8 Benefits of Using Collaborative Software in the Cloud

Cloud technology was a global phenomenon just a few years ago, but it is now integral part of business operations. The cloud has been particularly helpful to companies that use collaborative software like Microsoft Office, specifically Excel and Access, as it allows for safe, quick and encrypted access to potentially sensitive data — from anywhere in the world.

If you are contemplating moving your collaborative software to the cloud, there are eight very clear benefits of doing so.

1. Reduced Hardware Costs

The cost of purchasing and installing sophisticated IT systems can be considerable, particularly for startups and small businesses. But using the remote servers of a cloud provider like Access Hosting means companies and relatively small organizations can bypass these costs and save money. There is no systems maintenance or management cost, but just a fixed monthly subscription that makes financial planning simple.

2. Reliable Security Features

The use of collaborative software can pose significant security problems. Several users all accessing and sharing the same data via different devices is a situation with inherent risk. But cloud storage providers offer protection from all the latest viruses and malware. And depending on the provider, there may be the option of two-factor authentication at login. Most cloud providers offer automatic updates, which means businesses don’t need to pay IT specialists to update several physical servers and devices with the latest protection.

3. Remote Working

This brave new world of cloud computing is making the traditional office environment increasingly obsolete. Users with access to collaborative software in the cloud can view, share and update files from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. That means you can collaborate in MS Access, Excel or even Quickbooks without having to physically be in the office. This can reduce costs, improve staff morale and boost productivity levels.

4. Reduced Operational Costs

Most businesses have fluctuating bandwidth costs, so there’s often a need to scale up and scale down capacity at short notice. Cloud storage allows businesses to pay for only the capacity they need, rather than wasting cash on excess storage and bandwidth.

5. Seamless Collaboration

The success of collaborative software — such as the many packages developed by Microsoft Office 365- relies on the ability to share, view and edit files in real time. Any updates made to files in cloud storage are immediately available to all users, so they’re able to make their own contributions in the knowledge that they have the latest information at hand. Best of all, our terminal services collaboration plans allow for developers to leave their MS Access Database as-is and move it into the cloud seamlessly.

6. Cost-Effective Disaster Recovery

Every business needs to prepare for the worst when it comes to data storage. A man-made or natural disaster has the potential to wipe out a business’s data in seconds, so having a plan to continually back up data — and restore lost data — is essential. However, this can be a complex and costly process, and it can put a huge financial and administrative strain on small organizations. Collaborative software in the cloud usually includes disaster recovery measures, saving businesses time and money.  Access Hosting takes daily backups of our architecture and you can add individual file backups for as little as $20/month.

7. Improved Competitiveness

Small businesses often struggle to compete financially with their larger competitors. Collaborative software in the cloud can level the playing field in this respect. Cloud computing is cheaper than installing and maintaining physical IT infrastructure, which makes it possible for smaller organizations to be competitive within their industries.

8. Restricted Access Based on Security Clearance

In an organization with hundreds of employees, it is inevitable that certain people will need to access sensitive files that aren’t for general consumption. Providers of cloud-based collaborative software offer varying levels of user access, so sensitive data remains private.

Cloud technology gives businesses flexibility, reliability and simplicity — and cuts the cost of doing business. This is why more and more organizations are transferring their collaborative software to the cloud.

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Getting Started with an Access Wep App in Sharepoint

Note : This article is written for an Access 2013 web app using Access Hosting’s Sharepoint 2013 Enterprise plan, you will need Access 2013+ and this subscription configured for Access services.

Access 2013 introduced a new way to make a database available in the browser, called the Access Web App. This first article focuses the general features and points for consideration when developing your Access database.

With the release of Access 2013, you can create now create two different types of database applications, the first is the traditional desktop database. This has traditionally been called an Access database and consists of one or more files stored on your computer, network, or remote server with Access or the Access runtime installed so that you can open and operate these databases.

The second type of database application you can create is called a 2013 web app (not to be confused with the Sharepoint 2010 Web Database). These Web Apps can only reside within Sharepoint 2013 Enterprise or newer.  They are not created and do not reside on your local computer.

No need to publish design changes!

A web app is cleverly designed so that everything is hosted on Access Hosting’s private cloud, so while you are using a desktop copy of Access to work on changing your design, all the changes you make once saved are automatically saved up to our Sharepoint solution. This means that there is no publishing process, but it also means that you can’t easily undo your changes (or mistakes). Keeping a backup of your own work is very important, but Access Hosting also backs up your entire site collection (not just the web app) every night so we can restore your entire site from a major blunder.

Your web app can be placed in your personal folder in Office 365, or created in a Team Site/Subsite. Team Site/Subsites allow for you to both collaborate with other licensed users and what are known as external users. An external user is someone with a FREE Microsoft Online account (easily obtained), and you are allowed between 500/10,000 external users depending on your subscription.

Access Web Apps run in your Browser

Access Web Apps run in your browser. This is where most of your users will interact with your application. Web Apps do not have the same robust design features as traditional desktop based applications.  When designing a web app you will find yourself switching between your installed copy of Access on your desktop computer and the runtime browser window.  You’ll have to have Access installed on your computer to make changes and design the Sharepoint Web App, but will often want to reload your browser to see your changes take effect and to visualize the end user experience.

Simplified Design Tools

The MS Access interface used to design web apps is very different than the traditional design tool so you will need to spend some time getting used to the new interface. It is relatively simple and offers standard form views and formats to get an Access web app up and running quickly in Sharepoint.

