Category Archives: Access 2013

Using Google Chromebooks with our RDP hosting Plans

Chrome RDP

We recently had a question about using Chromebooks to access our Remote Desktop Hosting and if they work.  The answer is that they absolutely do if you grab an RDP App and install it on your Google Chromebook.  It’s actually a great and cheap way to give your employees a laptop where they can still access a file server and the Microsoft Office Suite since all they need is an internet connection.  Here are the very few quick steps to use a Chromebook with your RDP hosting plan:

1. Download the Chrome RDP App from the Chrome webstore:

2. Write down or copy the IP address and port from the RDP link that you received when you signed up for an account.  Type/paste that information in the first startup screen:

Chrome RDP

3. Click connect and then enter your login credentials.  Your username prefix should be used as the domain.


4. Click OK to connect to the Windows Server and your RDP hosting environment.

Windows on Chromebook



Posted in Access 2007, Access 2010, Access 2013, Remote Desktop, Remote Desktop Hosting | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What is the differences between Access Hosting’s SharePoint and Office 365

I was recently having a very good chat with a potential customer that had some very good questions regarding Access and Office 365.  This person already had an Access app and was looking to share it online in the browser and was thinking that SharePoint was the best solution but was confused about what they needed exactly since they had an Office 365 plan with a few users with just email and a few more with Sharepoint and more.  It was such a good conversation that I thought it would be good to clarify some of the differences between Office 365 and our SharePoint 2013 Enterprise hosting plan for Access Web Databases and Web apps.

Cost Savings over Office 365

The most confusing part of the comparison is that the varying plans for Office 365 are quite confusing in and of themselves.  Office 365 is a sort of all encompassing term used to describe a lot of different products from Microsoft.  It can be as simple as a subscription to Microsoft Office software or a complicated enterprise plan with access to Exchange, Sharepoint, Yammer, and more.  If you’re interested in Access Web Databases or 2013 Web Apps, the first thing to determine is whether your Office 365 plan even includes SharePoint Enterprise.  You need to have either an Office 365 Business Premium plan ($12.50-$15 per user per month) or an Office 365 Enterprise Plan ($20 per user per month) to have access to the correct version of SharePoint with Access Services.  Obviously if you have a small business where you have 10 users or less and need email, exchange and everything in between, Office 365 is the better deal, but for a lot of people they need something more flexible.

Let’s say you have Office 365 and are paying $15-$20 per user and have an Access database that you want to host in SharePoint as a web app and share with some of your clients outside of your organization.  How do you do that if they don’t have their own Microsoft account/Office 365 account?  Our $99 SharePoint hosting plan has been tailor made for Access Services 2013 and 2010 and offers substantial cost savings over Office 365.  Right off the bat our $99 plan includes 10 users ($50 – $100 less than Office 365), and each additional user is only $3 per user per month vs. the $15-$20 per user Office 365 plans.  Best of all, you don’t need to pay for all the extra features of Office 365 that you don’t need for you and your clients.

Access Services 2013 and 2010 running Side by Side

Another cool feature about our $99 Sharepoint plan is that you can run 2013 Access Web Apps right alongside Access 2010 Web Databases since our 2013 SharePoint environment is running both versions of Access services.  We’ve already written about the differences of this technology in a previous post: picking between Access 2013 Web Apps and Access 2010 Web Databases.

Comparing Access Hosting to Office 365

Here’s a few more points about our implementation of SharePoint over Microsoft Office 365. An On Premise or 3rd Party Hosted Access Services 2013 implementation helps provide focused, reliable solutions for the following common customer needs:

