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> What do you use Microsoft Access for?    
post Jan 27 2009, 07:09 PM

Posts: 3
Joined: 27-January 09

Essentially, I build Access databases when data volume or complexity outgrows Excel spreadsheets.
like the fact that Access will store the query definition instead of the results, particularly parameter queries. The query definitions can be much more complex than in Excel, as well. If a piece of information is the result of a calculation, Excel would require the formula on each line; but in Access, I can just have the value calculated when I need it. An update query is a lot faster and more trustworthy than a Ctrl-H search and replace, too. The analytical possibilities are so much better.
At the same time, an Access database remains within the reach of the end-users, not the IT department that might get around to making requested modifications someday, maybe. Hyperion is a wonderful tool, but it's too sophisticated for most of my clients to do day-to-day or ad hoc analysis.
Recently, I built a database to track capital lease contracts for a client. Since a single customer may have multiple leases, and a single lease may cover multiple machines, and a single lease may have different payment amounts over the term of the lease, I split the data into several related tables. I built input forms and menu forms for my end-users, so they never have to go into the Navigation Pane. With end-users who don't know Access, it's much safer. The company upgraded from Access 2003 (or earlier on some machines) to Access 2007 in the middle of the user acceptance testing, so we basically had to start testing all over again. cryhard.gif
Ooriginally started programming Access in the mid-1990's under Windows 3.0. We had just created a data warehouse with the daily report information from all our subsystems, and I didn't want to have to enter data from paper reports into a reconciliation spreadsheet. So I built Access databases linked to the data warehouse by ODBC, and queries to aggregate the detail data. Then I exported the results from each subsystem into Excel format and created reconciliation spreadsheets that could read from the download files and compare amounts. For example, general ledger balances against loan subsystem totals. Having the ultimate reconciliation in Excel allowed the reconciliation accountants to enter adjustments and explanations for reconciling items. In that version of Access, the reporting capabilities weren't that good, as I recall. You'll notice, that was when I went from doing reconciiations to creating tools for other people to do them. Yay!
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post Feb 9 2009, 11:07 PM

Microsoft Corp UA VIP
Posts: 205
Joined: 5-August 03
From: Redmond, WA

here is a blog post of some of my favorite quotes and a tag cloud of the key words from this thread. I really enjoyed reading this thread.
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post Feb 10 2009, 01:07 AM

Microsoft Corp UA VIP
Posts: 205
Joined: 5-August 03
From: Redmond, WA

BTW - the above tag cloud was generated using www.wordle.com. Handy little tool...
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post Feb 10 2009, 04:38 AM

Posts: 0
Joined: --

I am a self-taught Access developer.
Orun a volunteer run company delivering free 5KM running events accross the country every saturday. Today we have 12 events taking place each saturday and delivering 1500 results (runners). I've been doing this for four years now and we have ammassed 100,000 records. Each result is stored and reproduced on the web giving the athlete access to their entire running record with us.
Each event is self contained and almost completely self sufficient. We have deployed an Access solution whereby the event capures and manages their own results, sending the final result set to the HQ for processing.
Take a look at www.parkrun.com and go to the results page for any of the results to see whats been achieved.
Its been an amazing journey. I started out as a luddite and now i'm a fairly accomplished progreammer.
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post Feb 25 2009, 09:00 AM

