Microsoft Access Review: "The best friend of people who are not IT professionals, but suddenly need a relational database to be mastered, designed and implemented by yesterday!"
I utilize Access databases frequently,
ignoring 'weird looks' given to me by IT professionals who consider anything
less than Oracle not a true database, but some sort of a 'toy'. However, Access
fits the bill perfectly in some cases. Back in 1996, I had to resolve a problem
very quickly, by creating a 'tool' to keep track of problems encounters by
buyers from the procurement department in ordering certain parts, like parts
for old designs and currently unavailable due to obsolescence, or parts having
an unacceptable long lead time. The need was for a relatively simple and small
database, allowing recording of such problems, recording of the progress made
by the Component Engineering department in finding a solution and the recording
of the solution itself, when one was found. I selected Microsoft Access as a
platform, since it appeared relatively simple compared to more powerful
databases, and my proficiency in other members of the Office suite making the
learning curve shorter. And it worked very well. The implementation took only
three weeks and the results were very much appreciated by its users. I believe
this database it is still in use.
- An Access database can be designed and put to use rather fast, in order to answer an immediate need, even if the design must be done by someone with no previous exposure to Access. It can be modified/improved later on, without much impact on the users.
- A relatively simple Access database does not require knowledge of any programming language. It can be implemented by using 'macros', which are of a 'point-and-click' type.
- If a more complex application is required, Access is fully compatible with Visual Basic for Applications language, which is a object-oriented, even-driven programming language, designed by Microsoft specifically for utilization by all modules belonging to the Office suite.
- Since the commonality of VBA across Office, Access databases can be made to interface with other Office applications, and in particular with Excel.
- Access is easy to master, cheap, and allows easily the construction of aesthetically pleasing interfaces with the user, while remaining quite powerful. Due to these reasons, it yields itself to be sometimes used for the design of non-database applications, but specialized calculators.
- It cannot accommodate as many records or as many concurrent users an Oracle or similar database can.
- It is not as reliable as a database of 'industrial strength' is.
- It does not work fast, particularly when when large amount of code was used for its design or when a relatively many users attempt to utilize it simultaneously.
Microsoft Access is very suitable whenever the objective of the project is a database where:
1. The timeframe of the project must be short and the start of the project must be immediate.
2. Specialised personnel from IT department is not available, due to their own prioritization scheme.
3. The designer tasked with the design, implementation and deployment of the database, is a technically-oriented person in general, but having no previous knowledge of Access in particular.
4. The size of the envisaged database is relatively small, both in the number of records to be stored in it, as well in the number of concurrent users.
Microsoft Access is not suitable when:
1. The requirements are for an 'Enterprise' type of database, expected to acummulate over time a very large number of records (large manufacturing company, storing many parts numbers over the years).
2. The database is expected to be access by a very large number of users concurrently (e.g., a bank, accessed by numerous customers simultaneously).
3. The time taken by the execution for each transaction must be as small as possible.
4. The database must be of 'industrial strength', meaning very reliable, with no crushes and no corrupted records.
- Facilitate the integration of databases provided by Windows-based development programs.
- It is compatible with widely used programs that are not necessarily from Microsoft such as Oracle and Sybase.
- You have the possibility of placing the information processed in the databases online.
- It is one of the programs that work with the most popular databases in the world, therefore, it does not require expenses in training activities or the hiring of very specialized personnel, thus being a saving for the company.
- Microsoft Access should seek the option to increase its capacity to greater than 2GB so all the company can use it without a problem, currently, it's used by small and medium enterprises.
- I think they can expand the option of expanding the capacity of users allowed for large organizations to use.
- Microsoft Access is not the best database tool for immediate use but for long-term work.
- Among the tools that may hinder its use are that Access has a relatively low design compared to other programs. It is difficult to customize and adapt to the controls and forms at the beginning.
- Microsoft Access adapts well in departments where databases do not have much content, or where you do not have to perform complex programming or require working with many variables.