  1. Web Based Reports: SQL Server Reporting Services can be used to create reports and link them back into the menu structure of the web app. Access 2013 web databases use the browser as the primary interface to the client. This environment provides an excellent cross platform solution that allows users to participate without a copy of Access on their desktop and create/read/update/delete records in the database, but it lacks a mechanism for reporting on that data. With SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) you have the ability to deliver browser based reports to your users alongside the Access 2013 web database forms.
  2. Anonymous Access: With this feature enabled Access web databases can be viewed by an anonymous read-only user without requiring authentication. We recently had a customer looking to provide an up to date inventory of their video game and pinball machine inventory to their web site visitors. With Access Services 2013 and anonymous access enabled inside the SharePoint web application, web visitors could view the entire catalog of available games and pricing information without authenticating to SharePoint. This is a powerful feature for any organization that wants to make their product inventory visible to any web visitor, delivering the information quickly and seamlessly without complicating the end user experience.
  3. Full control of SQL Server security: Access 2012 allows for the automatic creation of 2 SQL Server user accounts, one with read-only privileges and another with read-write.  While that is useful, some customers would like to extend this model to multiple user accounts. By creating multiple SQL logins via SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)  you can create a much more complex security model for applications that want to leverage the Access 2013 web database information stored in SQL Server. Password complexity and aging requirements can also be enforced on these accounts.
  4. Full control of the network firewall: Many Access 2013 applications require extended security to comply with corporate or regulatory requirements. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) security requirements are a good example of this necessity. In a self-hosted or 3rd party hosted solution you have enough firewall configuration flexibility to lock down your entire database by imposing restrictions on the network perimeter based on TCP/IP address ranges, machine names, and network protocols. A combination of these restrictions can be imposed to address any security mandate.
  5. Render http links in the web browser control of an Access 2013 web database: The browser control is a powerful feature in Access 2013 web forms that allows you to call external resources into your application. Office 365 requires https for all external links which limits the use of browser based resources that do not support https.  This restriction can be lifted in a self-hosted or 3rd party hosted configuration.
  6. Customized backup: You can create a backup rotation scheme in SQL 2012 for the Access Web Apps that mirrors the site collection backup routine in SharePoint. This allows for a synchronized full fidelity backup of the SharePoint site and the Web Apps with multiple restore points. We recently assisted a customer who required a complete snapshot of their SharePoint and Access Services environment to be available for rollback to 24/47/72/96 hour recovery points. In addition, the second and fourth snapshots needed to be available in a secondary data center in the event of a problem with the primary facility. All of this is easily accomplished in a hosted configuration where both the SharePoint and SQL Server environments are completely controlled by the hosting organization.
  7. Ability to change Access Services configuration parameters and SharePoint web application settings:  When running Access Services 2010 alongside Access Services 2013 you maintain complete control of the SharePoint service parameters for Access Services. These parameters can be tuned to enhance the interaction between Access 2010 and SharePoint lists and  eliminate the “List Threshold Exceeded” errors that can appear when using the default configuration settings and manipulating large tables. Full support for web based reporting in published Access 2010 Web Databases and permissive file handling for things like PDF can also be enabled when you have full control over the entire SharePoint Central Administration console.
Posted in Access 2010, Access 2013, Office 365 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Picking between Access 2010 Web Databases and Access 2013 Web Apps

A lot of casual Access users don’t realize the immense differences between SharePoint Access 2010 Web Services and Access 2013 Web Apps.   Access 2010 Web Services actually has a lot more features and is grander in scope than Access 2013, but it also has it’s limitations (and reporting never fully worked on Office 365 or BPOS) so it was scrapped and completely redesigned as Web Apps for SharePoint/Access 2013.   Basically Access 2010 Web Databases are dead in favor of Access 2013 Web Apps.  Hopefully this post will help inform you about their differences and help you pick which type of Access Web Database works best for your business.

The Power of Access Services 2010

The awesome thing about SharePoint Access Services 2010 is the way that you can easily build one database entirely in Access and as long as you keep passing the web compatibility checker, you can publish from this one file and have all the power of a hybrid application.  All your web forms, client reports, and client forms are all contained in one file that is hosted on Sharepoint.  It has built in support for working offline from Sharepoint and resycncing when you connect again online and inherently supports multiple concurrent users.  The power of the hybrid access database seems to have been too grand of an idea because it’s complexity is very demanding on SQL reporting services and was never something that worked on Microsoft old Business Productivity Online Standard Suite or the first iteration of Office 365.  Whether it was the processing requirements of the Access 2010 hybrid application, Sharepoint list architecture or just the simple fact that they could never get SQL reporting services to work, Microsoft decided to abandon this Web Database design for Access 2013 in favor of the Access 2013 Web App.  Access Web Databases

Unlike the 2013 web app which requires you to build an entirely new Access Application, Access 2010 Web Databases let you tweak an existing database to be Sharepoint web compatible  so that you can publish them online.  This means that if you have an older database with a bunch of useful client forms and reports, you can still get the entire file backed up and working online and while these client forms won’t work in the web browser, users will still be able to sync changes and use them if they open the database in Access.  You also have the benefit of being able to supplement your Access database with browser based forms and reports as you build them in your 2010 app.  Of course 2010 has it’s downsides as well.  It does not allow the use of VBA code and as we’ve stated earlier, Microsoft has abandoned this idea of a hybrid Access application in favor of the easier to host model in 2013.

