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Access On Other Platforms

Access is strictly a Windows-only program. Though Microsoft Office is available on different OS such as Mac OS X, Access is not part of Macintosh Microsoft Office. This article discusses various workarounds available to use Access on different platforms.


Mac OS X


For Macs with Intel processors, virtualization is a good option, enabling one to run a complete Windows OS within a Mac. Virtualization is much faster than emulators because it allows the OS to use the hardware directly, so there is no need to also translate hardware layer. In practical terms, this mean Windows OS can run at near-native speed atop an Intel Mac. However, a license for virtualization software and Windows OS is required per machine, making it of limited utility for a mass distribution to a group of Macs.

Dual Booting

As an alternative to virtualization, Boot camp can be used to dual boot into Windows. This means that there will be no shared resources and thus contention for the same resource. Boot camp is distributed with Mac OS X so there is no need to purchase extra licenses to enable dual booting. However, a license for Windows OS is still required.

Remote Desktop Client

For those who have the resources to acquire a Terminal Server, Microsoft provides a native Mac RDP client which can be then installed on Macs. Client Access License will be required but will be cheaper than buying a license for Windows OS and Office per Mac. RDP is quite optimized, sending only mouse movements and receiving changes in the screen dumps; all of the application processing occurs on the terminal servers. This may be an attractive option for those who desire to distribute Access application among a group of Mac users.

Access Services

As of Access 2010, web capabilities are available with Sharepoint and Access Services. Safari, one of the Mac OS X browsers, is explicitly supported by Microsoft so Mac users can access Access applications online via their preferred browser. The only restriction is that a web database has a different and slimmer feature set compared to the traditional rich client.

VBA on Mac OS X

VBA is natively supported for the rest of Office suite such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint with exception for the Mac Office 2008, which Microsoft had attempted to remove VBA support. However, Microsoft has since reversed and promise to continue to provide support for VBA in next version of Mac Office. Generally, VBA code will run on both platforms after a re-compilation. However, API calls and certain functions that deals with filesystem will not behave identically.


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This page has been accessed 15,638 times.  This page was last modified 11:26, 14 February 2012 by Jack Leach. Contributions by Glenn Lloyd, BananaRepublic and George Hepworth  Disclaimers