How to collect data in MS Access via email with Outlook

Beginning with version 2007, Microsoft Access included a feature that seamlessly links your database table to Outlook and makes it easier to collect user data via email messages. This quick tutorial will show you the steps for setting up the email template for collecting the data as well as the steps for processing the collected data.

Creating the email message

Follow these steps to create the email message:

  1. Select the table that you need to collect the data for from the Navigation Pane.
  2. From the External Data tab on the Ribbon, in the Collect Data group, click on the Create E-mail button.
  3. The Collect data through e-mail messages Wizard should open as show in Figure 1.

    collectdata1

    Figure 1

  4. Click Next. The next screen will present you with the option to choose the type of email form you want to use. You can only use either HTML or InfoPath forms (see Figure 2).
    collectdata2

    Figure 2

    Select HTML if your users do not have InfoPath installed on their machines.

  5. Click Next after you have made your choice.
  6. If your table contains existing data, the next screen that shows up is where you’ll choose whether the data you’re collecting are new information or for updating the existing data in your table (see Figure 3).

    Figure 3

    Figure 3

  7. Click Next after you have made your selection.
  8. The next screen (see Figure 4) allows you to select which fields from your table you would like to include in the email message for collecting the data. You can set the order of the fields or change the label captions for each field.

    Figure 4

    Figure 4

  9. After you have selected all the fields you want to collect, click Next to see the next screen (see Figure 5).

    Figure 5

    Figure 5

  10. This screen allows you to specify which Outlook folder will be used to store the email replies for the collected data. You can change the default location by clicking on the folder’s name and then switch to the Outlook window and select or create a new folder (see Figure 6).

    Figure 6

    Figure 6

  11. From the same screen (see Figure 5), you can also specify if you want all email replies to be processed automatically, which means that the data collected will be automatically added to your Access table. To control how the data is processed, you can click on the link labeled “Set properties to control the automatic processing of replies.” This would open up the Options screen (see Figure 7).

    Figure 7

    Figure 7

  12. From the screen shown in Figure 5, click Next to move on the next step.
  13. The next screen specifies how you would like to provide the email addresses for the recipients of your message (see Figure 8).

    Figure 8

    Figure 8

  14. If you select to provide the email addresses from an Access table, clicking Next will present the screen shown in Figure 9.

    Figure 9

    Figure 9

  15. Select the email address field from the current or related table and then click Next.
  16. The next screen allows you to specify the subject line and body of the message (see Figure 10).

    Figure 10

    Figure 10

  17. Click Next to see the next screen (see Figure 11). This screen is informational only.

    Figure 11

    Figure 11

  18. Click Next again. The next screen allows you to select specific recipients for the email message, send the message to all recipients (see Figure 12).

    Figure 12

    Figure 12

  19. When you’re ready to send the email message, click Send.
  20. When your users get the email message, all they have to do is reply back by filling out the form in the message with the information being requested.

Managing Automatic Reply Processing

After you have set up your data collection email, you can go to the Message Options screen to change its settings. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. From the External Data tab on the Ribbon, in the Collect Data group, click on the Manage Replies button. The Manage Data Collection Messages dialog window should come up (see Figure 13).

    Figure 13

    Figure 13

  2. With the data collection message template you want to modify highlighted, click on the Message Options button.
  3. The Collecting Data Using E-Mail Options dialog window should open up (see Figure 14).

    Figure 14

    Figure 14

  4. From this screen, you can check or uncheck the options you prefer.
  5. Click OK to close the Options window.
  6. Click Close on the Manage Data Collection Messages dialog window.

Processing Replies

If you did not set up your email data collection to be processed automatically by Outlook, or if a reply failed to be processed, you can manually process each reply by following these steps:

  1. Locate the folder you designated for storing the collected data in Outlook.
  2. Right-click on the user’s reply you want to process and select Export data to Microsoft Access.
  3. On the Export data to Microsoft Access dialog window, verify the data to be added to the table and click OK.
  4. If the export is successful, you should get the confirmation window shown in Figure 15.

