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When your business is growing, you need to keep regular track of your finances. Microsoft Access and QuickBooks are two programs that can help you achieve this, but which system will work best for you? You want to make the right choice to fulfill your business needs while saving time. Discover the key differences between these two data management programs to help you choose.
Both Microsoft Access and QuickBooks are useful for collecting and managing data, especially for accounting. Both programs are also available in different formats to accommodate business size, but they differ in customization capabilities.
Small businesses often find QuickBooks to be a simple tool to manage their financial transactions. Alternatively, Microsoft Access is a more robust database management system that allows its users to build and develop applications unique to their business needs. It allows users to customize databases and templates and automate apps without the need of a developer.
There are even times when a MS Access database solution needs to integrate with Quickbooks and pull in financial data.
The time it takes to learn a system can affect a company’s productivity. If your business is implementing tools that require extensive research to use, then you have to assess whether it’s worth using that tool. QuickBooks is a popular accounting tool many small businesses use because it’s a simple accounting software tool to get started with when you have only a few business transactions to track.
On the other hand, Microsoft Access can be complex for some businesses starting out because of the knowledge required to use some of the functions and the time it takes to acquire this knowledge. For example, if a user wants to automatically sync his apps to the cloud, he must understand SQL compatibility formats. If he doesn’t understand how to convert his applications to a format that is compatible with SQL, then he’ll need to learn SQL or outsource the job. Luckily for you, Access Hosting has this expertise and can make this process easy for you.
Both Microsoft Access and QuickBooks have a multi-user support team, but the programs differ in how many people can use the system concurrently. For example, QuickBooks is limited to 30 users, as of 2016, while Microsoft Access can handle more than 200 users at a time on an enterprise level or with an Access Hosting dedicated machine.
Both Microsoft Access and QuickBooks offer cloud-based versions of their software programs, but these cloud capabilities are limited to the size of the business. For example, QuickBooks does not offer cloud-supported software for its enterprise level edition. Access Hosting is here to help you every step of the way as you move your data into the cloud and has a variety of solutions built around MS Access and Quickbooks. Private Cloud hosting is becoming a necessity for many businesses as the need to store data online keeps growing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Splitting your Access database offers numerous advantages, including increased flexibility, security, efficiency, and scalability.
Access is an amazing and powerful desktop application that lets you store data and interface with that data in the same file. You can even design your own applications with Access. Unfortunately, the only way to utilize the full power of MS Access is to develop traditional local desktop based applications. Luckily, you can take your powerful MS Access applications with split frontend and backend to the cloud with Access Hosting’s Remote Desktop Hosting.
Most developers agree that a split database is easier to protect and maintain but unfortunately this powerful approach is completely incompatible with SharePoint. When you split an Access database file, you end up with two files instead of just one (often the backend is an .mdb file):
Now onto the top 10 reasons to split a Microsoft Access Database:
1: Multiple users share the data
Perhaps the biggest incentive for splitting a database is to supply data to multiple users over a local network or on the cloud via Access Hosting. By storing the backend on a local file server, SQL or other cloud based solution and distributing the front end to workstations and users, many users can access and manipulate the data at the same time without running into record locking and other problems.
2: Everyone’s using the same data at the same time
By splitting a database, you know that all users are accessing the most current data because everyone’s accessing the SAME data. Not only are they all accessing the same data, they can all update it at the same time. That means a change made by one user is almost immediately available to all other users.
Having a backend moves all the data into a single database file (.mdb) or backend ODBC connection (SQL, mySQL etc). That means there’s only one copy of that data to manage and protect. Changes are immediate and available to all authorized users. Any administrative and development duties are implemented in the backend file, once.
3: Your data is better protected
Whole books have been written on database security, but it’s enough for you to know that you must protect your data. One of the easiest ways is to split your database. Placing your tables in a backend file protects your database design because users can’t directly access the tables via the interface objects in the front end. Therefore, they can’t alter or delete tables, even accidentally. Most of the users working in the front end won’t realize they’re actually working with two separate files, so splitting the database will have NO Negative impact on your users.
However, this arrangement is not a comprehensive security lock on design. Users who know what they’re doing can still open the backend, if they have access to it. Just bear in mind that splitting the database will minimize accidents — but it won’t stop someone who’s determined to get at your tables.
If security is a of utmost importance, Access Hosting’s Remote Desktop hosting adds an additional layer of security – requiring users to login to the MS Access frontend. Users don’t even need to have Access installed on their computer! We even offer HIPAA compliant dedicated server solutions for healthcare and medical data. Moving your data to a SQL backend also adds additional security and features to an Access application.
4: You can easily scale your application for the future
If there’s any chance that your Access database will grow out of its skin, consider splitting the database. It’s easier to upsize a split database to SQL Server (or some other larger relational database system) because you can easily link the existing front end to SQL Server tables. That way, the organization has the advantage of storing data in a larger database with most of the perks that come with doing so, while still using the interface and all of the reports and queries that you originally designed in the Access front end.
