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Frequently Asked Questions 

What is Microsoft Access?

Access is a database application included in most Microsoft Office/Office 365 editions for Windows. Unlike its more popular cousin Excel, it is a relational database with tables, fields, and queries. Code in the Visual Basic for Applications language may be used to automate the database. Forms can be created to view and edit data, reducing the risk of errors. Access also allows for generating detailed reports customized by date, category, and sorting options. This software has been available for many years and is still widely used across the globe.

Will Access run on my Mac computer?

There are a range of options for installing Windows-based software applications like Access on a Mac. Using the one that's right one for you depends on which Mac system you have. Once you make this modification, you’ll be able to run your Mac as usual or switch to the Windows overlay. Consult a Mac specialist for help choosing and installing the best one for your situation.

Is Access outdated?

Newer database software options are typically web-based, making them convenient for users on-the-go with laptops and phones. This is a great advantage! However, these applications often require a subscription, meaning there is a recurring monthly or annual fee for each user. If the fee is not paid, there is a risk of losing all stored data.

If you have an unreliable internet connection or prefer to store your data locally, Access is the more suitable choice. If you already have a Microsoft Office version that includes Access, there is no extra cost to use it.

Can my whole team use an Access database at once?

Yes, Access can be configured to operate as a multi-user system. Access databases may easily be “split” such that the tables where data is stored are placed on one computer, or “server” computer, and the forms, queries, and reports (“the frontend”) are installed on each user’s machine. Each “frontend” database is then linked to the tables in the “backend” database via a LAN  or “Local Area Network”. As users change the data, it’s instantly updated in the backend and becomes available to all. Record locking seamlessly prevents users from updating the same record in the same table at the same time.

Can I view my Access data on the web with my browser?

Yes! There are a few options for doing this. You can place your data on your SharePoint site, use an SQL server configuration, or pay a monthly fee to a 3rd party host. Each of these requires a more complex setup than using a LAN, but the benefits of having your Access database be portable and widely accessible are significant.  

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