Tables and Lookups

When designing an Access Web App, it helps to forget everything you already know about designing a traditional ms access desktop database application.

Web Apps do not have the customization options and power of a traditional access application (if you have a powerful Access application developed for the desktop, you can look at our Remote Desktop hosting which lets you leave your robust database application or custom software as-is while you move it to our private cloud). Don’t worry though, your ms access database still stores data in tables. In an Access web app, you can easily jump from table to table using the navigation included on the left pane of the browser.  Tables can be re-ordered, hidden, have the captions changed and a graphical icon changed. This acts as the primary method of navigating between parts of your application.

access web apps table view

You relate your tables together using a lookup. For those familiar with desktop databases then think of a web app lookup as a combination of desktop lookups and table relationships. There is no place in the web app to view all the lookups together, these are managed individually as part of the table design process.

Once tables are linked by lookups, Access will automatically create views of the data which link the data together using the lookups. For example in an order processing system, an order will have a lookup to a list of products in that order. Access will then automatically create a view including a list of related orders for each product.

If you don’t use lookups, then you will miss out Access saving you time by the process creating views of your data automatically. Once you have these different views of your data, you will find that some of them are exceptionally useful for viewing data from a different perspective. If you find something that you don’t like, you can remove it that view from the web app.

anatomy of an access web app

Views for displaying your data

When you select a table, then on the top right of the main screen area next to the table selector is the View Selector for the chosen table. Microsoft Access will automatically create a List (Details) View and Datasheet View (Big Excel Sheet). You can then add to, remove, re-order, re-title and change the views.

Easy Data Search

access web app search

The default List View comes with a built in search bar feature. By default, your web app will search every field for whatever you type in. Once again, Access does all the hard work for you.

Restrictions on Primary Keys

A web app only supports one kind of primary key which is an auto-incrementing number (this is similar to the Autonumber data type found in a traditional desktop database and the Access Web Services 2010 primary key restrictions). The key field will automatically be named ID, but you can rename it.

Working with Existing Data

Access has great features for importing data, but you should note that upgrading a database to a Web App is very much starting from scratch; You can import your data into your web app, but you will have to design all your views, reports, forms, and other functionality from scratch (mainly because web apps can’t do everything that a desktop database can).  Before you try an import an existing desktop database, make sure that you change your desktop database so that every table has an autonumber primary key, and every foreign key is a long integer. If you don’t do this then you will run into problems.

Certain legacy data types are not supported, and those fields will not be imported. OLE Objects and Attachments are not supported. Instead there is a new Image data type which supports .gif, .jfif, .jpe, .jpeg, .jpg, or .png formats (notice that the bmp format is not supported).

If you have data in Attachments or OLE Objects, then these will need to be extracted and held outside the database in separate files, the exception is for supported image formats in

Data stored in SQL

The web app data is held in a SQL database on Access Hosting’s servers, these are automatically managed as part of your Subscription and hosting plan. You can create as many web apps as you like with our plan and are only restricted by storage (which can be upgraded at any time).

Programming Macros

To program a web app you use macros (VBA is not supported!). There are two different kinds of macros. User Interface macros manage how a user interacts with you application interface. Data macros are used to perform operations on your data.

Connecting your Web App to a Desktop Database

While Access Web Apps DO NOT support VBA programming or provide a browser based reporting capability, you can use the Access Desktop application to link to your data online to perform more complicated actions. You can quickly and easily connect to your Access Hosting Web App to create reports and more.  Check out this tutorial and video on how to use this feature.

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How to Decrypt a MS Access Database

As a reminder, it is critical that you remember your password  — if you forget your password, there is no method by which it can be retrieved.

Step 1: Select the Microsoft access database file that you want to open and choose Open Exclusive.

Open encrypted access database

Step 2: Once you select the encrypted access database and are ready to open it in Microsoft Access. A dialog would pop up to ask for database open password.

Step 3: Type database password in Enter database password box. Click OK.

enter-password-to-open-access-database

Step 4: Remove a password from a database

When you remove a password from a database, you can restore it at any time (or replace it with another password) by repeating the steps in our post about How to Encrypt an Access Database.

Go to the File->Info section and select Decrypt Database.

decrypt ms access database online

After prompting you for the current password one last time, all encryption will be removed and your database will no longer require a password to open.

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How to Encrypt an Access Database

If you are using our Remote Desktop Hosting to host your database and you want increased security, you may want to consider protecting and encrypting your MS Access database with a password.  If you know the password for an encrypted database, you can also decrypt the database and remove its password. This article explains how to encrypt a database by using a database password, and how to decrypt a database and remove its password.

In earlier versions of Access, you could create user accounts and passwords using a feature called user-level security. This topic does not discuss user-level security, which is not available when you use the .accdb file format.

If you encrypt a database and then lose the password, you will be unable to use the database. You cannot remove a database password if you do not know the password. Access Hosting cannot recover or decrypt an Access Database on our servers without your database password.

How to Encrypt an MS Access Database File

This is a process of setting a password to encrypt access database, restricting access to Access database.

Step 1: When access database file is open in Microsoft Access, tab File > Info.

Encrypt Password location in Access 2010

Encrypt with Password location in Access 2010

Encrypt Access 2016 database

Encrypt with Password Location in Access 2016 is the same place

Step 2: Click Encrypt with Password button under the info tab for the database.

access-database-open-prompt-message

Sometimes, maybe you will receive a message to ask you to open the access database with Open Exclusive mode at first, otherwise you cannot encrypt database. When this happens, click OK and follow the prompting message.