5: The user interface is easy to modify
Most databases grow and change with the business; they require new features or modified business rules. Changes to existing tables are rare, if you properly normalized them early on. Most changes will be in the front end in the form of new or modified forms and reports.
As long as your database is split, testing and implementing changes to the front end can occur with little or no disruption to users. You simply link the development front end to the production backend and test away. This won’t always be the case, of course, but testing new interface objects is easier in a split database configuration.
6: Deploying a new front end is a snap
If the user interface and data are stored in the same database, you must REPLACE the entire database EVERY time changes are made in a local environment. With our RDP solution, you can keep your database and app contained all in one file and more easily replace them on our server in 1 location, but it’s still not ideal. That’s a lot of unnecessary work and is especially problematic if no one in-house has the expertise to do it for you or if you have to visit each user’s workstation.
In a split database configuration, you simply replace the front-end ms access file and relink the tables. It takes a few minutes and requires little interruption of users. With our RDP solution, you can even login and do this for every user to completely eliminate any application support issues.
7: It makes life easier for offsite developers
A split database is easier for offsite developers to maintain and upgrade. The developer works offsite to implement changes and enhancements to the front end and then ships the new version to someone in-house (or uploads it directly) who has the technical expertise to deploy it. This latter process is a simple copy and relinking task that doesn’t require high-end expertise. You can train someone to do it or even talk someone through it over the phone. Many developers write a routine that automates the process. All the in-house technician has to do is double-click the installation file. This opens up a lot of long distance opportunities that a developer just couldn’t manage as easily with a single database file. Access Developers out there should interested in making their lives easier and moving their clients to a cloud based hosting solution should contact us about our Partner and Referral program.
8: Geography’s not a problem
A split database allows users in different locations to access the same data. For example, the backend could be stored on our servers in our SAS70 data center in Philadelphia, but users from all over the country can access the data via their local systems connected to a SQL backend.
9: Corruption is limited
Access databases are prone to corruption. One of the easiest ways to avoid this problem is to implement a split database, which is less prone to corruption. Nothing is worse than having a user corrupt your backend data!
10: It’s easier to get individual users back on track
Security in the front end is one way to limit user interference. However, some users require more flexibility than others and there are always trade-offs. Some applications will require tight front-end security, while others will allow more freedom to tinker.
When a user tinkers to the point of destruction, a split database is easier to repair. Rather than bringing the entire application and all its users to a screeching halt, you have only one user who’s unable to work, momentarily because they broke their specific Access frontend and not the entire application. The fix is usually as simple as recopying the front end and overwriting the changes that the person made.
I hope this was helpful to people who have an Access application at their business. If anyone is looking to learn more about our Remote Desktop and or SQL backend hosting options, please do not hesitate to contact us or sign up for a free trial to try it for yourself.
Running your Access application on the Kindle Fire can be accomplished in just a few simple steps.
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:
Click your settings tab
Navigate to Applications
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.
3. Pin the newly installed Microsoft Remote Desktop application to your home screen
4. Configure the Remote Desktop Connection. If you are using our Remote Desktop Hosting Service this information will be provided via email.
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.
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.
A Simpler Approach
AccessHosting.Com offers a unique, low cost, and scalable approach to getting your Access database into the cloud. Our entry level price point is just $19 month for a remote desktop session that allows a single user to run their Access 2007, 2010 or 2013 database without modification, and includes the rich feature set that Access developers are comfortable using and maintaining. Don’t be confused by the marketing hype surrounding Access Services and SharePoint in Office 365 – those solutions require significant conversion effort and a substantially reduced feature set to run Access forms, queries and reports in the browser. Our simple approach lets you take your existing database from the desktop intact with forms, rich reports, VBA code, and legacy macros and run it from any device that supports a remote desktop connection. That includes iPads, Kindle Fire, Surface Tablets and many other popular devices.
An Inexpensive Solution
With the Access Runtime environment you do not need a copy of Access for you users – only the developers of the applications. Without this requirement the cost of running your application remotely can be as little as $19/month per user. Additional users can be installed at any time to share a common backend database that is secured on the same remote desktop, offering a high performance solution to multi-user connectivity.
A Scalable Solution
Sometimes Access databases grow up to be very big – and performance suffers. We offer an easy way to take your traditional Access data file and convert it to a hosted SQL Server solution on our same network switching fabric, giving you a high speed connection to a scalable backend that will not impact performance as the size of your database grows.
How Do I ?
We understand that you sometimes need step by step guidance to perform a specific task. To that end we have produced many instructional videos to help you get started with our solution. Everything from moving your database form the desktop to the remote desktop, setting up local printing, and securing multiple users on your database is covered in detail in these tutorials.
Want To Learn More?
We are convinced that this is a great way for people to run Microsoft Access on the Web – but don’t take our word for it. You can test out solution obligation free for 30 days. There are no long term contracts or the “lock-in” typically found with QuickBase, Caspio, and other web database solutions. If the product does not meet your needs you will not be charged – simple as that.