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I. LEARNING THE ACCESS ESSENTIALS.
II. CREATING A DATABASE AND ITS OBJECTS.
III. STORING, CONTROLLING, AND MANIPULATING DATA.
IV. CREATING THE INTERFACE: INPUT AND OUTPUT.
V. AUTOMATING THE DATABASE.
VI. BEYOND THE DESKTOP.
[Figures are not included in this sample chapter]
For the first time, you can save an Access database as a previous version file,so you can easily share your databases with someone that hasn't upgraded. Simplychoose Database Utilities from the Tools menu. Then, select ConvertDatabase, and finally, select To Prior Access Database Version to savethe current Access 2000 database as an Access 97 file.
If you've been using an older version of Access, you'll be glad to know that Access2000 won't shock your sensibilities. Most of those familiar and convenient optionsthat you've come to rely on are still readily available. If you're new to Acc esswith this new release, you'll find Access easier to use than ever before.
The first enhancement old users will probably notice is the new Database window(see Figure 3.1). This window is consistent with other Office applications, specificallyOutlook 2000. The tabs across the top of the Database window in older releases arereplaced by the Database object bar to the left. There's a new object--Pages--inthe object list. This object is actually an HTML document that you can view withInternet Explorer 5.0, a feature that won't work with earlier versions.
Learn more about the new Pages object on page 578
You can click any item on the Database window object bar to update the contentsof the Database window. For example, Figure 3.1 shows all the table objects in theNorthwind database (which comes with Access 2000, but you must install it). To seeall the forms, click the Objects button at the top of the object bar, andthen click Forms; to see queries, click Queries, and so on. If youclick the Groups button at the bottom of the object bar, Access displays alist of user-defined groups. These groups can contain any type of native object andare new to Access 2000; you'll use them to organize your objects in most any wayyou want.
Many old commands are now available from the Database window object bar. Simplyright-click the object bar to display the shortcut menu in Figure 3.2. If you right-clickthe list area (the white background), Access displays a smaller version of this menu(see Figure 3.3). If you choose Arrange Icons, you can control the way Accesssorts the objects. Specifically, you can sort by the object's name or type. You canalso sort by the date you created or modified each object.
The Database window also sports a new menu bar across the top. The commands areself-explanatory.
The four icons to the right of the menu bar aren't new to Access, but they arenew to the Database window. (They were on the Database object bar.) These featuresallow you to display the list of objects in different ways. For instance, the LargeIcons button displays the objects as large icons (see Figure 3.4). Likewise, theSmall Icons button displays the objects as small icons. The List button is the defaultdisplay--creating a list of object names. The Details button lists information--adescription, the creation date, a modified date, and the object type--about the object.
The File dialog box has also had a makeover. It looks different, but you've seenmost of it before. The biggest change is the toolbar on the left (see Figure 3.5).You'll find this on all the File dialog boxes (Open, Save, Import, and Export). Iwon't show each one because the additions are basically the same for each dialogbox.
The My Documents folder is the default. You can look for files anywhe re in yoursystem by using the Look In drop-down list, but the new toolbar quickly takes youto the Desktop and the Favorites folder. The History folder tracks the files you'veworked on.
A new addition to this release is the Recent button, which allows you tostep backward through your last few tasks in the dialog box. The View buttonreplaces the Large Icons, Small Icons, List, and Details icons from the last version.The Tools button is actually a drop-down menu with the following commands:Find, Delete, Rename, Add to Favorites, Map NetworkDrive, and Properties. The remaining buttons aren't new to this version.
Earlier versions allowed you to open a database exclusively. New with this versionis the Open button, which gives you several new options: Open, OpenRead-Only, Open Exclusive, and Open Exclusive Read-Only.
One of the most useful additions is the new Clipboard menu (see Figure 3.6), whichis available with Access, Excel, Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. If you dock the Clipboardmenu to the current toolbar, you'll lose the Item options.
Access doesn't display the toolbar by default; you must open it. To display theClipboard toolbar, choose Toolbars from the View menu. Then, choosethe Clipboard option.