Step 3: In Set Database Password dialog, enter a powerful complex password in the Password box and type it again in the Verify box. Click OK to finish MS access database encryption.encrypt-access-database-with-password

DO NOT FORGET THIS PASSWORD!

Remember that this is an optional and additional security feature for our Remote Desktop Hosting services and blocks access to your database even from our own support technicians.  If you forget this encryption password, Access Hosting cannot decrypt or restore your database.  If you have any further questions about this feature, please open a support ticket at http://support.accesshosting.com

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Announcing Quickbooks Hosting options and integrations

Quickbooks Hosting

We are currently hard at work on some exciting new hosting options including QuickBooks  Hosting in our private cloud.  We are going to build out and extend our Remote Desktop hosting options beyond Office 365 and into a full-featured QuickBooks Desktop at anytime, from anywhere. Increase collaboration and flexibility in a secure, fully-managed environment.  We are currently in the final stages of testing with some hand-selected clients who were looking for this feature and would be happy to notify you as soon as it is a widely available.  If you are interested in hosting your quickbooks application alongside your Access database and Microsoft Office, please provide your email address below:

Get Notified when this new feature is available:

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Here is a quick list of features and benefits to using our hosted Quickbooks solution.

Multiple QuickBooks Hosting Versions

Run any number of full-featured, desktop QuickBooks editions or versions from QuickBooks 2013 Pro to QuickBooks 2016 Enterprise. Use additional versions of QuickBooks at no extra charge.

Full-Featured Desktop QuickBooks

Access the full features of the desktop versions of QuickBooks from anywhere.

Multi-User Access

Have multiple users access the same QuickBooks company file at the same time. A business user and their CPA can be in the same file at the same time.

Multiple QuickBooks File Access

Access multiple QuickBooks company files from a single log-on, all within your hosted desktop. You can work with multiple company files for the price of just one user login.

Save Time

With a hosted desktop by Access Hosting, you are able to access your files from anywhere at anytime. There is no more waiting for clients to send their files. Instead, you are able to share the files from your computer, no matter where you or your clients are located.

Increased Security

Access Hosting handles all of the server management. Your data and applications are stored in SSAE-16 compliant, top-tier data centers. Fully-clustered server redundancy, encrypted communication, encrypted backups, firewall protections help to secure your data and applications against natural disasters. Rather than keeping your servers in house, our server management increases your data security.

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Microsoft Access Explained: Reports

Reports are the primary means by which you print information from your cloud database for use by company personnel and clients. You can certainly format and print in datasheet view directly from a specific form or table, but the best way to print and summarize large sets of data from multiple places in your database is through the use of a visually appealing report.

Reports are the best way to create a printed copy of information that is extracted or calculated from data in your database. Reports have two principal advantages over other methods of printing data. First, reports can compare, summarize, subtotal and total large sets of data. And secondly, reports can be created to produce attractive invoices, purchase orders, mailing labels, presentation materials and other output you need to efficiently conduct business.

When designing a report you are able to group data and present each group separately by defining separate headers and footers for each group. You can also perform complex calculations within a group or across several groups. As with other items in Microsoft Access, you can embed pictures of charts in any section of a report. You can also embed subreports, which are particularly useful for showing related details or totals of the records that make up specific rows of your report.

All of these functions can be set up in the design view of a report, but because reports are primarily used for printing hard copies of your databases essential information the primary view used to work with reports is the print preview view.

Remember that for Access 2013 Web Apps, Reports have to exist in the Microsoft Access client so anyone who wants to view them will need an Access Frontend installed on their computer and connected to Sharepoint 2013.  Access 2010 Web Databases offer browser-based reporting features with the powerful hybrid application.  All client based reporing works in our RDP hosting environment.

Being able to print attractive reports is an essential component of Microsoft Access and will benefit your company greatly. This way you can provide hard copies of essential information, which has been drawn safely and accurately from your company’s web database. Check back in with Access Hosting for more information on all the Microsoft Access web database software can do for you and your business.

 

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Microsoft Access Explained: Queries

Queries are used to sort or filter data and display data from more than one table at a time. Although you can certainly build forms and reports that get their data directly from tables, most the time you will want to aggregate data from a number of tables at one time.

There are two basic types of queries within Microsoft Access.

A selection query takes information from the tables and queries in your database. When you define and run a select query Microsoft Access creates a recordset of the selected data. In most cases, you can work with a recordset in the same way that you would with the table or form. You can browse through it, select information from it, print it and even update data within it. Unlike a real item, a recordset doesn’t actually exist in your database. Microsoft Access creates the recordset from the data in the source tables of your query at the time you run the action and provides you with a readout of the desired information from your web or cloud database.

Action queries insert, update or delete data. These queries will be essential when learning how to work within web databases. However, it is important to understand the basic functions of queries and how they operate within simple databases because all the techniques you use for working with a single table apply equally to more complex multiple table queries and all action queries will in fact begin as simple selection queries. Action queries can be used to archive data that is no longer essential to your cloud database, so that, if the data ever becomes relevant again, the record can be easily recalled.

Within design view, you will notice that queries possess a few specific visual signifiers that you may not be familiar with as of yet. The first is the asterisk (*) symbol. At the top of each field list in the upper part of the query window is an asterisk. This symbol is shorthand for selecting all the fields in the table or query with one entry on the field line. You can simply add the astrisk to the design grid to include all the fields from a list, or you can use the check boxes seen in the show row to indicate the fields that will be included in your recordset.

