The 10 Best Features of MS Access to Maximize Value
Is Microsoft Access the database environment that your business should be using? We’re going to take a look at 10 of the most convenient and powerful aspects of MS Access to help you make a decision. The Farber Consulting Group Inc. has the MS Access consultants and developers to help you take advantage of these many benefits and more.
#1 MS Access Is Ideal for Small Businesses
MS Access is a desktop application. This makes it perfect for individuals and small businesses that do not have a lot of users. The system is easy to use, and MS Access consultants can cost you a lot less when compared to the larger and more complicated database systems that a corporation may require.
Another advantage of MS Access is that you won’t need someone in-house who can run your database. One of the services we provide for the convenience of our clients is custom software development. Combine this with our MS Access developers who can maintain or even redesign your database and enjoy integrated and easy to use applications without hiring a new in-house employee.
#2 Desktop Databases Are Simpler than a Client-Server Database
Why invest in a complicated database module that your small to medium sized business doesn’t require? Client-server databases do have certain advantages, but if a desktop database meets the needs of your brand, you can save time and money, and reduce the learning curve on your new database. If you have been handling all of your customers via an excel spreadsheet, you will notice the benefits of MS Access immediately. MS Access stores your data in tables rather than a spreadsheet. These tables can, in turn, be related and joined together. In the end, you get powerful reporting that can be used for everything from mailing lists and marketing to invoicing customers.
#3 Simply Data Entry Options
Whether you get a new customer or accept a new product order, the ease of data entry for your database is going to be important. Your MS Access developer can provide you with a very simple data entry form for typing in customer details or for entering the latest order that you have received.
It is also easy to use your database in connection with custom applications designed for you by an Alpha Anywhere developer. This can simplify the process even further so that you or any of the other users at your company never directly see the database, but rather, enter data directly through your custom software. While some functions of MS Access are easy enough for anyone to use, if you have a very demanding database application, you may need to hire a software developer.
Create a Contact List in MS Access database engine (Office 2016 or above) is a 2 steps process: File -> New and then click the Contacts template as shown in the image below: (Click the images to zoom in).
The actual data entry form is ready for for data entry at no time:
#4 Build Databases for the Web and Publish Them
Access databases are not restricted to desktop use. If you want an online database, which can be convenient for working remotely or allowing your sales people to check inventory while on the road (just to name a couple of possible applications), a web-based solution, which is a major game changer for most companies, can be an important element for remote workers. For example, this may serve as the back end for your company’s mobile apps which you can have developed by a custom software developer.
While starting a new web database is easy with MS Access, setting up the tables properly and figuring out the right reports to run may be complicated for a beginner. Therefore, it is a good idea to have an MS Access consultant set up your online database. Or you can convert Access to web and take your existing desktop database and use it to help expand your brand to the worldwide web.
#5 Give Power to Your MS Access Developer
For a layman, the graphical interface of MS Access is perfect. But for an expert, there are many features that inhibit just how much the database can do. While this is in an effort to keep the average person from messing up the database, Microsoft realized that the pros needed more control in order to provide business owners with what they want.
That is why VBA code can be added manually to develop custom solutions for you and your business. Even if you are very tech savvy and have developed your own database using MS Access, there may be things you wish you could implement that are not featured in the Access interface. However, that doesn’t mean it is impossible. You just need to know how to code in VBA.
#6 Export Your Reports in .pdf Format and to Other MS Applications
PDF files are convenient because they can be opened with Adobe reader, which every computer user has access to. Converting the report to a .pdf creates an image file that offers you a common format for sending files between partners and clients with the confidence that everyone will be able to read the report. This is important for situations where not all users will have MS Access installed on their computer or mobile devices. The “external data” tab is where these files can be created.
Since .pdf files are so common, it is very convenient that MS Access allows you to export your reports and save them as .pdf files. Adobe Reader is an example of a very common software application that reads PDF files and that everyone should have loaded on all of their devices since it is free.
You also have the option to export reports as MS Word or Excel files. If your team is using Microsoft products, then everyone should have a licensed version of this software on their computer. It provides a convenient way to share data within the company.
#7 MS Access Can Function as a Front End or Back End
You can allow employees to access the database directly. If they are updating data in the tables directly in this way, then Access is serving as the front end of your system. The database itself is the back end, and it processes the data that is input by your employee. Keep in mind that the front end database can be linked to the back end database so that there is separation between the application and the data. A properly designed system will be sure to eliminate duplicate data to keep the database running smoothly. A database checkup from an MS Access consultant can help you to learn if you have duplicate data slowing down your queries and reports.
On the other hand, you can also hire a custom software developer to create a system for you that serves as the front end. Again, your custom software will only be as fast as the database, so you need to be certain that there is no duplicate data and that tables are linked correctly using the best relationships. It is preferred when many concurrent users are entering data, that MS SQL is utilized as the back end database. This is because an MS SQL database offers a wide range of features and it protects your data because this type of database is known for rarely becoming corrupted. If you choose to use MS Access as your front end and MS SQL as your back end, you get the best of both worlds. You could even save time and money by hiring a remote DBA (database administrator) to tweak the MS SQL database as needed.
#8 MS Access Has a Built-In Digital Assistant
If you are expecting Alexa or Siri, you’re going to be disappointed, but there is a “Tell Me” feature that assists you to use MS Access. It was added to the database software in 2016, and it acts as a friendly tutor on how the program works. It can help you to access functions quickly by entering a keyword or phrase, rather than having to know which drop down menu has the feature you are looking for.
In the past, you may recall that MS Access would teach you how to do certain things when you asked the little help character. However, this new feature actually performs the tasks for you rather than telling you where to go in order to do it yourself. That makes “Tell Me” a much simpler digital assistant than the previous iterations.
Look for the light bulb that says: Tell me what you want to do.
In this point just type something say: Create, then you will see some suggested key words that appear in in the menu below. I just selected the Client Forms and continued further with the sub menu. I selected the MS Access Form Wizard option, which was highlighted and shown in the below image.
#9 Eliminate Duplicate Reports While Using Report View
Report View allows developers to locate reports that give them the information they need, but at the same time, they can eliminate the fields that are not important to the user. In the past, you would just have to make another report that did almost the exact thing as an existing report. Now, the developer has control over the output, so you can receive the following benefits:
- Hide duplicates.
- Get the information you need.
- Have the info sorted in ascending or descending order by a chosen category.
#10 Scale Along with Your Business
You run a small business now, but that doesn’t mean you intend for it to stay small forever. If you want to grow your enterprise, you want your database to be scalable. This is another benefit of starting with MS Access. While it is ideal for smaller businesses with fewer users, you can hire an MS SQL consultant to convert your Access database to a web database that will be easier to grow and use for more employees. MS Access is an affordable starting point but gives you the ability to expand later.
The MS Access Developers and Consultants that NY and NJ Business Owners Can Trust
The Farber Consulting Group Inc. has the MS Access consultants and custom software development professionals that you want helping your company to thrive. Whether you run a small to medium sized business or you are an entrepreneur with a dream of forming a new company, we have the database experts and custom software solutions that can streamline operations and help grow your enterprise.
For questions about our MS Access developers, remote database administration, converting Access to a web-based solution, or any of the many other services we offer, contact us today at 732-536-4765 . We look forward to helping you succeed.