Microsoft Access Development and Troubleshooting
Microsoft Office Access is a relational database management system (RDBMS) that has evolved steadily for more than two decades. The abiding appeal of Microsoft Access is that it is simple enough to be used by technically unsophisticated users to create custom database applications and by professional developers for quickly building full-featured front ends to more powerful RDBMS systems. Prior to the release of Access 2010, Office Access was exclusively a desktop application based on Microsoft's Jet database engine. Users with either the full Access product or Access runtime software installed on their desktops could work with databases stored locally or on various on-premises sources.
Access 2010 adds a browser-based Access web model that allows users to collaborate on data in the form of SharePoint lists and stored locally on a SharePoint deployment or in the cloud through an Office 365 subscription that includes sites. Access 2013 expands the web model by introducing the Access Web App, which allows users to create browser-based database applications using pre-designed templates or from scratch. You can publish Access app databases to a SharePoint 2013 site as a SharePoint App, storing the data on a back-end SQL Server. Adding a SQL Server backend provides a modern data platform with high performance, advanced data integrity, and easy manageability.
With desktop Access 2010 and later, users have the ability to work in a hybrid environment that supports both Access desktop and the Access web model. Enhancements introduced with Access 2013, Access 2016 and Office 365 Access have focused on improving the SharePoint web solution and offering advanced cloud services. Licenses for Access are available on a perpetual or, for cloud versions, subscription basis.
A number of factors have discouraged some businesses from migrating to the latest versions of Access or to the Access web model. Although Access desktop is underpowered by today's standards for performance, the feature set of Access desktop is far richer and more versatile than the SharePoint-centric web model. For example, Access desktop permits linking to external data rather than just read-only SharePoint lists, supports Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), permits action and crosstab queries, allows you virtually unlimited flexibility in formatting a report, and can generate complex reports that consolidate multiple databases. In addition, many small companies continue to depend on custom line-of-business applications built on older versions of Access that use features and compatibilities no longer supported in current releases of Access desktop. For example, support for pivot tables, pivot charts, Access Data Projects (ADPs), and source code control have been discontinued. Because a substantial portion of the small businesses who rely on legacy versions of Access lack an internal IT staff and in many cases have lost contact with the original developer of their custom application, the process of making even minor application updates can be challenging and migrating to the latest version of Access or to the Access web model can be virtually impossible without the help of an experienced consultant.
Progent offers affordable online and onsite support for all versions of Access desktop and Access Web App and has extensive experience helping companies to maintain, enhance, troubleshoot and document legacy applications and also to plan and implement efficient migrations to newer releases of Access and to integrate other components of the Microsoft Office suite. Progent also offers custom online training and mentoring for Access managers, programmers and users and Progent can help small businesses create and maintain secure, responsive, and affordable network environments for Access applications.
Progent's Approach to Microsoft Access Support
Many of Progent's Access clients have been left by their original developers with black-box systems where critical source data was never provided or was locked, making it difficult to make even the most rudimentary modifications. With Progent, the data, programming files, everything is yours. Progent does not lock anything and releases everything to you at the conclusion of a project, making it easy for any capable Access developer to make changes as your business evolves. Progent is also experienced at helping companies take a phased approach to updating and troubleshooting their line-of-business Access applications, minimizing disruption and controlling costs by helping businesses prioritize changes and completing critical tasks first while at the same time preparing large-scale projects. This measured approach has helped many of Progent's clients avoid budget-busting expenses while they modernize their information technology. Progent also helps keep costs down by offering efficient remote assistance for Office Access, eliminating the expense and delay associated with travel. Progent has found that few Access projects, regardless of size, require onsite support and Progent's Access experts have developed in-depth experience providing online development, troubleshooting, and mentoring services.
Progent offers a broad range of services for Office Access ranging from tweaking a report to managing a new application development project. Examples of services Progent has provided for various versions of Access include:
Progent can also help you migrate to cloud environments, develop web-based Access apps, resolve remote connectivity issues, set up test environments, deploy physical and virtual servers and user machines, design and validate backup procedures, and provide both individual and team training.