Next is the exclamation point (!) symbol. This symbol can be seen in most of the query commands pictured in the ribbon, and simply serves to remind you that a query must be run before it can create a recordset based on the design stipulations. When you begin to work with queries it is important that you identify the run command located in the ribbon within the query group.

Queries are the best way to focus on the specific data you need for the task at hand. You’ll also find the queries are useful for providing choices for combo and list boxes, which makes entering data in your database much easier.

For more information on running queries and other basic functions of Microsoft Access check back with the Access Hosting blog or contact Access Hosting customer support for immediate assistance with issues concerning your cloud database.

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Microsoft Access Explained: Forms

Forms are the primary means by which Microsoft Access allows users to review the data within your database. Forms serve several functions. Although they can simply be a means to change and input data into your database just like tables, forms are usually bound to an underlying table or query.

The primary function of forms is to present information in a customizable and easily understood manner. You can set options in a form that make all or part of your data read-only, fill in related information from other tables automatically, calculate values to be displayed, or show and hide data depending on the settings selected by a user. Remember that there are forms that will only work within the Access desktop client and then specific web compatible forms (Access 2010 Web Databases) and Web App forms (Access 2013 Web Apps) that offer less functionality but work with Sharepoint Hosting environments.

You can design forms that work with macros to automate the display of certain data or the sequence of certain actions. You can create special controls on your form, called command buttons, which run a macro or a basic visual procedure when a user clicks them. With these commands you can open other forms, run queries or data macros, restrict the data that is displayed, execute commands from the ribbon, display customized ribbons, print records, or perform a host of other actions.

You can also display messages on forms. Microsoft Access provides a MessageBox macro action and basic visual function that you can use to display information, warnings, or error messages. Although you will inevitably design and use reports to print most information about your relational databases, the ability to print with custom messages on forms is sometimes more desirable. Also, you can specify one set of options when Microsoft Access displays a form and another set of options when Access prints a form, so a form can serve a dual role. For example, you might design a form with two sets of headers and footers, one set for entering an order and another set for printing a customer invoice from the order.

To create a form, simply open the desired table, click on the create tab and find the forms group in the center of the ribbon.

At first the form might look a lot like a regular table, but if you enter design view you can see that it provides a many things that are unavailable in table design. Its structure is broken into three parts: header, footer, and detail.

Headers and footers are common features in forms, but the detail section is the most important. This is the part that is repeated for each record in our tables. To change the properties of the fields (which fall under the details bar) right click your chosen field and find the properties command. This will open up a property sheet on the right side of the screen. From here you can see all of the properties you can control with Microsoft Access, for whatever your selection type may be. You can also view the properties of the entire form by entering the properties command of the entire form. Here you can change the text that appears in the header of your form, as well as several of the more advanced properties.

Experiment with forms and you will quickly begin to realize all the benefits this aspect of Microsoft Access can contribute, and don’t forget to check back in with Access Hosting for more helpful hints about all that Microsoft Access can do for your business! Please feel free to experiment with any of our 30-day free trials.

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Microsoft Access Explained: Creating Items and The Wizard

To create a any new item in Microsoft Access, simply open the desired item from the navigation pane, click on the create tab in the ribbon, and find the appropriate group from the selections in black lettering at the bottom. Within each group there are four main ways of creating a new item.

The first is the basic command. This allows you to create a new form, table, query or report, and allows you to enter information for one record at a time. The next is the design command. This command opens the new item in design view and allows you to layout the new item in exactly the way that you want by adding controls and restrictions or tweaking the properties of the new item. Then there is the blank command, which gives you a completely blank version of the new item and allows you to begin working completely from scratch.

Finally, there is the Wizard. It’s a very helpful way of creating new items in Microsoft Access.

The Wizard is a command that allows you to create a new item from a series of dialog boxes. The first dialog will give you a list of all the available fields within the table that you can provide. To select a field simply highlight the name on the left side of the dialog and click the right arrow button to move the selected item over into the selected fields category. After clicking the next command at the bottom right of the dialogue box, you are given a choice of layouts. From there, you can name your new item and you choose to modify its design.

To change the properties of the fields, right click your chosen field and find the properties command. This will open up a property sheet on the right side of the screen. From here you can see all of the properties you can control with Microsoft Access, for whatever your selection type may be. If you were looking at a text box you would be able to see the name and the control source. There are also more common commands such as text align or font color or size.

Finally, you should also be aware of the navigation command within the groups under the create tab. This will allow you to control the front end of your database and what users are allowed to do with in your web database’s parameters.

Check back in with Access Hosting for more valuable information about how to optimize your Microsoft Access experience, get the most out of your company’s information, and better serve your business! Remember that we offer free trials and recommendations on how to get your MS Access database on the web.

 

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Microsoft Access Explained: Tables

Tables are the basic building blocks of any database. They are defined by a collection of rows and columns that separate the data into individual fields. When you open Microsoft Access for the first time it will give you a blank desktop and will automatically open a dummy table. The dummy table is simply a blank datasheet that will serve as the foundation for any database you will create.

After values of a few key fields are entered, you should be ready to begin to input data as short text or number values and create a basic datasheet.

When working in Microsoft Access there are three views from which to manipulate the information in the tables that make up your database: form view, layout view, and design view. To change views simply click on the view command in the ribbon and select your view from the drop down menu.

Form view is ideal for entering or updating information, while layout view will give you a clear overview of all the information currently entered in the table. Design view is slightly more advanced, and will allow you to restrict the data in certain fields by adjusting the properties and datatype or renaming a field.

