Alexander Conroy

Microsoft Access Reporting – A Difficult Start

A client of mine has me working with Microsoft Access. Let me start by saying I am no expert in Microsoft access. I understand the principles behind SQL, as they are very similar to mySQL, but even still working with access has been interesting if not frustrating.

Microsoft Access Logo

Organized much like every other Microsoft Office product, Access menus and options are in the Ribbon. Finding what I have needed has been difficult, not to mention trying to decrypt MS Access terminology. Using a GUI for Database manipulation has been difficult as well and trying to get things to show up without a web interface has been frustrating.

MS Access is a powerful tool though, once I set up my table relationships, perfected my queries and showed my client how pivot tables work, I ran into the next problem..reporting. I am struggling to understand how MS accesses reporting tool works. I can get it to display some of the reports I need…but not all. This probably has to do with the fact I have never used their reporting tool beyond today. I’ll probably get it right tomorrow…being a Technomancer and all. The Database Setup took just a couple hours, after massaging Data that my client had from various sources into one accurate list (without duplicates). Being an autodidact has its benefits. Although I’m wishing I would have paid more attention that that MS Access portion of the office product classes I took many moons ago.

One of the most helpful resources so far has been Crystal’s Access Basic Tutorial. Bless her for writing it. I found her resource on Utter microsoft access forums, a place I may frequent much more often from now on. I recommend checking these out for anyone else starting off with Microsoft Access. My recommendation though, stick with PHP and mySQL, write your own reports and front ends on the web so that the data is easier to access, manipulate and remains out of Microsoft’s proprietary clutches. Avoid them as much as possible…offer open source alternatives…unless the client insists on using them of course!