    Figure 15

    Figure 15

  5. You must repeat these steps for each reply you want to process.

Conclusion

Since Access 2007, database developers can now automate external data collection via email messages using Outlook. If you have users who need to send out surveys or questionnaires and want to avoid the manual process of collecting feedback, you might consider giving this new feature a try.  More importantly this type of integration is actually possible via a web browser and in the cloud with Access hosting’s remote desktop hosting. All you need to do is sign up for an Office Pro plan with MS Access and Outlook to try it free for 30 days.

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Preparing your Access database for the web

Preparing You Access Database for the Web

Have you considered running your Access Database on the web with Sharepoint and Access Services?

Access Services does not support all the data types, relationships, objects, or events that the full Access client provides. If you’ve created a web database from the start, only the supported elements will be shown during the design process. For those who have not created a web database from scratch, it is still possible to get your regular Access database up to the web with Access Services.

Access 2010 includes the “Web Compatibility Checker” tool. This tool checks the web compatibility of the tables in a database as well as web objects. However, the tool does not check any data within the actual tables and does not check linked tables from other data sources.

The goal of this tool is to make sure that the database is “web-legal” and to get you up and running with Access Services in a functional manner.

To run the Web Compatibility Checker tool in Access 2010:

1. Go to FILE > Save & Publish
2. Click “Publish to Access Services
3. Click “Run Compatibility Checker

Once you’ve completed this process and fixed any errors, the next step is to get the database up to a Sharepoint server.  You can get up and running with a Sharepoint 2010 Enterprise server for as low as $49 per month from AccessHosting.com

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Compacting your MS Access Database

As files are deleted over time, the space within your access database file can become fragmented. This will result in your database growing to a much larger file size than it needs to be. Regularly compacting your MS Access Database is a great way to improve the performance of your database and reduce the file size.

**Important** Make sure no other users are currently accessing the database!

Access 2010:

You can compact the database you currently have open by clicking File > Compact & Repair Database on the info tab in Backstage view.

Access 2013:

To compact the database you currently have open, click Database Tools > Compact & Repair Database

compact_2013

Pro Tip

How to compact your database when you close it

You can tell MS Access to compact the database each time you close it.

Open your database > Click the FILE tab  > Click OPTIONS > Select the Current Database category > Select the Compact On Close checkbox under Application Options.

Note: If multiple users are sharing the same database, Access compacts the database when the last user closes it.

compactonclose

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Reasons to switch to a MS Access Database

Switching to a MS Access Database can be a great improvement to the workflow of your business. Whether your converting data from dozens of spreadsheets, trying to speed up reporting for that large Excel workbook,  or looking for a database that multiple users can collaborate on remotely, MS Access can be the cloud-ready solution that you are looking for.

It’s easy! – Getting up and running with an Access database doesn’t require hours of training or hiring a database administrator. Users familiar with the Office Suite will find it quite easy to get started using a database along with tips and tutorials from the web.

Sharing Data – Only one person edit effectively edit data in an Excel spreadsheet at a time. If you share a spreadsheet with many people, editing the information across many sources can cause issues for the workflow. Microsoft Access locks the row of a table being edited by one person so that no conflicting changes can be made by another user, while still permitting many other users to access or update the remaining rows in of the database table.

Data Control -  Typically, different users will need to edit and update information in the database. MS Access allows for options to control this data to ensure consistency.

Affordable – Traditional client-server databases can be quite expensive. Hardware, software, and development costs can be quite high for most applications. Being a desktop application, each user must either have a copy of the software or purchase access to their database hosted on a remote cloud service.

Flexibility – It is very easy to create, design, and implement functionality to your database. MS Access allows you to make changes to elements of your database without conflict.

Cloud Ready – MS Access 2010 and newer works great in the cloud environment. If you  need to share your database and collaborate with others either locally or across the globe, you can run the database on a remote computer with relative ease. For more information on running your database in the cloud, check out the plans at http://www.AccessHosting.com 

MS Access in the Cloud

 

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Check Our Access Database Uptime on Access Hosting

hosting server uptime graphic

We recently stumbled onto a great uptime monitoring service to better service all of our access database servers and customers. This service will let you easily check if your Access web databases are online and available on both our SharePoint Access Services plans and our Remote Desktop hosting plans. This is a great tool for us to make sure that our uptime is to our high quality standards of 99.9% and for you to check if the problems that you are experiencing are just related to your username or Sharepoint site or is a wider issue for everyone on the server.