Technical differences between Access 2010 Web Databases and Access 2013 Web Apps

The big change between these two technologies is the architecture and where the data is stored.  Both 2010 web databases and 2013 web apps require SharePoint (although different versions)  However, 2010 stores the tables and application in a custom SharePoint list type, while 2013 stores them in SQL Server tables.  This change in architecture means that 2010 web databases are completely incompatible with 2013 web apps.

If you create a 2010 web database there is no upgrade path to Access 2013.  You cannot convert a 2010 web database to a 2013 web app. You can easily migrate your data (table structure and data) from a 2010 web database to a 2013 web app, but the application (forms, reports, etc) will all have to be rebuilt from scratch.  That’s pretty much the problem with Access 2013 web apps to begin with.  You have to pretty much start from scratch building all of your forms/reports in Sharepoint 2013.

Both  require SharePoint Access Services, but 2010 uses Access Services 2010 while 2013 requires Access Services 2013.  These services are very different and incompatible. However, you can have both Access Services 2010 and 2013 running on the same SharePoint site so you can host both access 2010 web databases and 2013 web apps alongside each other.  Lucky for you this is exactly what Access Hosting does with its Access Services 2010 and 2013 offering!

Access 2013 Web Apps

So the bad news is that if you’re interested in building an Access 2013 App, you’re pretty much starting from scratch (other than saving your data and tables).  You will have to build every new form and query for your 2013 Access Web App.  Another setback is that Access 2013 does not allow for any reporting to be conducted in the browser – all reporting requires Access 2013 to be installed on a person’s computer and connected to the SQL table storing your Access Web App via ODBC.  Here’s a helpful post about how to connect your web app to an Access 2013 desktop frontend.

If you’re starting a new Access project though, it makes sense to use the most up to date software and if you are an experienced Access Developer there’s a lot of tricks that you can do to use Access 2013 Web Apps to add browser functionality to an already robust app. By creating a client/desktop Access 2013 frontend and connecting via ODBC you can utilize VBA code and other more advanced functionality and while this functionality isn’t available in the browser you at least have the benefit of all being connected and using the same raw data and tables.

If you’re interested in testing Access 2010 Web Databases or Access 2013 Web Apps, Access Hosting offers a free 30 day trial on servers that are running both services.  Plans include 10 users and are only $99/month.  Additional users and storage can be added to any of these base plans.


Posted in Access 2010, Access 2013, Sharepoint 2010, SharePoint 2013 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Finding the right Hosting Solution for you Access Database

How do you know if you need Sharepoint, SQL or Remote Desktop for your MS Access Database? This is one of the most common questions we get here at Access Hosting and it’s not an easy one to answer since every customer’s online functionality goals, Access application and development skills are different.  In this blog post, I’m hoping to at least steer you in the right direction when it comes to getting your Access Database online.

What version of Access are you running? AKA assess your situation

This is one of the first questions that you may be asked by one of our sales associates.  The reason is that it can tell us a lot about your situation and road blocks moving forward.  If you’re running a Database in Access 2007 that has been around even longer, you’re going to have a really hard time jumping to SharePoint.  Does your MS Access application run Visual Basic code (VBA)? If it does you have a pretty complicated application that is completely incompatible with Sharepoint and web forms.

The most common roadblock we see is Access Developers coming in with a complicated and highly customized Access Application.  They’ve heard of SharePoint with Access Services, Web forms, Access 2013 Web Apps and Office 365 and they think they can easily move their application to the SharePoint cloud.  Wrong! Both Access Services 2010 and Access Services 2013 have very strict requirements to make a database web compatible.  If you have an older database or have VBA code, you have a lot of development work ahead and potentially a lot of functionality loss if you want to move to SharePoint.

Cut down on the Development Work!

