Category Archives: Microsoft Access

Using Visual Studio to Manage Your Data

(This article was updated in August 2018 for use with Visual Studio 2017.)

Moving Beyond Microsoft Access

I’ve written a lot about Microsoft Access over the years and still believe it’s a great training ground for people who want to learn to design database applications. Its user-friendly interface provides an easy learning curve and introduction to the basics of relational databases, data entry forms and report design. If you want to get serious about programming, however, it’s important to expand your skillset beyond Access with tools that are in demand by potential employers and customers.

One of these tools is Microsoft Visual Studio, the development suite that provides access to the .NET family of languages including C# and VB.NET. With Visual Studio, you can create a variety of professional applications from Windows form applications to websites powered by ASP.NET. While Microsoft Access provides some impressive tools for the office power user and even some full-time programmers, Visual Studio is the next step up the development ladder. It enables professional programmers to design any type of solution without being tied to a Microsoft Office installation and without the limitations of the Windows desktop. A couple quick searches of sites like will show you the kind of jobs and salaries that knowledge of Visual Studio can lead to as opposed to Microsoft Access.

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What You Need to Know About Database Technology

In the modern world, our daily activities follow and leave a rich trail of electronic data from e-mail and text messages to credit card transactions and medical records. At its simplest, the data could be an address book or contact list stored in a text file while more complex information such as a store’s inventory and customer information might take up terabytes of space on network servers and require full-time administrators to maintain it. Most of this data is stored in electronic databases of one kind or another where it can be searched, sorted and easily retrieved as needed.

After a basic understanding of how to work with computers, knowing the basics of how data is stored and manipulated is an important part of being technically savvy in today’s world. Whether you work with large amounts of data and need to organize it better or you need to communicate with the people who do, the better you understand the technology, the more effectively you’ll be able to face the daily challenges that come from living in a data-driven world.

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Removing Duplicate Records in Microsoft Access

Occasionally, you might have a table in Access that contains duplicate records.  Maybe it was imported from one or more sources or perhaps it was not setup with the necessary key to ensure unique records. Whatever the reason, now you want to make sure that the records in the table are unique. Fortunately, Access offers a couple of options that you can use to remove the duplicates from your table quickly and easily.  This article will explain two methods for removing duplicate information from tables.

Read the full article here on

Data Analysis with Microsoft Access

One of the strengths of Access is its ability to import and link to data from different sources.  Excel does this too but with Access you can go on to query and report on the data in ways that Excel doesn’t readily provide.  This can come in handy as part of an application but it’s also useful for quick analysis of new information.

Read the full article here on


Microsoft Access for Beginners / JobSearch 2010

I’ve started to see some sales of the eBook version of “Microsoft Access for Beginners” and was happy to hear from one of the readers today, despite the fact that he was reporting a problem …

It seems there was an issue with the Access 2007 / 2010 version of the program that I believe had to do with differing installations of Access 2007.  I’ve corrected the problem and the corrected version is available for download.

Whether or not you’ve bought the book, JobSearch 2010 is definitely worth a look.  This is a free program designed with Access 2007 that helps to organize your job search by enabling you to store complete information on every job lead in one place, track the progress of individual leads and follow-up on opportunities more effectively.  If you don’t have Microsoft Access, there’s a version that includes the Access 2007 run-time, a free version of Microsoft Access that will enable you to run the program and change data while preventing any design changes to the program.

For more information, check out the download page where you’ll find links to all the versions available and a program manual to help you get started.

Bringing things up to date …

Every so often, I remember that I have a blog attached  to the site and I make new promises to myself to keep it up to date but it doesn’t seem to happen that often.

2011 was a busy year for me which was one reason I didn’t update the blog much.  It’s easier to post quick thoughts to Facebook than deal with the expectations of a blog entry.  Those updates tend to get lost in the ether, though, and if I’m going to spend time and effort writing interesting things, I’d rather use them for my own promotion than Facebook’s.