- Analyze and debug code
- Analyze database structure, normalization
- Streamline database architecture and tune performance
- Split database into front end/backend structure
- Merge, extract, convert, import and export databases
- Clean up, debug and modernize screens, menus, drop downs, buttons, and tabs
- Compact and troubleshoot tables
- Check relationships and data integrity
- Troubleshoot data corruption, file lock, password/permissions and printing issues
- Review workflows, management processes, and user training
- Create, modify, and troubleshoot scripts, searches and logs
- Write or troubleshoot code for auto emails and attachments
- Design screen flows and simplify navigation
- Design, update, enhance, and troubleshoot filters and queries
- Reconcile audit discrepancies
- Implement role-based screen access
- Improve speed and quality of data entry
- Integrate online portals and Google Maps
- Test and troubleshoot reports and calculations
- Incorporate branding in screens, forms, reports
- Format reports, forms and screens for different screen sizes
- Repair and enhance Excel and Word templates and fill-in forms
Features of Microsoft Office Access 2016 and Office 365 Access
Office Access 2016 offers relatively minor enhancements over Access 2013. Like other Office 2016 apps, a new Tell Me feature allows you to type the name of a button or command for quickly finding the associated options. You can also use the Linked Table Manager dialog to create an Excel workbook that contains all the linked data sources from an Access database application. Five database templates have been redesigned with a contemporary style, and the default size of the Show Table dialog has been expanded to display more table and query names. With Access Services and either SharePoint Online or on-premises SharePoint Server 2013, you can connect to your SharePoint site with a browser to manage user permissions and monitor usage for Access 2016 apps. Improved Access web app features in Access Services available with SharePoint 2016 include cascading controls, enhanced datasheet filtering and Related Item Control, more storage and better performance for images/, integration of Office Add-ins with Access web apps, and the ability to lock tables from editing. Office 365 Access now includes an updated Linked Table Manager, allows you to add new charts forms and reports, and lets you link or import data from Saleforce and Dynamics 365.
Features of Microsoft Office Access 2013
Access 2013 focuses on simplifying the creation of advanced web-based apps and includes a major enhancement to the Access 2010 web model by introducing a new architecture that uses SharePoint as a front-end host and SQL Server as the Access data platform. This offers improvements in the performance, integrity and manageability of applications built with Access Web App. Organizations can operate Access 2013 on premises with SharePoint Server with Access Services plus SQL Server, or they can use a cloud-hosted environment by subscribing to Office 365 and SharePoint Online. For on-premises deployments, users have the option of using the traditional desktop Access model based on the Jet database engine, the newer web model based on SharePoint and SQL Server, or a hybrid combination of the two models.
Access 2013 Web App allows you to import data from Excel, Access OBDC databases (e.g., SQL Server), CSV files, or a SharePoint list. Access 2013 desktop supports additional sources including XML, Data Services, HTML documents. With the Access 2013 Web App, technically advanced users can connect to the back end-to SQL Server database for Business Intelligence (BI) reporting with popular tools such as SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), Excel, Power View, and Crystal Reports.
Key Features of Microsoft Office Access 2010
Major improvements introduced with Access 2010 include easier database creation, enhanced forms and reports, a revamped user interface, codeless application design, and more powerful web publishing. To facilitate rapid application development, Access 2010 offers a broad selection of built-in or downloadable templates that include the tables, forms, reports, queries, macros, and relationships required to create working applications quickly. These templates cover areas such as asset management, education, finance, inventory, non-profit, sales/marketing, and time and billing. Databases created using Access 2010 templates can be customized as needed. Access 2010 also includes modular components in Application Parts to build custom databases rapidly. To create enhanced forms and reports, Access 2010 allows you to manage conditional formatting in a single view and supports data bars with conditional formatting. The introduction of Office Themes in Access 2010 allows you to consolidate and format multiple databases in a few clicks. Access 2010 incorporates the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface with the new Microsoft Office Backstage view to replace the traditional File menu. The Backstage view provides a central, extensible space for managing Access 2010 databases.