These difficulties in moving your Access database to SharePoint are why Access Hosting expanded to offer other solutions for hosting web databases.  If you’re looking to host your complex access app in the browser and utilize all of your VBA forms, queries etc, Remote Desktop hosting is a great solution for you since it simulates the local Windows Desktop Environment that you have been using with your application AND allows for multiple concurrent users and the ability to connect to your Access application from any device. The best part is that you can leave your Access Application completely as it is and get it up and running on our private cloud in just a few minutes.  We offer a free 30 day trial for anyone who wants to give it a spin and have very competitive dedicated plans that can be customized to your business needs.

The downside to RDP hosting is that it can be expensive for a lot of users (especially if you don’t move to a dedicated server where there are cost savings) since we are licensing Windows, Microsoft Office and MS Access for each and every user.  If you already have Microsoft Access installed on the computers of people that need access to your Access Application, you may just opt to move all of your data to our SQL hosting.  For $49/month you can upload your database and have an unlimited number of Access users connect to the same backend SQL data.  All of your client forms, reports and VBA code still work locally on the desktop but your data is synced to our service so that everyone is working from the same records.

But I want Web Forms and a Web App!

SharePoint is still a great solution for a lot of Access Apps and if you have a more modern database (Access 2010 or 2013) that is web compatible, it is easy to publish to SharePoint or start creating an Access 2013 web app.  Deciding between Access Services 2010 and 2013 can be difficult though because you need to ask yourself what functionality is paramount to your application.  Check back to our blog later to learn more about the differences between SharePoint 2010 Access Services and SharePoint 2013 Access Web Apps.


Posted in Access 2007, Access 2010, Access 2013, Access Developer | Leave a comment

How to split an Access Database

In a follow up to our previous article about the Top 10 Reason to Split an Access Database, this post will give you the quick and easy way to get started with the process.

Splitting an Access database is essential when sharing a database via internal network our cloud hosting. If you have ever received errors when multiple users are editing your Access database, it is likely that you are not operating with what is called a split-database.

When splitting a database, you reorganize it into two separate files. The front-end database contains all the objects such as queries, forms, and reports while the back-end database contains all of the data tables.

Here are the direct instructions from Microsoft for how to split your database:

  1. On your computer, make a copy of the database that you want to split. Start with the database file on your local hard drive, not on the network share. If the database file is currently shared from your local hard disk drive, you can leave it where it is.
  2. Open the copy of the database that is on your local hard disk drive.
  3. On the Database Tools tab, in the Move Data group, click Access Database. The Database Splitter Wizard starts.
  4. Click Split Database.
  5. In the Create Back-end Database dialog box, specify a name, a file type, and a location for the back-end database file.
    • Consider using the name that Access suggests. It preserves the original file name, and indicates that the database is a back-end database by inserting _be into the name, just before the file name extension.
    • Do not change the file type unless some users will use an earlier version of Access to access the data.
    • You can enter the path to the local or network location in the File Name box, in front of the file name. For example, if the network location for the back-end database is \\server1\share1\ and the file name for the back-end database is MyDB_be.accdb, you can enter \\server1\share1\MyDB_be.accdb in the File Name box.
    • The location that you choose must be available to everyone who will use the database. Because drive mappings can vary, you should specify the UNC path of the location instead of using a mapped drive letter.
  6. When the wizard finishes, it displays a confirmation message.

Once you finish with the process, your database will be far more efficient and reliable while also ready for shared usage.  You’ll be able to distribute the front-end and back-end files to either your local network storage or a cloud solution such as Access Hosting’s Access RDP Pro plan to start sharing the database with multiple users.

To get started with a 30-day free trial of Access Hosting’s MS Access RDP Pro plan, click here.


Posted in Access 2010, Access 2013 | Leave a comment

How to create an MS Access 2013 Web App from within Sharepoint Enteprise

Creating an online MS Access Web App is simple with our Sharepoint 2013 Enterprise Plan. If you’ve just signed up for a free trial or if you’re wondering how to get started creating Access Databases online, you’re at the right tutorial!

The first step is to login to your Access Hosting Sharepoint 2013 Website (typically this looks like  So type your web address in a web browser (we highly recommend Internet Explorer or Firefox for the best sharepoint compatibility) and login with the credentials that you received from Access Hosting.  Once you login, you should see the standard Sharepoint 2013 homepage.