After working independently for an extended period, last year started with a new full-time job that looked like an interesting opportunity.  I did manage to gain some extra experience with ASP.NET while acting as the sole developer on an online solution for the company and consulting on other applications.  The position was not without its drawbacks, however, and at the end of September I had my first experience of anticipating exactly when the axe was going to fall.  When I left for the day one Thursday, I made sure to clean out my desk and sure enough, the layoff came early the next day.

Microsoft Access for BeginnersI hit the ground running, though. By the end of October, in addition to updating my resume and other job search fun, I’d completed the project to turn the Microsoft Access for Beginners series into an eBook. On October 31, it went live on as my first Kindle offering and I’ve started to see some sales. I probably should have added a dedication to Starbucks where I spent so many hours staying caffeinated while editing material and figuring out how to get around formatting issues.

I decided to see how the book plays on before reformatting for other outlets and I was a little sick of looking at the project so I moved on to other things including setting up a Facebook page for  After sending out some more resumes, my phone started ringing off the hook and by the beginning of December, I’d landed a new contract as a programmer at a local company.  I actually managed to get two job offers within 24 hours which was a new experience for me.  The other one would have meant moving to Jacksonville and I decided  to stay local.

So, since December, I’ve been gaining a lot more experience developing ASP.NET web applications with Visual Studio 2010 and SQL Server 2008.  Having a regular work schedule again where I could leave the job behind at the end of the day was nice for awhile but I’ve also found it’s inherently limiting. I need to start accomplishing things on my own again so I’m looking at dusting off some of those  projects that I put on hold to accommodate the day job and seeing what I can do with them.

More updates here would probably be a really good start …

Switching between Access 2010 windows

A visitor to the site asked about using ALT-TAB to switch between open Access windows.  This refers to the “Windows in Taskbar” feature which was available in Access prior to Access 2007.  You could set Access to display a button for every open Access window on the Windows Task Bar and use the standard ALT-TAB to switch between them.  I usually disabled it because I didn’t like all of those taskbar buttons for the same program.

This feature is no longer present in Access 2007 / 2010, although it’s still available for Word and Excel.  One option that is still available is the Ctrl-F6 key combination.  Using Ctrl-F6 or Shift-Ctrl-F6 (for reverse order) you can switch between all open windows in your Access program, including forms, open tables and the database widow.


Of  course, I usually design Access applications to keep only a couple windows open at a time and my forms have links or buttons that take the user back to the appropriate menu or screen.  During design time, though, or when you’re creating a quick and dirty app for analysis, this can come in handy.

JobSearch 2010 Update

JobSeach 2010 is now out of beta testing and version 1.01 is available for download.  If you’re looking for a job or know someone who is, this is a great tool that can help you maximize your search.  JobSearch 2010 includes contact management, lead tracking and flexible reporting all in one program … and it’s FREE!  No obligation, no registration, no charge!


New Article: Data Analysis with Microsoft Access

Most of the articles I’ve written on Microsoft Access have been about designing database applications that are meant for regular use.  One of the strengths of Access, however, is its ability to import and link to data from different sources.  Excel does this too but with Access you can go on to query and report on the data in ways that Excel doesn’t readily provide.  This can come in handy as part of an application but it’s also useful for quick analysis of new information.  I found a new example of this the other day when I was looking over the website statistics for …

Read more in –  “Crunching the Data:  Data Analysis with Microsoft Access

JobSearch 2010 – Personal Job Search Assistant

jslogoJobSearch 2010 is a personal job search organizer that enables you to manage all of your information in one easy to use program.  With this tool, you can maintain complete detail on each lead and have it all instantly available at the click of a mouse or offline through one of the available reports.  Never lose track of an opportunity again or be at a loss for the information you need on an interview with this free software from

The beta version of JobSearch 2010 is now available for download and testing.  If you’d like to try it out and give your input on how it works for you, you can see the full details with screenshots at on


In addition to the free download, I will be starting a series of articles detailing the development process for JobSearch 2010 for those interested in learning more about programming and software development.  So keep checking back because there will be more to come soon!