You can view our SharePoint Access Hosting Uptime here

You can view our Remote Desktop Uptime here

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How to add users to your Access 2013 Web Database


Here’s a video demonstrating how to add new created Active Directory users (that paid hosting plan customers can request via our helpdesk) to your SharePoint 2013 and Access Services 2013 database.

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Back by Popular Demand: MS Access Services 2010 Standard Plan

We are happy to announce that we are bringing back our SharePoint 2010 Standard Plan on MS Access Services 2010 for $49/month. The plan includes 1GB of storage and 5 users on SharePoint 2010 and brings back the more robust and powerful options of Access Services 2010 and the Hybrid Application development. Sadly, Office 365 has limited support of Access Services 2010 and the Access 2013 web app was a complete redesign of the more powerful Access Services 2010. So SharePoint 2010 with MS Access Services is back by popular demand! For $49/month, you’ll be able to harness the power of the hybrid application and publish to Access Services 2010 with full SQL reporting.



The video above is a great example of the power of the Access 2010 Hybrid Application. It should be noted that while our $49 plan is only available for SharePoint 2010 our SharePoint 2013 Enterprise Plan supports both Access Services 2010 and 2013.

You can sign-up for a free SharePoint 2010 MS Access Services Trial here.

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Now offering managed dedicated Windows Server 2012 Hosting

Access Hosting is proud to announce Managed Windows Dedicated Server Hosting for Windows Server 2012 and 2008 R2. Access Hosting offers the latest Hyper–V virtual dedicated servers based on Windows Server 2012. Now your virtual machine can be more powerful and resilient, and include incredible limits for processors, memory and storage. Each virtual dedicated server performs like a stand-alone physical server. Hosting plans are entirely customizable to your business needs, so please check out this link to learn more about Windows Server 2012 hosting or fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you with a pricing quote.

WindowsServer2012_02

 

Request pricing on a Windows Server

  • Tell us a little bit about your project and server requirements (RAM, Storage, etc)
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Web Reporting with Access 2013 Web Apps on Office 365

We are happy to report that our Remote Desktop hosting can be configured to connect to Office 365 to use Access to report on your Access 2013 web apps.  Our Remote Desktop hosting allows you to use the power of Office 365 as your backend and then you can use our HTML5 PowerRDP technology to get around Office 365’s inability to render Access 2013 reports in the web browser.  This is a great way to get more out of your Office 365 subscription with MS Access 2013.  If you already have a $29/month Access 2013 Pro or Office Pro plan, you should be able to follow the quick tutorial below to start building web reports for Access 2013 web apps.

Step 1: Open your Access Web App in MS Access 2013

reporting-office365-msaccess13-1

Login to Office 365 and Navigate to your Access Web App.  Click the customize in Access button to download the Access 2013 .accdw file and open it in Access 2013.

Step 2: Report on your Access Data

report-on-my-data-office365-msaccess13

Navigate to the Info tab of your Access 2013 web app file (accdw) and select the “Report on my Data” button to create an Access frontend that can report on your Office 365 / SharePoint 2013 backend.

Step 3: Create Reports in your Access Frontend

reporting-office365-msaccess13-2

Now that you are using linked tables to connect to Office 365 and your SharePoint 2013 Access Web App, you can take advantage of all the features of the full version of the Access 2013 desktop client.  Create and design your reports, forms and queries.  Remember to close and save all reports and save your Access frontend file on the Remote Desktop.

Step 4: Reporting now works on Office 365

reporting-office365-msaccess13-3

Now your reports are connected to Office 365 and accessible from any machine, tablet, device and web browser via our Remote Desktop hosting!

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Our new Starter Plan includes OpenOffice

2013-02_Apache_OpenOffice_Logo-Proposal_ChrisTa

Access Hosting is proud to announce the availability of Apache OpenOffice on our low cost Remote Desktop Starter plan. The $19/month plan is now loaded with a great collection of free and productive business software from the MS Access runtime to Adobe Reader and OpenOffice. Apache OpenOffice is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages.

You can get started testing out OpenOffice and our Access Remote Desktop by signing up for a $19/month free trial.