- Microsoft Access does not adapt well in organizations that require the management of large information content or where many variables must be included, or large companies that require the continuous management of results.
- Ability to manage all information
- Tables to store data
- Consult to search and retrieve only the data you need
- Forms to view, add and update or analyze the internet data
- Volume of data or users
- Among its biggest drawbacks are that it is not multiplatform
- Access has a simple user interface and is intuitive enough for more people to use without much confusion. While this may seem to imply that it has fewer functionalities than other software, that is not true.
- Good performance for small personal applications. For example, when reporting about a small company, its performance is great.
- Access is a popular program which means more people have knowledge of it and it is included on the expectation of most people hired for data positions.
- Access has slow performance when dealing with tens and hundreds of thousands of records. As an enterprise we have millions of customers and assets and Access doesn't seem to be equipped to handle such volumes.
- Access is not really ideal for bigger companies because of limited space and allowed number of users
- It is relatively easy to use. It behaves much like Microsoft Excel.
- It is very powerful in that it has a lot of capability.
- The user interface has not been updated in 10 years, when I used it for the first time. Given other products the user interface is awkward. It feels like you need to make many mouse clicks to perform tasks.
- Setting up forms for the screen and for printing is hard to set up.
Access is great for a quick fix to a problem that is not too complicated, or for brainstorming and prototyping possible solutions for those problems.
- Microsoft Access is great at cranking out quick solutions for simple programming problems
- Once Access has been learned, the same concepts are readily transferable to create more complex VBA macros in Excel, Word, and other Microsoft Office products.
- It is easy to integrate with most other Windows-based back-end databases such as SQL and Oracle.
- It can be placed on websites to allow remote users to access the data
- Sharing an Access database with users of mixed Windows operating systems can lead to data integrity problems.
- Security is only basic, so for sensitive data, a more robust back-end should be implemented.
- Files can grow to an ungainly size, so periodic database compaction is necessary. The larger the files grow, naturally performance suffers.
- User friendly - it doesn't take much work to begin using Microsoft Access
- Keeps track of my contacts - If I need to quickly find a contact, it saves the information without having to be prompted every time. I always hit 'save' at the end of the day just to be sure, but I have never lost any information I have entered.
- Easy to access - I can access on my desktop at work or on an app on my phone.
- Rudimentary - it's a pretty basic software, which means when you open it up for the first time there doesn't seem to be a lot offered from the start, but once you decide your application for use, and implement it, it is pretty dependable.
- Saving confusion - I was confused in the beginning about how to save information that I had just entered into the system. There is nothing that indicates that what you have entered in the database would be saved, but I have never lost information once it has been entered.
- Find and analyze needed data and information at ease.
- Integrates with MS Office.
- Helps in database management by organising data into simplified forms made from basic templates.
- Limited storage capacity.
- Requires the user to know VBA when using it for object-oriented programming.
- Often crashes and ends up corrupting the whole database.
- Data table preview, you can view the result data quickly for a relatively smaller result set.
- Great compatibility with Excel, import tables/queries to excel flawlessly.
- slow performance in a relatively large dataset.
- old Microsoft syntax for SQL language. Some basic syntax needs to be learned to write SQL in access.
- multiple users cannot work together at the same time in one database.
- Microsoft Access is fast performing software, which is always a plus. I also appreciate that it connects seamlessly to Microsoft software, among other products. It is easy to troubleshoot just by googling solutions.
- Critics might say that the software is simple when compared to similar other products, but I would argue that the simplicity of Access is an advantage. It is easy to learn and it rarely malfunctions, even when communicating with other systems.
- Microsoft Access does have its limits in terms of performance. Our use for it does not mean we've reached this point yet, but we are a relatively small organization. For a larger company, I'm not sure how well Access would suit the needs of high data usage, or multiple users in the tens or hundreds.
- The front end interface could be viewed as fairly simplistic (it's not the newest software out there in this category as far as I know). I don't necessarily mind this fact, but I could see it being viewed as a negative in certain situations.