The next step is to create an Access Web App.  Click the gear in the top right and select “Add an app” from the dropdown menu.  This will take you to a listing of all the Sharepoint 2013 apps that you can create.  Access Web Apps are actually on one of the last pages, so it’s easiest to just search for “access”.


Click on the Access App button and create a name for you new web database.


Click create to start building your web app on Sharepoint.


Once your app has been created it should appear in your Lists, Libraries and other Apps on your Sharepoint Intranet Site.  The MS Access web app that you created should be marked as new! Click on your newly created app.


You will be prompted to login to your MS Access Web Database.  Enter your login credentials that you received from Access Hosting.


There you have it! You have successfully created an MS Access Application on Sharepoint 2013.  The next step is to actually open the App and start building tables and web forms that work in the browser!

Posted in Access 2013, SharePoint 2013 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to connect to your Access Web App

If you are using our Sharepoint 2010/2013 Enterprise Solution with Access Services you have the ability to publish your web database to Access Services 2010 or create an Access 2013 Web App in Sharepoint. The problem with SharePoint 2013 Web Apps is that you cannot create and run reports on your data in the browser (like in 2010). The solution is to create a desktop Access frontend that connects to your webapp’s data.  Here is how you connect to your MS Access 2013 Web App with Access Hosting.

How to Report on your Access Web App from MS Access:

1. Go to your Web App in Sharepoint (on and click the “customize in Access” button to download an accdw file.

2. Open and log into your web app by opening the accdw file downloaded from your Access Hosting Sharepoint site.

3. Go to File->Connections (be sure that Read-Only Connection is checked) and click on Manage->View Read-Only Connection information.  Make a note of all the connection data.

readonly connection

4. Be sure to record all of the data shown in this connection information

sql server connection information

5. Under Report on My Data, click the create reports button


6. This will prompt you to create a new access frontend file.  Name the file and save.

7. The connection will fail because the server name is not a valid web location – so you will be prompted for the SQL connection information.  Change ahcombo1 to your Sharepoint site collection url WITHOUT http:// (i.e.


8. A new access file should open that acts as you frontend to your Access 2013 Web App.  You can use this frontend to create reports and other frontend forms and tools!

Sign-up for a Free Sharepoint Access 2013 Web App Trial to try it yourself!

Connecting to your Access Web App with SQL Management Studio:

You can use the power of MS Access Services 2013 and Sharepoint to connect to your backend MS Access Web App directly using SQL Server Management Studio.  Watch the video above or try the more detailed steps outlined below for an ODBC connection.

1. Go to your Web App in Sharepoint (on and click the “customize in Access” button to download an accdw file.

2. Open and log into your web app by opening the accdw file downloaded from your Access Hosting Sharepoint site.

3.  Under Connections, Click Manage and Select Enable Read-Write Permissions. (Note – If you select Enable Read Write Permissions again, you will disable Read-Write Permissions. When you turn on Read Write Permissions again in the future, the password will change.)

access view read-write connection

4.  Once Read-Write Permissions are Enabled, click the Manage button again and select View Read-Write Connection Information and the below dialog box will pop up. You will need to reference the permissions below to setup the ODBC connection.  Note the connection information and copy over to notepad.

password info

5. If you don’t already have SQL Native Client 11.0 Driver, you’ll need to download and install them.  Install and SQL Native Client 11.0 driver from Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1 Feature Pack. Don’t download the entire package, you only need on file which is the sqlncli.msi. You can download the file here:

6. Once downloaded, double click the file to install the SQL Native Client 11.0 driver.

7. To create the ODBC connection, launch ODBC Data Source Administrator by clicking your Windows start button and search for ODBC.  Select the Data Sources (ODBC) file that comes up.

add a new odbc data source

8. Click on Add to create a new data source.  Select SQL Server Native Client 11.0 and then click finish.

create a new sql data source

9. Enter Any Name and Description to describe your ODBC connection. For the Server enter the domain of your Access Hosting SharePoint site but DO NOT enter the http:// (so enter something like Click Next.

ms web database information

10. Reference the View Read-Write Connection data that you pasted into Notepad from your Access Web App earlier.  Enter the User Name information in the Login ID and the Password in the Password field and click next.

sql server dsn configuration

11. Check the box Change the default database to and enter the Database Name from the View Read-Write Connection Information from your Web App and click next. Click Finish.

sql server 2012 configuration

Sign-up for a Free Sharepoint Access 2013 Web App Trial to try it yourself!