Posts: 72
Joined: 17-March 08
From: IL

I'm entirely self-taught. I'm a Civil Engineer in the transportation field (I work for a state DOT). At work, I've used access for several things:
On analysis tool which determines the median unit price of road construction "payitems" (like guardrail, asphalt, paint striping, culvert pipe, etc.). It uses a database of over 500,000 records which are retrieved over the web (I start an Excel instance from within Access VBA to automate web data retrieval). The data is previous bids made by contractors on state projects over the last eight years. To analyze the data, I borrowed the analysis algortihm from a couple unrelated Master's theses on K-Means data clustering and coded it in C++. Then, I call the DLL from within Access and it returns the "most common" median prices observed for the selected payitem. It works perfectly. The tool also charts median prices for visual inspection.
A database which tracks proposed road improvements for the area which I oversee. I developed a way to take pictures of a location and add comments / captions on my Blackberry, email it to myself, and then have Outlook automatically append it to an Access database. I couldn't use Access 07's data collection because my blackberry doesn't support HTML tables nor does the built-in data collection feature allow you to add data to an attachment field. So, I wrote my own system, using custom tags in the email body to denote each field. I plan on using my custom email data collection system with some Access 2003 apps I'm working on for my church.
A databse which tracks proposed improvements to buildings in the maintenance yards I oversee. I used several Access 07's "Attachement" fields to create albums of pictures taken of the facilities. The database also takes data and automatically updates a Word form stored on the local intranet. When it's done, the database can take the Word form and the pictures and create a PDF "package" that we can submit to our central office for their approval of the proposed improvements.
A database which tracks salt usage for snowplows. Since salt was so expensive this year, the onus was on us to track it better. I wrote a form that every plow driver fills out at the end of the shift, recording how much salt they spread and miles driven. I then enter it into a database I quickly wrote to track it. Still under development, it promises to give us great data on the ways we use salt and where we tend to use the most.
In the end, it's always been a "seat of the pants" development effort. Most of my information has come from various websites, not the least of which is UtterAccess.
I'm always curious to see what MS will do next with Access (i.e., in 2007, I think the attachments object is a great idea, but the split form is a dud). Most of the time, however, I find myself writing custom solutions to get what I want.
To the credit of MS, I've found that if I can imagine it, I can code it...
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post Feb 25 2009, 02:38 PM

Posts: 467
Joined: 18-April 06
From: Amersfoort, The Netherlands

...small typo.. it's http://www.wordle.net/
ice word-scramble though!
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post May 12 2009, 11:50 PM

Posts: 0
Joined: --

Our State database has some serious deficiencies and limitations so I have built several databases to fill our needs and expand our capability & efficiency. One is a supplemental Booking & Inmate Records database that allows us to track way more data and generate much more useful reports (including fingerprint & photo cards) than the state system does. It is also much more user friendly and simple to use. Another is an Inmate Time Accounting program used to calculate complex time sheets that involve multiple sentences, prior service credits, good time awards, parole eligibility, and much more. Another is the Incident Report program that I developed to streamline the process for both the report writers, supervisors, hearing advisers, Records Officer, and Disciplinary Chairman. It has a lot of automated features and generates all required documents with little effort. I also created a Chronological Log in Access to replace the manual paper documents that we used to use. One more is the Inmate Worker database that I built to manage our prisoner workers. It tracks their assignments, worker history, and payroll, among other things. I have also created a number of form generators in Access, such as Warrant Request Affidavit software, Petition to Revoke Probation software, to name a couple. Then there is an Inmate Classification program that calculates and generates documents after processing complex data after very simple input. I have also created databases for capturing Shift Supervisor Reports, Administrative Segregation Admissions, Special Incident Reports, Security ID Card creation & documentation, Shakedown Reports, Prisoner Count Records, and Firearms Training & Qualification and Weapons Maintenance & Management Records. All of these not only provide for the required logging, document generation, and record archiving, but many statistical reports as well. I have made a number of other smaller programs too but I think you get the idea. I first began programming with Symantec's Q&A dos database but later discovered MS Access and never looked back.
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post Jul 1 2009, 03:29 AM

Posts: 1,036
Joined: 1-July 09
From: England - UK A small island north of France

To make my life simple - started a new job with the NHS (UK - National Health Service) in a small information dept with varying staff skills. They like to do a lot in Excel MANUALLY!!!! I am lazy and dont like the repetitive, sort on this field , delete if equal to XYZ etc. that we do for monthly reporting. So I use Access to automate what I can and sometimes it works first time. I am self taught and rely greatly on sites like this to solve those little conundrums Mr Gates throws at us with a sometimes non helpful help system. Keep up the good work and thank you all in advance for all the help I will receive.
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post Jul 8 2009, 05:36 AM

