This blog is dedicated to Access related topics. Most of the topics relate to problems I have encountered in the course of database development or questions that people attending my Access training classes may raise from time to time

Welcome to my Access Blog

In this blog, I will be publishing articles from time to time that will be of interest to anyone building and maintaining databases using Microsoft Access. if you are interested in tips and pointers for other products in the Microsoft Office suite, please see my argeeoffice blog here.

Access Developer Tools

FMS Developer Tools are arguably the most comprehensive set of tools for Access, SQL Server, and .NET developers.


ShakySkates CartoonThe Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering Blog has announced a May 12, 2010 worldwide launch date for “the 2010 set of products, including Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010, and Project 2010” for business users. Office 2010 will be available for consumers on-line and in retail outlets in June 2010.  If you want to have an sneak preview look at what is coming you can download the beta at

I have been poking around the Access 2010 beta for the last while and I think it is going to be a nice version to work with. In case you are wondering, the Ribbon stays. In fact, I believe that the Fluent User Interface as the Ribbon is officially, will now be found throughout the Office suite. The Office Button has been replaced with a File tab on the ribbon. This tab leads to the backstage of each application.

Quote of the Day

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.

- Thomas H. Huxley

The single-most exciting new development as far as Access is concerned is that it is now possible to develop Access Web Databases and publish them to SharePoint. Ryan McMinn present this new development in this video.

If you are interested in general Office development, have a look at John Durant's presentation.

Pej Javaheri and Steve Tullis present Excel and Excel Services 2010 developments in this video.

All in all , Office 2010 looks pretty exciting with lots of new ‘stuff’ to learn but with big paybacks for taking the time you will spend on learning.

MIniBikeAs a design principle, I apply a naming convention when creating new database objects. For example, field names begin with a lowercase letter. Recently, I was putting together a small application in Access 2010 beta so that  I could gain a little familiarity with the new Access version that will be released later this year. In a weak moment, I accidentally named some of the fields in a new table with uppercase first letters.

In the grand scheme of things, this is not a particularly serious problem but inconsistently formed names lend an unprofessional look to an application. When I tried to correct the names I discovered an inconvenient quirk. After replacing the first letter of each field name with its lowercase equivalent, saving and closing the table and then re-opening it again in design view, I found that the first letter of each field name had changed back to uppercase.

No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the lower-case letter to ‘stick.’ That’s when I turned to my favourite forum for help. Thanks to UtterAccess VIP member (and Access MVP) datAdrenaline, I quickly had a reasonably workable solution.

Quote of the Day

I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people who are convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference after another.

- Ellen Goodman

All I had to do is change the first letter of each field name I wanted to modify, save and close the table, re-open the table and replace whatever I had entered as the first letter of the temporary field name back to the lowercase letter with which I wanted to start the name. Step by step this is the method I applied:

  • open the table in design view
  • pre-fix each field name with a single letter
  • delete and replace the original uppercased letter
  • save and close the table
  • reopen the table in design view
  • remove the leading character for each field to correct name
  • save and close the table

This problem occurred specifically in Access 2010 beta so it may be a non-issue when the new version is released but if you run into similar situations perhaps a similar approach will help you out of a bind “when all else fails.”

New articles in Access Wiki



Access: What is it?


Quote of the Day

Real, constructive mental power lies in the creative thought that shapes your destiny, and your hour-by-hour mental conduct produces power for change in your life. Develop a train of thought on which to ride. The nobility of your life as well as your happiness depends upon the direction in which that train of thought is going.

-Laurence J. Peter

TacoBy the end of the day, the Access Wiki  will have been ‘open for business’ for two weeks. The body of Access knowledge that the site  promises to be is slowly building. As of this moment, there are 26 articles published in the wiki with articles including such topics as Normalization, Sharing (Access Databases through splitting), and Error Handling. Access Wiki content is expected to grow as UtterAccess members continue to write and publish articles. The wiki features a table of contents and an index if you want to look over a list of topics.

Meanwhile, on the forums side of UtterAccess, there is a whole new ‘look and feel.’ The new appearance is similar to what you will see one the Wiki side.

If you haven’t yet visited Forums or the Access Wiki, why not check them out now and see if you don’t agree that UtterAccess is the only source for all of your  Microsoft help needs. The wiki and forums are freely available to anyone on the World Wide Web but only registered members can download code samples from the forums or write and edit wiki articles. Membership is free and confidential. Signing up will give you access to thousands of downloads and the opportunity to contribute your own articles to the Access Wiki