Access 2010 makes it easy to add automation and complex expressions for codeless application design. Expression Builder is enhanced with Microsoft's IntelliSense technology for simplifying the creation of formulas and expressions. Macro Designer is also enhanced to facilitate the addition of basic logic to a database. Access 2010 can also connect to a Web service as an external data source by installing a Web service definition file that can be controlled by a network administrator. In addition, Access 2010 offers improved support for sharing a database to the web. Through Access Services in SharePoint Server 2010, you can make an Access 2010 database available via a standard web browser window and you can use Access 2010 to make design changes. You can also use new features of Access 2010 such as calculated fields and data macros.
How Progent Can Help You with Office Access Solutions
Progent's Microsoft-certified developers can show you how to use Access Forms and Reports to manage tables for Access desktop in order to design and implement simple multiuser applications that utilize Microsoft's proprietary Jet Database Engine and require minimal if any code writing. Progent can also help you customize Access desktop templates to create specialized database applications quickly, and can help you follow leading practices to tune your Access database architecture for optimum performance. In addition, Progent can help you build, test, and deploy standalone database applications or front ends from scratch using traditional Access development tools such as Application Parts, Expression Builder, and Macro Designer.
Progent's business intelligence (BI) reporting experts can help you use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) to create new Access desktop reports, enhance old ones, or connect your reports to a variety of data sources. Progent can also troubleshoot existing management reports generated by Access desktop, design more efficient ways to secure and distribute Access desktop reports, or migrate your existing reporting environment to Access Web App or to more powerful management reporting platforms. Progent can also provide online line training for using the large selection of free application templates available for Access or for rapid development of custom reports.
Progent's database experts can help you plan and execute efficient application migrations from legacy database platforms or older versions of Access to current versions of Access, from Access desktop to Access Web App, or from Access to a more powerful RDBMS platform such as Microsoft SQL Server. Progent can help you assess the business value for your company to migrate to a cloud-based IT environment or to a hybrid computing model that includes on-premises and cloud-based resources. Progent can also help you evaluate the respective advantages of the Access desktop, Web App and hybrid application models. Progent's SharePoint Server 2013 consultants can show you how to publish and manage web databases by using the Access Services feature included with Microsoft SharePoint Server. Progent's SQL Server 2016 consultants, SQL Server 2014 developers and SQL Server 2012 software programmers can show you how to use Access to design reports, forms, modules, and macros in conjunction with SQL Server design tools to create tables, views, stored procedures, and functions.
Related IT Services Offered by Progent
Microsoft Technology Integration
Progent is a Microsoft Certified Partner and can provide world-class support for both current and legacy versions of Microsoft technology. Progent's Microsoft-certified application experts and Office 365 integration consultants can help you create cohesive, easy-to-manage database solutions by integrating Access with other Microsoft applications such as Outlook and Excel and with Microsoft server products including Windows Server, SQL Server, and SharePoint Server.
Network Infrastructure Design and Troubleshooting
Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers, Juniper Networks consultants, and other network architecture experts can help you plan, deploy, and maintain an affordable network design to support your Access database applications with fast performance, high availability, and tight security and compliance.
Security and Compliance
Progent's network security experts hold the industry's top certifications for information security including CISA, CISSP, CISM, GIAC, ISSAP, and CRISC. Progent can help you configure and monitor a safe environment for your Access database applications by providing services that include affordable remote security assessments for internal, publicly shared, and web-based applications, stealth penetration testing to validate security and compliance, 24x7 security monitoring, vulnerability mitigation services, and post-attack recovery support.
Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning
Progent offers extensive disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BC) consulting services to improve the availability of your critical Access applications under any circumstances. Progent's disaster recovery experts can help you design, verify, and document a strategy to ensure that your information system can survive a catastrophic event. Progent can also provide the services of a business continuity consultant who can help you develop a comprehensive business continuity plan that takes into account all parts of your business, not simply IT issues, to assure the continued functioning of vital processes in case of a disaster.
Other Relational Database Platforms Supported by Progent
Contact Progent for Office Access Solutions
Progent's certified professionals offer online application development and database administration support for other major RDBMS platforms. Consulting services available from Progent include:
If you are looking for a Microsoft Office Access consultant, call Progent at 800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.