Posts: 169
Joined: 1-July 09
From: Philippines

Our office uses FE/BE type database developed by our head office for project monitoring. Some reports can't be produced from our FE interface, even though the data are there. I have to use spreadsheet to produce those reports. I am really a "lazy" person, so I decide to learn the ins and outs of Access to help me on my work. That was 7 years ago and I never looked back since. I got hooked you can say^O^
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post Jul 8 2009, 08:57 PM

UtterAccess VIP
Posts: 1,420
Joined: 22-January 06
From: NV

Some of the apps I developed in past were for:
DataCollection and SPC (Xbar and R and p charts, histogram)
Tracking Hardware, Software and IP Addresses
Incoming Calls Management
Flower Shop
Used Car Dealership
Time Card and Payroll
Warranty Tracking
Investment Club
Little League Softball
Calibration of Measuring Devices
Kennel Club
urrently working on ISO,AS and TQM DB for manufacturing co.
Used Access as FE to MySQL, SQL Server and SyBase to create custom apps.
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post Jul 13 2009, 02:39 PM

Posts: 119
Joined: 23-March 09
From: Land of Enchantment, USA

I am working on 2 DBs at present, one for tracking software tests and their results, and the other one for tracking/categorizing various people associated with a non-profit charity.
I have seen Access used for tracking guest visits (at a reception station) and also for tracking some kind of manufacturing tests.
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post Sep 17 2009, 11:45 AM

Posts: 12
Joined: 15-September 09
From: Currently Ft. Knox, KY

I've been developing in Access since it was born.
nyway I have one application written in VB 6 with Access as the backend. this is used by ship chandlers to run their business. Once client has over 45 simultaineous users and the database itself is close to 1GB. Operates just fine. I would like to see a bit more speed on local area network side but works fast on a Terminal Services connection. This application has hundreds of talbles, queries and reports.
Next I write software for the US Army using Access. The reason for this is because every Army computer has Access and if I were to write it in VB6 or VB.NET I would have to have Army wide approval (a process that takes months, if not years). Anyway this databse automates may functions from a Bde on down such as Alert Rosters, Soldier information, aviation including flight hours, tracks work time and flight time, etc, etc.
I've never had many problems with Access and found I can pretty much automate anything. I don't use Access relationship builders at all. I use queries and code to manage all table relationships.
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post Dec 16 2009, 09:36 PM

Posts: 154
Joined: 28-November 09
From: San Francisco Bay Area (CA Delta)

I have built a client-tracking, statistical reporting & invoicing system which I use to run my data conversion/enhancement consulting business. Unfortunately, I've never had (taken) the time to learn the system properly (I'm self-taught) so I constantly struggle with what I'm sure are relatively easy tasks, whenever I add functionality. I'm still using Access 2000.
also run a small rural water company and use Access for member records and billing.
At home I use Access to maintain my Christmas mailing list/labels.
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post Dec 24 2009, 10:47 AM

Posts: 33
Joined: 23-December 09
From: Buffalo, NY

In my previous job, I developed programs for communications requirements, military training tasks, IT help desk (prior to using Remedy), IT custodian training and several other small ones. Currently, at my new job, my fellow financial co-workers can create a table, a query, and maybe a report or two. Most use only wizard. They all have their own copies of the same data. Alslo, being finance, there are "millions" of Excel spreadsheets containing the same data over and over again. I am creating a reference database with all the definition tables that are used across the departments and building processes to enter data into Access and then export (or connect) to Excel to get the needed cross-tabs or charts.
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post Jan 7 2010, 02:08 PM

