What is Microsoft Access? Definition, Key Features, Specific Use Cases and Advantages

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Definition and Description: What is Microsoft Access?

Microsoft Access is a proprietary database management system (DBMS) which is component of the MS Office suite of productivity tools. It is sold either as a standalone utility or bundled as a member of Office Professional and other premium editions of Microsoft’s business program suite.

Office 365 subscriptions include Microsoft Access, however it is restricted to “PC only.” The current version of Access (Microsoft Access 2019 for this writing) is usually provided with an Office 365 account.

Microsoft Access utilizes the Microsoft JET (Joint Engine Technology) Database Engine which is also employed for SQL Server Express and Visual Basic. Since Access is limited in capacity from a database size standpoint, a JET database could be “up-sized” into a SQL Server or Azure SQL merchandise which is more suited to very large databases.

In addition to JET, Microsoft Access comprises application development programs and a graphical user interface, or GUI.

Microsoft Access is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS), but it is additionally an application generator with the tools required, like templates, forms, queries and reports. It may also be utilised in a non-relational fashion, therefore the years-old debate about whether it is, in actuality, an RDBMS or merely a DMBS.

Microsoft itself highlights the fact , with Access, you are able to produce “database apps” which are highly customizable, and store information in SQL Server and Microsoft Azure SQL (different subscriptions required.)

Microsoft Access: Key Features

Microsoft Access is typically utilized as an applications development platform for non-developers in a business environment. Reports and other programs can be created via the user, and these programs can get data from a lot of different tools, including its database file, also known as an Access desktop .

It may also be applied as a front end to handle bigger databases stored on SQL Server and Microsoft Azure SQL Database, that a fully-managed Database-as-a-Service offering.

Microsoft Access is additionally compatible or interoperable with a range of other Microsoft and third-party goods. It may be used to import, export or link to info from other sources for example Salesforce, dBASE, Excel, text files and a lot more.

Microsoft Access may import from link to the following tools (click image to open larger version in new tab):

Resources that Microsoft Access can import from or link to.

Microsoft Access can export to the following tools (click image to open larger version in new tab):

Resources that Microsoft Access can export to.

Although the application itself is PC Only, the tables could be kept on a system and simultaneously accessed by multiple users without the fear of information being overwritten. The RecordLocks Property may be employed to define the way the program reacts to simultaneous upgrades by two different users.

However, this is just possible with Access database formats like .mdb and .accdb. The utilization of some other database will end in the RecordLocks Property setting defaulting to No Locks. Other settings include All Records and Edited Record.

For instance, to lock an entire record page (Edited Record setting_ if an individual begins to edit a document, the following property setting could be implemented:

Forms(“ProductSKU”-RRB-. RecordLocks = two

[When a user of a shared table starts to edit a field in this record, the entire page will be locked until the user exits or moves to another record.]

When into Use Microsoft Access: Specific Use Cases

Microsoft Access may be utilised in the following scenarios. Each use instance refers to a specific issue that can’t be addressed with spreadsheet programs like MS Excel, and may or may not require the utilization of MySQL, SQL Server or Azure SQL Database in the back end.

Here are several use cases for Microsoft Access:

  1. When using multiple data entry types.

  2. When that you want to link to fields or join files and graphics to documents.

  3. When multiple users typically access the same information simultaneously.

  4. When that you want to invoke events according to user action (mouse-over, click.)

  5. When the amount of users or volume of information doesn’t justify using more expensive database services or products.

  6. As a growth platform for private, business and web applications.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of use cases, but to help you decide whether or not to utilize Microsoft Access to your small business, corporate division or only personal use, below are a few of them the crucial benefits.

Advantages of Using Microsoft Access

Low Level of Expertise Required into Install and Use

Microsoft Access provides a simple installation procedure, and there are plentiful aid tools to get you started according to what you wish to do. Templates are available on Microsoft’s website and additionally within the application itself. This is frequently a fantastic place to begin if you’re unfamiliar with types, reporting or databases in general.

Wide Range of Databases Supported

Access can function as a back-end utility to get a huge number of popular open and proprietary database products and services, including Microsoft’s own, as well as those of competitors. This interoperability is crucial to Microsoft Access being a favorite improvement application. The appealing GUI and highly functional UX are additional bonuses.

Adequate Storage Capacity

The 2GB capacity of a Microsoft Access database is greater than sufficient for many small business requirements. If you want more, it is possible to install Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express or higher, which have a database capacity of around 10GB. Since Microsoft Access application tables may also be linked to a SQL Azure database, storage is not really of concern even if you intend to scale up considerably.

Multi-consumer Capability

There is that a still-prevalent myth which Microsoft Access Jet databases may be used by no more than 20 or 30 concurrent users until you notice performance degradation. While this was accurate with Access two .0, it hasn’t been accurate since Access 97 was published over twenty decades back.

Several users have tested 200+ concurrent users with little to no degradation. However, what these customers are doing is not matter. If all 200 consumers are running queries and accounts with information upgrades, you might notice some degradation. From a tech perspective, such a limit could apply to some load-based operation, but even a Jet database could be optimized to operate at these heaps.

For more customers, the backend database can be migrated to SQL Server or SQL Azure.

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