Designing your own table from scratch may be helpful in certain situations, but don’t forget to check out the pre-loaded table templates that the Access software provides to help save valuable time and gain a better understanding of how to build your own tables with design view.

To begin creating a new table the first step is to change the field names. In design view and you can define the parameters of the table by labeling specific fields with a name and matching them with the appropriate datatype from the dropdown menu on the right. There are many different choices for datatype but most likely it will either be a number, which appears as a long integer, or short text.

You may also notice that an ID field is automatically entered to correspond with each entry. This is a number that is automatically given to each specific field to stand as its unique identifier.

Although it is an option, you should never remove the ID field. The specific identifiers may never be seen by users interacting with your database but they are essential when building more complex relationships between databases.

Take notice of the primary key command in the top left of the ribbon. Be sure that the primary key is set to the ID field so that each field can be independently identified and always unique.

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Microsoft Access Explained: What is a database?

A database is any collection of files and records, gathered with a particular purpose in mind. Think about all the information that your business records in a given day. Information on customers, employees, sales and accounting are only a few of the most essential databases a business would need to build to thrive in a modern economy.

The basic building block of any database are tables, or a collection of rows and columns that separate the data into individual fields. These datasheets make up a basic desktop database.

Microsoft Access is some of the most advanced relational database management software available to the public. It allows you to take basic database capabilities to the next level by incorporating tools, which allow users to build relationships across multiple databases.

The navigation pane to the left of the main window in Microsoft Access will display all the objects in you current database. Using the navigation pane will allow you to move between different forms, tables, reports and queries you have incorporated within your relational database.

It’s important to have a basic understanding of databases so that you are able to communicates about any issues you may be having or hand down tasks to subordinates who maybe using Microsoft Access for the first time.

Check back in with the Access Hosting blog for more explanations the basics of Microsoft Access, and of course don’t forget about Access Hosting customer service for additional questions about database basics or other issues.

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Working Offline with Microsoft Access online database

Becoming comfortable with working offline and syncing to an online database with SharePoint later is essential if you often travel or work in areas with intermittent Internet access. Newer versions of Microsoft Access make this transition nearly seamless and help you avoid losing any work. However, there are a few tips that you should know that will allow you to tweak how Microsoft Access works with any website database.

Before you begin using Microsoft Access, you should be aware of two common hazards of working offline. First, if you share a database with coworkers, they may accidentally make conflicting edits when you’re working on a database. When working online, you can recognize these conflicts almost instantly, but you may generate multiple record conflicts when working offline that will create additional work and double-checking. Second, synchronizing with an online database can time out, so you may have to limit the amount of records you edit at one time. The solution to both of these potential issues is to sync offline work with the online database on a regular basis.

Offline Mode with MS Access 2013 and 2010

Since the 2010 edition, Microsoft Access web database automatically places you in offline mode when the computer is not connected to the Internet. Please note that you’re still restricted to online-use only if you’re using the 2013 Microsoft Access web app.  Unfortunately, the offline functionality of Access 2013 Web Apps is non-existent.  If you are disconnected, your frontend reports and forms will stop working/rendering.  The 2013 Web App acts very similarly to connecting your backend data via ODBC or SQL – if that connection isn’t live, you can’t edit or access the data.

The Microsoft Access web database saves any table changes locally using a jet table. The program indicates offline mode with a status bar at the bottom of the screen. Then when you reconnect to the Internet, Microsoft Access will immediately try to reconnect with SharePoint 2010. If Microsoft Access is successful in connecting with the server, you will see a yellow box that asks if you want to send your changes to the server, close open objects and synchronize with the server. If you want to upload your changes to the server, click on the “Synchronize” button.

If you do not see this prompt, go to the “File” menu and choose the “Reconnect All Tables” option.

If you prefer to work offline, bypass online mode in Microsoft Access by clicking on the “External Data” tab. Select the “Web Linked Lists” group and click the “Work Offline” option.

To resume working online, navigate back to the “Web Linked Lists” group. Then click on the “Work Online” option, which will be exactly where the “Work Offline” option appeared before.

To sync database changes, select the “Synchronize” command in the “Web Linked Lists” group on the “External Data” tab.

To discard database changes, select the “Discard changes” command instead.

Working with MS Access 2007 or Earlier

Older versions of Microsoft Access do not have the automatic offline mode. Instead, you should specify when you want to work offline on a SharePoint database, and Microsoft Access will use XML caching to save your work. When working in areas with an intermittent Internet connection, consider working in offline mode and regularly syncing your work to avoid losing any data. Another option is to use one of Access Hosting’s Remote Desktop clients to protect your work and automatically backup your files to any cloud-based storage service when online.

To work offline, open the database on SharePoint and click the “Work Offline” option located on the External Data tab.

To resume working online, go back to the “External Data” tab and select the “Work Online” option.

To update the database with your work and see any changes made by coworkers, select the “Synchronize” option on the “External Data” tab.

If you prefer the greater control of the earlier XML caching, you can turn off the caching in the Microsoft Access 2010 and 2013 versions by navigating to “Access Options,” selecting “Current Database” on the left side and unchecking the box next to the option that says, “Use the cache format that is compatible with Microsoft Access 2010 and later.”

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3 Quick Ways to Verify the Integrity of Your MS Access Database

Many businesses rely on Microsoft Access to make critical decisions about their operations, from customer service production to lead and order management. The integrity of your online database, in terms of quality and security, is critical to the overall benefit that MS Access provides. For instance, if the information entered contains errors or referential data is missing, any queries or reports generated will contain issues.

