Editor's Note: This post was originally published September 2018 and has recently been updated and revised for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Microsoft Access is Excel's smarter older sister who thinks she always has a better way. In some cases she may be right. Microsoft Access has a benefits above and beyond a simple spreadsheet allowing you to quickly analyze, extract and share data as usable information.
Access, the Next Step from Excel
A spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel is a terrific tool for maintaining and calculating small sets of information. Excel is easy to understand and easy to use. You can sort, filter and format the data quickly and easily. Spreadsheets are ideal for creating one time analysis, they become problematic as the data grows and evolves over time. Spreadsheets are not ideal for handling hundreds of records when creating an important file for a client, a contact or an executive. It’s very easy to make errors in a spreadsheet, which then makes analysis, summing and reporting very challenging.
Microsoft Access is an information management tool, or relational database, that helps you store information for reference, reporting and analysis. Access can also overcome the limitations found when trying to manage large amounts of information in Excel or other spreadsheet applications.
Seven Key Benefits of a Microsoft Access Database
Cost of Development
One of the reasons why Microsoft Access is consistently the database of choice is that it is a less expensive alternative to larger database systems, such as Oracle or SQL Server, which require a tremendous amount of set up and maintenance costs.
Since Access is a Microsoft Office product, it has been designed to integrate well with other products in the Microsoft Office Suite, Access is such a widely used database system that other software manufacturers are more likely to provide the ability to interface directly to Access than any other desktop database system.
ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) Compliant
Access has the ability to use data stored in Access/Jet, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and other ODBC compliant data containers including MySQL and PostgreSQL. Software developers and data architects have used Access to easily develop application software. Non-programmers, also known as “power users” can use Access to build simple applications. While some object-oriented techniques are supported, it falls short of being a fully object-oriented development tool.
Access has the ability to easily import many data formats so that your existing data is not lost. This feature can not only save 100′s of hours of input time, but also eliminate potential human input error.
One of the benefits of using Microsoft Access is its Jet Database format, which contains not only the application but also the data in one file. The ability to have the application and data in one file makes it extremely convenient to distribute the entire application to various users who can run the application in disconnected environments.
If your company is growing, one of the benefits of Microsoft Access is that it has upgrade capabilities. If the size of your database is continually growing and your performance starts to suffer, you can easily upgrade to SQL Server along with an Access Data Project (ADP).
Each piece of information is assigned a unique identifier. This is extremely important since it controls that each piece of information is only entered once and eliminates human and duplication errors.
What’s New for Microsoft Access 2016?
Access empowers you to make the most out of your information—even if you’re not a database expert. And, through newly added Web databases, Access amplifies the power of your data, making it easier to track, report and share with others.
- New themes and templates
- Larger show table dialog
- Query box to easily locate Access tools and features
- Ability to export linked data source information to Excel
Whether you’re a large corporation, small-business owner, nonprofit organization, or if you’re just looking for more efficient ways to manage your personal information, Access makes it easier to get what you need done more quickly, with more flexibility and with better results. Contact us to learn more about Microsoft Access Training to support your organizations projects.