How should we be using Microsoft Access?

Microsoft Access is a desktop database which is best suited to small applications with a small number of users. Using Microsoft Access for anything more and it may outgrow our database needs.

If the system is to be used by an individual or a small office then Access is an ideal tool. Try not to use it over a wide area network. Security and stability issues can occur if this is attempted. Also data retrieval will be slow over such a wide network.

We can certainly create some powerful small systems. MS Access is also a great tool for prototyping larger systems. We can put together screens and tables very quickly in Access and this allows us to get an idea of how a system will function. A kind of blueprint is sketched out by prototyping.

When using Microsoft Access we should also be thinking about how we can make use of the other components within the Microsoft Office suite. The great thing about the MS Office suite is that all components can communicate with each other. We could use MS Access to send an email via MS Outlook. We could also be using Microsoft Access to output sales figures to MS Excel or vice versa.

There are certainly many benefits of using Microsoft Access and it is worth thinking about what the best way forward is.