Posts: 13
Joined: 30-April 08
From: Virginia

I have taken the MS Event Management template back about 2003 and adapted it for law enforcement training here at the VA State Police Auto Theft and HEAT program. I have created many new features, including school student registration, printing school name tags, lunch tickets, student contact lists and registration confirmation letters.
lso use Access to track Auto Theft Hotline calls and other monthly reports on agents' activities.
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post Feb 16 2010, 01:04 AM

Posts: 13
Joined: 22-January 09

I started with Access 1.0 on floppy and with it, built an importing alcohol database & accounting system. I have evolved [sic] missing many of the upgrades. A library system, for the over 70's was a winner' as was the property management software for a guy doing lawns/hedges & property management but the best system is an accounting/quoting system (now in Access 7) for tradesman - linking to an online component database for 'real' up to date quotes. It has been running for 10 years now and it is 'magic'. It handles both cash & accrual accounting requirements and has plenty of flexibility for 'real' tradesmen (those that do cash jobs). It sells for $NZ4000 and it is a steal!! I've tried to use the latest features - emailing pdf invoices and have become really skeptical of the Utter MVP's - they aren't real world (well they aren't in my world - we HAVE to solve probs not muse about them!). My systems may be available for free - so if you've a library to run or a real world tradesmsan wanting just to do his job ... send me an email.
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post Mar 16 2010, 10:01 AM

Posts: 4
Joined: 16-March 10

I'm new to access as maxed out excel, why I didn't switch over before now I don't know!
work for a private bank and use access to bring client data and asset info from 4 seperate business entities & one external regulator to analyse sales, money flow etc and assign out by our sales force.
The structure I currently employ is to use create tables for each query and then append querys to the final file for presentation. Probably a few hundred queries in all as there are overrides etc to apply but by using macros I can import all the txt files and get to the final result in seconds
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post Apr 18 2010, 07:28 PM

Posts: 251
Joined: 18-April 10

I managed to get a promotion to Service Manager, and was surprised to learn that my predecessor didn't have the tools in place to track the basic activities of the department. Since then I have developed numerous databases in order to track these kinds of things - average time on job sites, parts usage, kinds of problems found - basic service trends. I have found it to be quite useful and am hoping to improve my knowledge and get beyond the 'basics'!
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Jeff B.
post Apr 30 2010, 10:33 AM

UtterAccess VIP
Posts: 10,142
Joined: 30-April 10
From: Pacific NorthWet

Since Access 1.0 came out ...
urrent application integrate Access, Word, Excel, SQL-Server, DB2 ...
* Document tracking (not document routing).
* Senior Games management
* Homeowners Association event tracking
* Certification process
* Alumni fund-raiser
* CRM system for auto dealership
* CRM system for state agency, including group membership
* Contract management
* Records retention
* Document/track accounting system modifications
... but my major focus is on solving business needs, for which Access (& other apps) happen to be good tools.
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Mark H
post May 13 2010, 12:53 PM

Posts: 1
Joined: 26-April 10

We love and have used Access for many years in a non-profit charitible organization to help coordinate free air transportation to patients in need of transportation to medical treatments. At first, we were very excited to see Access moving towards the web. It's where we want to go with our database application. We spent a lot of time trying to evaluate Access 2010. However, we ran into the following 2 major problems.
The cost of Sharpoint hosting with Access Services was far to great for a small non-profit organization like our with less than 5 users. And if we wanted a portion of our web site accessible by our 200 pilot members, the hosting cost and per/user licensing cost would have been enormous.
The second problem we ran into was web reports. The nature of our data structure requires that we use reports that contain subreports. Mission flights can contain multiple passengers, or multiple crew members, etc. We later discovered that subreports are not supported by Access web databases. We learned that forms can have subforms and so we tried to use web forms with subforms but could not figure out how to make the web forms printable on the web or emailable as though it was a report.
Bottom line, we really want to move towards the web with our database application but the above problems with cost and subreports have left us very discouraged.
If anyone knows of solutions to these issues, we'd very much appreciate hearing from you.
Mark Haywood
Angel Flight
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