For this reason, businesses must find ways to monitor the quality and security of their MS Access database. Here are three quick and easy ways to check MS Access database integrity today.

1. Check Places With Common Errors

First, it is worthwhile to review the quality and functionality for areas of the MS Access database that are liable to face issues from human error. By focusing on places and fields most likely to encounter errors, administrators can more easily and regularly check for potential issues that compromise database integrity. One of the features that most commonly faces integrity issues is anywhere referential data is used, since these data segments can allow one error to multiply and cause other issues.

For instance, in an MS Access database that is tracking active customer orders, a small mistake could have been entered in the client’s mailing address. If this information remains uncorrected, future product shipments and promotional mailings will fail to reach this customer. Furthermore, all data points and reports generated from this mistake will be inaccurate. This includes the conversion rates for marketing promotions, the number of customers who call to check on their order, and the demographic and location breakdowns of customer geographies.

2. Utilize Strategies to Secure Your Database

The overall security posture of your database dictates its integrity. Without a thoroughly secured database, the data contained within can be corrupted or accessible by others. There are three strategies that most MS Access users can deploy to better secure the database.

  • First, reset settings using an AutoExec macro. You can accomplish this by naming a new macro AutoExec. This will check and reset the security properties that the last work session may have changed.
  • Second, local databases should remain password protected to prevent unauthorized access. Anytime a user is terminated, a new password should be chosen. Enable your MS Access database password by visiting the security section from the tools menu inside of MS Access. Select the option to “set database password” and enter your new password.
  • Third, consider the security of the database itself. If some of the information needs to be accessible to only certain users, split the database using the Database Splitter feature to limit who has access. Remember that split databases don’t work with Sharepoint but are are compatible with our RDP hosting solution.

3. Verify Quality of Backups

No matter what internal policies and procedures are used to secure a database, something could potentially always happen. This is why it is critical to never assume that backups are completed correctly and that they are accessible. For this reason, one quick way to monitor the integrity of the MS Access database is to check on the quality and existence of backups. This is even true for those using a SharePoint app to host their database and make it accessible to other users. Double coverage is never problematic and may prevent major disruptions from occurring in the production environment.

MS Access databases can be powerful tools for business. They offer a streamlined way to manage and report on the data that businesses rely on. However, just like any other technology or resource, they can be prone to challenges if not properly maintained and tested. Using these three quick tips is a great way to start checking the integrity of your database. Once these tips are part of your regular maintenance routine, feel free to explore additional ways across this site to improve upon your business’s understanding and usage of the great tools that MS Access databases offer.

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Microsoft Access Explained: The Ribbon

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The ribbon is a Quick Access Toolbar shown at the  top of the Microsoft Access main screen. The ribbon contains some of the most widely used commands in Microsoft Access, and is divided into three main sections: tabs, groups and buttons or commands.

You may notice in small black lettering at the base of the ribbon each of the six main tabs are broken down into small groups. Have a look at these group names to assist you in finding the command you are trying to execute. Enabled commands are shown in black or full-color while other commands are greyed out. That is because these are contextual commands that are not always applicable to what you are trying to do. If the command you are looking for is grayed out be sure that you have the appropriate field or object selected.

Similarly, there are contextual tabs that only appear in certain view modes, and contextual menus with their own lists of commands hidden within certain parts of the ribbon. To access the contextual menus simply right click and a drop-down menu will appear next to your mouse cursor.

After you have familiarized yourself with the many functions of the ribbon you may like to take a look at the contextual drop-down menu by right clicking on one of the tabs. From there you can minimize the ribbon to give yourself more space to work in your main window or customize the ribbon to include the commands that you are using for a specific task.

Customizing the ribbon can save you precious time and improve your efficiency when doing repetitive tasks specific to the database you happen to be working on. Simply right click on the ribbon, click the “customize ribbon” command, and select “add new tab” from the menu screen. From there you’ll be given a list of all the commands Microsoft Access has to offer and you can add your most used or favorite commands into your own specialized tab. When you close out of the menu your new tab will appear on the ribbon next to the others.

If you enjoyed this explanation, don’t forget to check back in with Access Hosting for more helpful hints about operating the Microsoft Access software.

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Microsoft Access: Why It’s the Best Database Solution for Small Business

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Microsoft Access, a database management system (DBMS), has been around a long time — since the early 1990s. It has stood the test of time, as it’s still considered to be the best of the breed. MS Access has become even more important to businesses as a result of the evolution of databases and developers. While it is often shunned by IT professionals and the software has a few disadvantages, Access offers a number of benefits and remains very popular. Learn how to use Access as an inexpensive solution to increase ROI and integrate with other software programs without the need for complex programming.

No Complex Programming Required

MS Access is a top choice for business leaders, data managers and marketers who need an advanced way to collect, manage and report data. It is easy to install and create databases because it doesn’t require programming knowledge. In as little as a few minutes, managers can have a working database set up and ready to go locally or with one of the many cloud database solutions included in MS Access. It’s the perfect solutions for a wide range of users, from individuals to medium-sized companies. Power users have the ability to use it to develop application software and software applications to meet the database needs of larger clients.  Be sure to check out the power of our Access Cloud services with a free trial.

Inexpensive Solutions to Increase ROI

Unlike other database solutions, Microsoft Access is a very inexpensive option. It can save companies hundreds of dollars while offering much of the same capabilities. Smaller companies with limited budgets can take advantage of all that MS Access has to offer, such as implementation of an online database using a remote desktop client (our solution starts at only $29/month). There is no need for costly development, modifications or changes to any databases already in existence. Overall, this helps managers to increase their ROI, whether they use it for general business applications or to market their products and services.

