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Microsoft Access Tips and Tricks


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Compact and Repair

With use, your database will get bigger, as deletions are not removed, but new data are added.  The solution to this is to periodically click Tools > Database Utilities > Compact and Repair Database.  The operation should take under a minute.

We have found that Access 2003 has problems doing this with very big older (e.g. Access 2000) databases, but will usually be able to recover the database.  Make sure you have a backup before you try this for the first time!

Save As...

Access has no "Save As..." function, and this is a bother but not insurmountable.  Use "Windows Explorer" (shortcut: ÿ (Windows key) + E) or "My Computer" instead, and just copy the database.  Because Access uses a single file –unlike many other databases– making copies is easy.

Import Parts of other Access Databases

Getting tables, forms, and reports from other Access databases is done as follows:  Click File > Get External Data > Import...  Note: On the dialog box there is a hidden option (under Options >>) that allows you to import Relationships and/or Menus and Toolbars.


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Contributed Tips

1 – If you need to add the same logo or graphic to many reports in the same Access application: Create a stripped down report (E.g. Set "Has Module" = No) with only the logo and insert it as a sub-report. Nice space saving technique, and simplifies making app-wide changes.

2 – There are a number of wildcards, though most folks only use the asterisk “*” when searching. If the backend is SQL Server or the app is using an Access project they are a bit different. Here is a summary:

Matches Access SQL
any number of characters. * %
any single alphabetic character. ?
any single character within the brackets. [ ] [ ]
any character not in the brackets. ! E.g. [!ae] ^
any one of a range of characters. - E.g. [m-p] -
any single numeric character. #
[Contributed by Dan Elliott of Data Solution Services: dan.dss AT webmail.co.za]


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