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What is the difference between Access and the Microsoft Access Runtime?

Unless you’re an Access developer, you’ve probably never used the Access Runtime before. Since our basic RDP hosting plan comes with only the runtime, we get a lot of questions about what the runtime is and how it is different from the version of Access on their computer and which remote desktop hosting plan would work best for their Access database.  Hopefully, this post will help steer you in the right direction.

What is the Access Runtime?

Microsoft describes the runtime as such, “The Microsoft Access Runtime enables you to distribute Access applications to users who do not have the full version of Access 2013 installed on their computers.”  It’s a free download from Microsoft as opposed to part of the expensive Office Professional suit that includes the full and powerful version of Access that Access developers have installed on their desktops.  It’s the equivalent of Adobe Reader – it lets you open PDFs and is free, but lacks many of the features found in Adobe Acrobat.  If you want to do anything of meaning in Access or if you’re an Access developer, you want the paid, full version of the program.  The runtime is intended to be used with already designed databases so data-entry and other users can simply open your database file and interact with your forms and access application.

I still don’t get it

Let’s take a closer look at the famous Northwind Traders database in the Access 2013 runtime and the full version of Access.

Northwind Traders in Access 2013 runtime

Northwind Traders in Access 2013 runtime

As you can see this complex database easily opens in the Access Runtime and gives you access to everything that was designed in the Access App: create new customers, view invoices, etc.  But you’ll notice that there is no Access ribbon and you cannot use the navigation and or see the database structure and design.  There are really no tools beyond what is built within the database.  I’m sure you can see the advantage of this type of security for Access developers.  The Access Runtime makes it impossible for a user to alter their application and they can even have limited access to the database and records themselves.

Northwind Traders in Access 2013 full version

Northwind Traders in Access 2013 full version

Here is the same database in the full version of Access 2013.  I have access to all of the tools in the ribbon.  I can create new forms, queries, reports or view the tables and records directly using the left sidebar navigation menu.  None of these features are available in the Access runtime.

The Access runtime only really has one menu that is included in every database – the file menu.

access runtime file menu

All this menu really lets you do is print the forms and reports that you are able to access in the secure stripped down version of the already developed Access database application. Conversely, the full version of Access lets you create new databases, edit and save databases, print and much more from it’s file menu:

the real access 2013 file menu

Hopefully this has helped you figure out what the Runtime is all about.  If the limited nature of the runtime works for you, then our $19 RDP hosting plan should work for you and your already developed Access database.  If you are more comfortable with the full paid version of Access installed on your computer, then you will want to go with our $29/month remote desktop hosting plan.

 

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Microsoft Office 365 Plus from Access Hosting Free Trial Sign-Up

Office 365 on any device

We are proud to announce that we will soon be offering Microsoft Office 365 direct from Access Hosting. Our Office 365 Plus features the Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite – including Exchange, SharePoint and Lync Online – combined with our specialized support and expertise. Before we roll out all the bells and whistles, we want to open up this new and exciting offer to anyone who is interested in a free trial. Simply sign-up using the form below, and we’ll contact you directly and set you up with a free Microsoft Office 365 trial.

Office 365 Free Trial

Please fill out this form to see if you qualify for an Office 365 Free 30 day Trial
  • Please enter a value greater than or equal to 1.
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Running MS Access Applications on an Android Kindle Fire

Running your Access application on the Kindle Fire can be accomplished in just a few simple steps.

img_52b899958a37e

Here’s what to do:

1. Download the Microsoft Remote Desktop APK and move it over to the Kindle Fire via USB or emailing it to yourself. Note that this is a zip file and you will need to unzip it before moving it over.