Easy Integration With Other Microsoft Products

One of the most powerful features of Access is that it can be easily integrated with Microsoft Office, SharePoint and even other non-Microsoft programs like Oracle. SharePoint integration helps managers to share data, in addition to collecting and generating reports. When set up as an online database using cloud-based Sharepoint hosting, the opportunities are endless. Multiple users can access the database at the same time online without the need for separate desktop applications for each user. In addition, MS Access makes it a breeze to import data. For example, data can be conveniently collected via email and entered into the database through Microsoft Outlook.

Advantages Outweigh Any Disadvantages

The pros of using Microsoft Access far outweigh the cons, but a few are worth mentioning. File storage tops off at about 2GB for an Access Database, after which managers will run into some limitations or need to move the data to Microsoft SQL. These disadvantages typically won’t present problems for small- to mid-size companies, so there’s no reason not to consider using Access web databases.

Whether big or small, business managers can attain their bottom line with the help of Microsoft Access databases. Online database solutions and software integration can be implemented well within company budgets. While Microsoft Access is not without a few disadvantages, its ease of use and quick setup make the decision to use MS Access a no-brainer.

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How to Connect MS Access to InfoPath

With Microsoft Office InfoPath, you can design a form that is connected to a Microsoft Office Access database. By using these two programs together, you get all of the data collection advantages of InfoPath along with the data storage advantages of Access.

InfoPath advantages include forms that can be filled out while users are offline, a rich set of controls that make it easy to design and fill out forms, and data validation rules that are automatically imported when the form is connected to the Access database.

When you connect an InfoPath form to an Access database, you can choose whether you want to set up the database as the form’s main data source or secondary data source. If you want to edit and add records to the database by filling out fields in the InfoPath form, you should set up the database as the form’s main data source.

To use an Access database as the primary data source for an InfoPath form, you must start with a new form. You cannot modify an existing form to add a connection to a primary data source. Use the following procedure to create a new InfoPath form based on the sample database in Access:

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  1. From the File menu under New, click Design a Form.
  2. In the Data tab of the ribbon, click Data Connections and then push the Add button.
  3. Select receive or submit data and then select Database as the data source (Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Office Access only), and then click Next. Remember that you can always use our SQL server hosting as well to keep all your data connected and stored in the cloud rather than in a local MS Access file.
  4. Use the browser to find and Select Database.
  5. In the Select Data Source dialog box, browse to a valid Access database and select it.2-3-2016 9-00-43 AM
  6. Then Select the Table that you would like to collect data via InfoPath2-3-2016 9-02-47 AM

In the screenshot above, I have selected the Authors Table from my Books Database. By selecting the Authors table first, I have setup this table as the primary table for the data connection. I can continue to add other tables via this data connection method to MS Infopath. Additional tables create a one-to-many relationship. In Access, this relationship is defined by using a key field, which is a field that associates the records in one table with the records in another table.

When connecting your form to multiple tables in a database, InfoPath requires that the tables be connected by key fields. Also, the primary table in the data connection must have either a one-to-many or a one-to-one connection with any additional tables that you add.

By default, InfoPath connects to every field in a table. However, you might want to exclude a field, either because it uses a data type that InfoPath cannot connect to or because you do not want to work with a certain field’s values in your form.

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MS Access Tips: Creating Relationships Between Tables

MS Access Table Relationships

One of the things I like most about MS Access is its ability for data storage, recall, and analysis and its ability to build relationships between multiple data tables. Relationships increase flexibility in working with data. For example, a table that includes names, address, and ZIP codes for customers could be linked to a table that includes accounting information for customers, making it easy for a business to generate and mail invoices.

Microsoft Access lets you build numerous types of relationships. You can link fields from two tables in a one-to-one relationship: one record in field A is always associated with the same record in field B. You can create one-to-many relationships: one record in field A could be associated with numerous records in field B. Finally, you can create many-to-many relationships.

To create one-to-one or one-to-many relationship tables in Access, begin by opening your database and clicking on Database Tools in the top menu. Below, you’ll see the Relationship ribbon. Click on the Relationships button, and select the option Show Tables. In the Show Tables dialogue box, select one of the Access tables you plan to work with and click Add. Repeat that process, adding all of the tables you plan to work with.

When creating a one-to-one or one-to-many relationship, simply click on the field in the first table that will be related to a field in the second table. Holding the left mouse button down, drag the pointer to hover over the related field in the second table. Access automatically creates a relationship, and all you have to do is ensure the fields you are relating have the same data type.

To create a many-to-many relationship, first create a new table in Access. The new table should have an ID field and fields for the two elements you plan to relate from two other tables. After creating the new table, follow the steps for showing tables and adding tables to the design box. Then, follow the steps for relating fields with mouse clicks. This time, click on a field in table one and relate it to the appropriate field in the new table you created. Next, click on a field in table two and relate it to the appropriate field in the new table you created. Again, ensure all related fields have the same data type.

Relationship tables make your database more than a glorified spreadsheet. Creating related tables lets you build powerful Access databases you can use for a variety of business and personal functions.  Best of all you can test all these powerful function using Access Hosting’s specialized MS Access hosting services with a free trial.

