Demystifying the Access 2010 runtime client

The introduction of web based forms and reports in Access 2010 is a huge step forward for the product, but there are many scenarios which dictate that an application be developed natively in Access 2010. Fortunately, the Access 2010 runtime client provides a mechanism for accomplishing several things at once:

1)      Native Access applications can be created and distributed to end users WITHOUT the need for a full blown copy of Access on the desktop. The Access 2010 runtime is a 175 megabyte download that allows you to distribute your Access application without buying a copy of Access 2010 for each client. This free download can be found at

2)      You can use to securely store your tables and the Access runtime client will connect to SharePoint and authenticate the user when invoked.

3)      You can still have web based forms and reports alongside of the native functionality that was setup in the runtime client. This hybrid application approach brings you the best of both worlds (web client objects and native Access code) all running against SQL and SharePoint 2010 for optimal performance and scale. Lightweight users can simply use browser based functionality while power users tap into all the Access 2010 features using the runtime client.

If you have a copy of Access installed but want to see what the client experience looks like from the runtime side of things, just throw a switch on the command line like this:

C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice14MSACCESS.EXE” “C:dashboard.accdw” /runtime

This command loads an Access Web Database (see our post on ACCDW files for more detail on that) but invokes the end user experience of the runtime client. Make sure you have setup your native startup form before invoking this command or you may be staring at a blank screen. For more information on setting the startup form check out our tutorial at

In summary, the runtime client is an inexpensive (free) way to combine the power of native Access 2010 functionality alongside seamless connectivity to Access Services and Web Databases in SharePoint 2010.

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