forms (5)Reports (6)Data Access Pages (7)Macros (8) Modules.
        Applying property settings and methods to top level application object will inherit by everything in your application. If you apply active object on startup, it automatically saves all files when quitting.

        Control Objects:
        (1)Text Box (2)Buttons (3)Labels(4)Toggle Button(5)Check Box(6)Combo Box(7)Combo Box(8)Options Button(9)List Box (10)Command Button (11)Image (12)Unbound object frame (13)Bound Object Frame (14)Tab (15)Sub Form (16) Sub report (17) Line (18) Rectangle (19) Hyperlink (20) ActiveX.

        Dot operators are the names defined by Access and bang operators are the names defined by users. properties can be viewed usually only in design mode, each conrol has its own set of properties, there are 4 types of Control Properties.
        (1) Format (2) Data (3) Event (4) Other

        There are some useful points I gathered from here and there in random order to make this review complete :

        (a)viewing the list of objects that are bound to a selected object, also view the objects that are being used by the selected object.

        (b)Macros, modules, and data access pages are not searched for dependencies. Access projects do not support this feature.

        (c)Enabling error checking helps you identify errors and correct them.

        (d) rest your mouse pointer on the Error Checking Options button, click the arrow displays options to correct the error.

        (e) Display an option to update the property of all, that are bound to the field.

        (f) SmartTags property add a smart tag to field in a table, query, form, report, or data access page in a database.

        (g) Back up database before making major changes to it. The backup is saved in the current folder or default location.

        (h)Restore database, go to the backup, rename the file, and open it in Access.

        (i)Apply the chosen theme to views, dialog boxes, and controls. To prevent form controls inheriting themes from the operating system by setting an option on the database.

        (j)SQL and query Design views, can change font,size by using the Query design font option to Tables/Queries tab of Options dialog box under the Tools menu. The settings apply to all databases and works.

        (k)In the SQL view of a query database, can get help specific to Jet SQL keywords, VBA functions, and Access functions. Press F1 to bring the help that corresponds to text near the cursor. You can also search the Jet SQL and VBA function reference topics.

        (l)Importing, exporting, and linking to a Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services list from Access
        You can perform the following operations with a Windows SharePoint Services list:
        Export the contents of a table or a query to a list.
        Import the contents of a list into a table.
        Link a table to a list.

        (m)Exporting and linking to Access data from Windows SharePoint Services can export a list in its Datasheet view from Windows SharePoint Services to table or to a linked table in Access. When you export to a static table, create a table in Access. You can then view and make changes to the table independenty of the list. Similarly, can change the list in Windows SharePoint Services, and it will not affect the table in Access.

        (n)When exporting to a linked table, create a table and establish a dynamic link between the table and the list such that changes to the table are reflected in the list, and vice versa.

        (o) Make a local table from a linked table in Access 2003, make a copy of the structure or data and structure contained in a linked table.

        (p)Enhanced XML support in MS Access 2003, you can specify a transform file when you import data from or export data to XML. The transform is applied automatically. Import XML data, the transform is applied to the data imported, before new table created or existing one appended. When you export data to XML, the transform is applied after export operation.

        (q)At times a database contains lookup values stored in another database. Now include these related tables while exporting. Can include predefined filter or sort order for an object when exporting the object.

        (r) Macro Security, MS Access 2003 allows protection against unsafe VB Applications (VBA) code by setting the macro security level. Set security level that you are prompted every time open a database containing VBA code, or can automatically block databases from unknown sources.

        (s)Access uses Microsoft Authenticode technology to enable digitally sign a macro project using digital certificate. The certificate creating this signature confirms the macro originated from the signer, signature confirms it has not altered. When set the macro security level, you can run macros based on digitally signed by a developer on your list of trusted sources.

        (t)Block Unsafe Functions,Access utilizes the MS Jet Expression Service enhanced sandbox mode to block unsafe functions from being used in expressions.

        Microsoft Office Online is better integrated in all Microsoft Office programs you can take advantage of the site ,You can visit MS Office Online directly within your browser or use the links in various task panes and menus in Office program to get articles, tips, clip art, templates, online training, downloads, services to enhance your work with Office programs. The site is updated regularly with new content based on direct feedback and specific requests from you and others who use Office.

        Yo Access is a smart small program with big use !!!


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