Posted in Access 2013, Access Developer, SharePoint 2013, Tips & Tricks, Video Tutorial | Leave a comment

New Robust Backup Options for Remote Desktop Hosting


Access Hosting is happy to announce a more robust and granular backup option for our Remote Desktop Hosting customers.  We have always done daily backups on the entire server which helps us recover from any failure but does not help customers looking to rollback a specific Access or Excel file to a previous version.  We have spent the last month integrating our server architecture with Amazon Web Services and are happy to report that we are now able to backup individual ms Access, Office, and other files on a daily or even hourly basis based on your desired needs.

Any current Remote Desktop customers can upgrade their plan with these new backup options.  You ONLY need 1 backup plan – it will cover all of your users and files.  You DO NOT need a backup plan for each RDP user account.  These backup plans can also be added and applied to a dedicated Remote Desktop Server.

Daily Backup – $10 per month

With this backup option, we will archive, store and backup all of your files offsite on our Amazon AWS servers on a 24 hour cycle.  If at any time you make a mistake or a MS Access database or other file gets corrupted, we can roll back a specific file to the previous day’s version.

Order Daily Backup Now!

Hourly Backup – $20 per month

With this backup option, we will archive, store and backup all of your files offsite on our Amazon AWS servers on an hourly basis.  If at any time you make a mistake, we can roll back and restore a specific file to a previous version that was saved every hour.

Order Hourly Backup Today!

If you have any questions or specific backup needs, please contact our technical support team.

Posted in Access 2007, Access 2010, Access 2013, Amazon Web Services, Excel 2013, Remote Desktop, Remote Desktop Hosting | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Top 10 Reasons to Split an Access database

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):

  • The backend stores all of the data in relational table (you can always move the backend to SQL for even more power and accessibility)
  • The front end stores all of your interface objects: forms, reports, queries etc.
  • By linking the two files, users can view and manipulate the data in the backend via the forms and reports in the front end. This arrangement solves a number of problems inherent to the Access file structure.

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.

Posted in Access 2003, Access 2007, Access 2010, Access 2013, Remote Desktop, Remote Desktop Hosting, SQL Hosting, Tips & Tricks | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Remote Desktop Storage Upgrade for 2015

Access Hosting is proud to announce that for 2015 we have increased the storage quotas on all of our Remote Desktop Hosting plans for customers seeking an easy way to move their Access Hosting Database to the web without any modifications.

Access Hosting, the leading hosting company for Microsoft Access services and solutions has doubled and tripled the storage on their Access Remote Desktop plans. Customers in need of bringing their Microsoft Access web application to the cloud can now do so without the need for expensive hardware or costly setup.

Interested customers will now enjoy 2GB of storage with the $29/month Access Pro Virtual Desktop and 3GB of storage with the $49/month Office Pro Plus Remote Desktop plan. Anyone interested in trying out this hosting service can sign up for a free 30 day trial at

Remote Desktop Services allows you to keep your Access 2007, 2010, or 2013 Database running “as-is” online in the cloud. Using the latest advances in Microsoft Hypervisor technology we can create a seamless single click operating environment for your existing Access database that allows you to run your application without modification. This approach allows multiple users to connect concurrently to the cloud from any PC and experience the program as if it was running locally on their desktop. Pricing starts at just $19/month and we offer a free trial for qualified customers.  You can learn more at

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How to send email with Access without using Outlook

Building an Access database provides many benefits because it not only gives users an easy way to manage their data, but Access can also be used to manipulate external applications through code. One of those extremely helpful benefits is its ability to send out an email message. Access is not an email client, so it doesn’t really send out the email message itself. Instead, it can be used to automate external email client programs, such as Outlook, to actually send out the message on its behalf. But what if Outlook is not installed on the user’s computer? Normally, that is not a problem as long as the user has an email client installed on the machine. The SendObject method or the EmailDatabaseObject macro action will try to use whatever email client is installed as the default to send out the message. This article will address those situations where the user does not have any email client installed or if bypassing the security warning in Outlook is desired. (more…)

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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.


    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).

    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.


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

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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


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.


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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 

MS Access in the Cloud


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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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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


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


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


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


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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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.


Posted in Access 2013, Access Runtime, FAQ, Tips & Tricks | 5 Comments

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.


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.


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.



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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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