2. Change your default Android Kindle settings to allow This is known as “sideloading” your application into Android. You may need to setup the Kindle to accept unknown applicaitons first by doing this:

Fire Settings

Click your settings tab

Fire Applications

Navigate to Applications

Fire Settings 2

and allow applications to be installed from unknown sources (set to On)

3. Install the Microsoft Remote Desktop application to your Kindle.  You can do this by navigating to your Downloads folder (if you emailed it to yourself) or the folder that you placed it in via your USB connection.  We’ve found the free ES File Explorer app to be incredible helpful way to browse your Kindle’s Harddrive.

img_52b888ad593f2

3. Pin the newly installed Microsoft Remote Desktop application to your home screen

new RDP

4. Configure the Remote Desktop Connection. If you are using our Remote Desktop Hosting Service  this information will be provided via email.

rdp config

5. Connect the Remote Desktop and run your Access application. Our Remote Desktop Hosting Service is available for Access 2007/2010/2013 and the Access 2010/2013 Runtime

This new version of the Remote Desktop client supports all of the Kindle gestures and features easy to navigate keyboard and mouse touch screen equivalents. Your users will find that the Access .mdb and .accdb applications they know and love work just fine on the Android Kindle Fire Tablet.

 

 

Posted in Access 2003, Access 2007, Access 2010, Access 2013, Access on the Kindle, Remote Desktop, Remote Desktop Hosting, Tips & Tricks, Video Tutorial | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Remote Desktop App for Windows 8.1

Microsoft has released a Remote Desktop application for Windows 8.1 users here. This is a significant improvement over the traditional RDP or RDC client and offers some unique features. In addition to improved performance and reliability this updated app includes:

On-Screen Keyboard

For devices that do not have a physical keyboard attached, the Remote Desktop app now provides an easy way to bring up the touch keyboard from the command bar. Simply swipe from the top or bottom edge of the screen and tap on the Keyboard icon.

Dynamic Resolution Update

Another improvement available in Windows 8.1 allows the Remote Desktop app to dynamically update the resolution of the remote system when the local resolution or size of the app changes to provide the best experience.

There are multiple ways you can see this in action. First, if you have a tablet device that supports rotation (like the Microsoft Surface 2), you can rotate the device with a live connection to a remote PC and see the resolution in the remote session automatically update to reflect the change in orientation without the need for a full reconnection. Depending on your connection speed, the rotation can be as fast as the local resolution.

This new version is fully compatible with our Remote Desktop Hosting solutions for MS Access.

 

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Access 2013 Tip Of The Week

This short video shows you how to expose all of the web database templates available for Access 2013. Works on Office 365 and hosted implementations of Access Services 2013.



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Using a SharePoint 2013 Foundation List as an Access Backend

We are happy to announce the availability of low-cost SharePoint foundation hosting plans. These plans start at only $99 a year and while they do not have the publishing features of Access Web Services, these SharePoint 2013 plans are still great for Access Developers. You can use SharePoint Lists as you backend and easily have anonymous website users add information and input data using SharePoint’s list functionaliy without having to pay per user enterpise license fees. Watch the video below to see the type of Access development and features that we’re talking about:



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Running Microsoft Access 2003/2007/2010/2013 on a single machine .. and that machine is an iPad

No parlor tricks here – just the Microsoft Remote Desktop App connecting to hosted remote desktops running the last 4 (count em FOUR) major releases of MS Access. This allows most applications to run unmodified in the cloud using the version of Access they were originally developed in. Take Access anywhere using any device without the hassle and expense of application rewrites.



Posted in Access 2003, Access 2007, Access 2010, Access 2013, Access and the iPad, Remote Desktop, Remote Desktop Hosting | 2 Comments

Setting up the Microsoft RDP connection for the iPad and iOS 7

This short video will step through the process of creating an RDP connection on the iPad



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Why is my database blank when I upload it to the Remote Desktop?

Problem: I just uploaded my database to remote desktop and when i open it, I get a blank Microsoft Access page

We have received a lot of these support tickets lately for users that have signed up for the RDP starter plan.  Remember that the starter plan does not include the full version of Access – but rather the Access Runtime. The Runtime does not have the same feature set as the full version of Access.  One of the differences, is that it lacks the left-side navigation to jump between forms making it essential that you set a start-up form in your Access Database BEFORE uploading it to your RDP Starter plan.  Developers often create a home navigation form that allows users to jump around within a runtime app but as long as you have set some kind of start-up form, when you upload your database it will not be blank when you open it on the RDP Starter Plan.

How do I set a Startup Form in my Access Database?



Of course, if you would like to use the Full Version of Access – you can sign up for a Free Trial of our Access Pro plan here.

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Adding a Splash Screen to Your Access 2013 Web Apps



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