An alternative way to open the Clipboard toolbar
The quickest way to open the Clipboard toolbar is to sim ply copy the same item to the Clipboard twice in a row. To do so, just click the Copy button on the current object menu twice. Access automatically displays the Clipboard toolbar. (This feature works consistently in Design view, but not in others.)
The Clipboard saves up to 12 items for later recall. However, the Pastebutton pastes the most recently copied item. By using the Clipboard toolbar, youcan quickly access the other 11. (Figure 3.6 shows only four item slots. Don't worry--asyou copy new items to the Clipboard, the Clipboard toolbar displays empty new slots.)
2. When you're ready to start pasting, click the spot where you want to paste an item to.
3. Select the appropriate Item option from the Clipboard toolbar. Access copies the selected item to the current object (the object you selected earlier). Or, you can click Paste All to paste all the items at once.
In earlier versions, if you renamed an object, you had to find every referenceto that object and update it as well. If you didn't, sooner or later you encounteredan error. For instance, if you changed the name of a field in one of your tablesbut didn't update the bound controls in your data-entry form, you would certainlyhave trouble using that form.
Access 2000 now automatically updates references if you change an object's name.For instance, if you change a field name in one of your tables, Access 2000 updatesall your bound controls so that you can continue to work without error. Name AutoCorrectalso updates references in queries.
You must turn this feature on for it to work. Choose Options from the Toolsmenu and click the General tab. Next, select Track Name AutoCorrect Infoin the Name AutoCorrect section. Then, turn on the feature by selecting PerformName AutoCorrect. Name AutoCorrect remains enabled through this and subsequentsessions, unless you turn it off.
Conditional formatting allows you to set a value's font, styles, and colordepending on set conditions. For instance, you can easily display positive valuesin black and negative values in red. This feature also works with values expressedas less than, greater than, between, or equal to.
To apply conditional formatting to a form or report control, while in Design view,choose Conditional Formatting from the Format menu. Access displaysthe Conditional Formatting dialog box (see Figure 3.7). The upper portionof this dialog box displays the default format; in the lower portion, select theformats you want when a value meets conditions you specify.
Microsoft Office relies on the Unicode standard to display documents correctly,regardless of their origin. The Unicode standard, developed by the Unicode consortium,governs character coding and provides a 16-bit internat ional character code for informationprocessing that covers the world's major languages. The Unicode standard definescharacter encoding, and the properties and algorithms used in its implementation.Simply put, if an application supports Unicode, Access can read that application'sfiles, which makes data transfer easier and more accurate than before.
Subdatasheets create a hierarchical display of your data in Datasheet view.Rather than view a single table or record, you can open a subdatasheet and view relateddata. For instance, if you open the Categories table in the Northwind database (whichcomes with Access 2000, but you must install it), you can expect to view only thoserecords stored in that table. However, the Categories table is related to the Productstable. By using a subdatasheet, you can display the category records and their relatedproduct records.
Viewing the subdatasheet
As soon as you open a record's subdatasheet, Access displays a minus sign to indicate that all the related records are visible. To close the subdatasheet, click the resulting minus sign.
If related records exist, Access displays an additional column at the datasheet'sleft margin. If that column contains a plus sign, the record has related records;if the column contains a minus sign, there are no related records. To see the relatedrecords (see Figure 3.8), simply click the plus sign. For instance, the first recordin the Orders table, for order 10248, has three related records.
In earlier versions of Access, if you wanted to know about relationships, youhad to use the Documenter Wizard or buy a third-party product. Now, you can use thePrint Relationships Wizard to print the Relationships window. After you open theRelationships window, choose Print Relationships from the File menu.The wizard then creates and previews a report that you can save or print.
Compacting an Access database has always been a manual task, unless you automatedit with code. Now, you can compact your database when you close it. Doing so compressesyour file each time you close it, which saves on resources. To turn on this feature,choose Options from the Tools menu. Then, on the General page, selectthe Compact on Close check box.