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5 Unconventional Ways Microsoft Access Can Power Your Business

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Since it’s inception, Microsoft Access has been the go-to database for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Not surprisingly, as Access’s features and cloud capability have rapidly expanded over the years, so too have the different ways the technology is used. Here are a few of our favorites:

1. Employee Training

There are few things more valuable to a business than properly onboarding and training new employees. While for most companies the ROI on hiring and app developer for a training application wouldn’t be high enough to justify the cost, building them in house is an appealing option. And as the company’s hiring scales, moving the backend of the app to a server like Microsoft SQL Server will be a low-cost way to scale your training app with it.

2. Customer Relationship Management

For many small businesses, CRMs like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics are either too expensive or too cumbersome to implement. However, having accurate, up-to-date customer and prospect information is crucial to running client-facing departments . As an MS Access user, it’s more than likely that much of this data already exists there. By standardizing this information and creating relational tables for objects like leads and deals, you too can have a CRM without the cost and learning curve.

3. Displaying Access to Data

While we’re on the subject of prospects and customers, many of them will want to access some of the data that you store in your web database – for example, recent invoices or the date of their next appointment. You can easily deliver this data easily by offering them a form they can fill out on your site. ASP.NET forms can query a Microsoft Access online database directly, so by implementing them on your site, you can surface this data to your customers with limited effort from your developers.

4. Business Intelligence

If you’re like many, you’re using an endless string of VLOOKUPs in Excel to report on related data from different tables or sources. This is really a job for Microsoft Access’ relational tables. Built on top of Microsoft’s Jet Database Engine, you can use these powerful tools to easily create queries that quite literally fly.

5. Development Waterfalls

If you’re in software development, one common practice you’re likely familiar with is creating waterfall models to manage the progress of an application. Since you may be creating an application that leverages Access or SQL Servers as your backend, why not keep track of your app’s progress there as well?

These are just a few of many ideas for uses for MS Access – the beauty of the software is that it’s uses are really only limited to the imagination<.

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3 Great Reasons to Choose Microsoft Access

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The database market is divided among four major players: MS Access, Oracle, SQL Server and MySQL. Due to accessibility and focus on user interface, MS Access has garnered some negative press as being unsuitable for professional level database development. However, depending on the needs of the organization, there are many compelling reasons to choose MS Access as your business database software.

1. It’s widely distributed

MS Access is bundled with the MS Office suite, making it the most widely available desktop database program in the world. This also makes it one of the most affordable options for businesses, which tend to purchase businesses licenses of MS Office. The common interface among all the MS Office programs makes it easy to import and move data to and from the database without having to resort to specialized software. Due to the popularity of the product, support for MS Access is also very good, with plenty of online tutorials and articles available, in addition to Microsoft’s excellent customer service.

2. It’s user-friendly yet powerful

One of the main benefits of MS Access is its ease of use. Even users new to database development can pick up the basics quite easily, as everything is presented in an intuitive manner. Much of the user interface in MS Access is designed to assist users with creating and editing tables, and there are many templates available to ensure that the database meets organizational needs. MS Access also provides options for importing data from other databases, and provides troubleshooting tips for every step of the way.

Despite this focus on ease of use, MS Access users have access to powerful SQL tools that allow for rapid development. MS Access is also .NET friendly, meaning that developers wanting finer control of software development can take advantage of the ease of use and functionality of MS Access.

3. It has excellent third-party support

Due to the widespread popularity of MS Access, there are many third-party plugins and developmental tools that are available. This means that MS Access is far more flexible than other databases, making it easier to customize and adapt to the changing needs of your business. In addition, there are many more external consultants well-versed in MS Access, and they are generally more affordable than consultants for Oracle and SQL Server.

MS Access is an excellent database choice if your organization requires a database that is easy to use and that has established, reputable support structures. MS Access is powerful enough to meet the demands of most small to medium businesses.

Best of all you can utilize Access Hosting superior hosting infrastructure to further bolster your Access Database and get it in the cloud easily and securely.  All of our services offer a free 30 day trial so that you can easily test everything with Microsoft Access to make sure that it meets your needs.

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MS Access: How to Create Query Joins

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The foundation for any database software, like MS Access, is the ability to send a query. Organizing information and making it accessible on demand is what makes database software so powerful. Understanding how to craft queries can be challenging at first, but once you understand how to use select, action, parameter and aggregate queries, then you’re on your way to expertise. For truly complex queries and more complete data sets, you need to understand what query joins are, what they do and how they work.

Types of Queries

When working with an online database, there are four basic types of query joins: inner, left, right and full. These descriptors tell you where the web database is looking for the requested information.

  • Inner – An inner-query join allows you to search both tables and get results that match the query from either of the tables.
  • Left – A left-query join returns results that match the query from the left table and all matching rows from the right table.
  • Right – A right-query join works the same as the left join, but it uses the right table as the starting point.
  • Full – A full-query join returns any results where there is a match in one of the tables.

Exploring the “Join Properties” Dialog Box

When creating join queries, you must first create joins between tables and relationships between fields. When the “Join Properties” dialog box pops up in the Access web app, you will see three sets of options:

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First, you will need to select the left and right tables you want to join. There will be a drop-down list with all of the available tables. Designate the first one you want to work with as the left table and the second as the right table.

Query_Join

Next, you will need to select the columns to look at for each query. This allows the database on the web to only search for information in relation to those columns. There will be a drop-down list with all of the column names available. Select the column on the left and right tables you will be working with.

At the bottom of the dialog box are three options. These options are for creating a left, right or inner query. Select the type of query you want to use and move on to creating output fields.

Using join queries effectively allows you to do things like segment your mailing list for targeted marketing, find customer accounts more quickly and accurately, build customized reports and more.

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