- Organization - Its layout is particularly conducive to organizing data and is very user-friendly. Working with data is simple so long as you have a working knowledge of either building your own forms/reports or SQL.
- Integration - Since Access is an Office product, it integrates nicely with Excel. This allows for not only the freedom of designing the data and reports you generate but also that it is quick to pick up as most people have some experience with Excel.
- Support - Since there is already a large compendium of help and useful tricks/tips for Office products, there is always an answer to whatever question you may have or outcome that you are trying to achieve.
- Long loading times for larger datasets - Depending on the data with which you are working, it can take a while to open and save documents. Additionally, if you are working with multiple datasets that are joined, this is all saved into one file and seems to make the issue worse.
- Learning curve - Without a relatively strong background in either database management or SQL, it can be difficult to adapt to Access. The layout isn't very intuitive for new users and so it takes time to learn the ins and outs.
- File size limit - Access has a 2GB file size limit, which, for the large majority of cases is not a problem. For those instances where you are working with multiple large datasets, though, this will be an issue unless you link multiple Access databases.
- You can make many Tables to store data
- Forms to view, add and update the data in the tables
- You can store the data once in a table and view it from several places
- I can consult for and recover the data that only I need
- Access works with Visual Basic so that applications can offer greater functionality
- Has a great competence of databases
- Has very little capacity, should expand more
- If your database needs to be protected by extensive database security protocols, then Access may not be the best option
- It limits the options to choose and use the data since all the information in your database is saved in a single file
- Has a limit of users, which does not work very well or for large companies
- Easy to use as an "intro level" database tool
- Intuitive design
- Familiarity if users are current Excel or Word users
- Updated interface
- More connection options (both live and static)
- Potentially higher processing power
- The interface is simple enough where entry-level users can build a way to consume the data they need without much effort or training. Advanced users can create fairly robust apps for their teams to use.
- The wizards are particularly easy for users to begin consuming data. In most cases, I don't have to get involved in developing Access applications unless they want specific data from one of our SQL databases that needs to be exposed.
- In addition to being self contained data stores, Access has the ability to read external data as well. In many cases, all I have to do is write a view in one of our SQL databases and users can get the data they need without me having to constantly write sql queries or design reports for them.
- Being that I also manage terabytes of actual SQL databases, I find that Access isn't great and accessing large amounts of data. Sometimes users ask for data sets that Access just doesn't deal with very well. I run in to performance issues and sometimes corruption issues with large data sets and complex apps.
- This one isn't really the fault of Access, but it's something to consider from an IT standpoint...as a DBA, I'm by default, spoken and unspoken, I'm expected to be responsible for the safety of all the data in our organization. That includes these Access apps that are so easy for users to create and then neglect to place in a location that gets backed up. I have been chastised for not being able to protect data that I didn't know existed. So if you have data that is critical to the business, even if it's a small but volatile data set, then you might want to consider a full-fledged database solution.
- It lacks the security features of more advanced database systems. Again, not a direct fault with Access, but users tend to feel they can put whatever data they want in these Access apps and don't pay attention to the fact that they could potentially expose data that doesn't need to be exposed.
- Sharing datasets across teams or individuals. When we have a scenario where storing a dataset in an actual centralized database is not practical its great to be able to quickly just put a dataset out on a shared drive that anyone on the team can pull in.
- Access is a great stepping stone for someone that is just getting involved in datasets and does not have the resources to create centralized databases
- The ability to import pretty much any file into an access dataset
- The user interface is a little bit cumbersome
- Volume within an access dataset can be a problem if you get too large and exporting the data can take a lot of time
- This tool is for quick fast creation and manipulation of data this is not for larger datasets.
- It is highly customizable, so if you have access to someone who understands how to build the system you can do so many things with it.
- It can be intimidating and difficult to learn. Not for someone who is impatient or not technical.
- I wish Microsoft Access had better support resources. I always felt like I was on my own when I had to resolve issues.
- It's very easy for user errors to throw everything off.
- MS Access provides perfect and flexible solution for small/medium organization.
- It is very easy to implement.
- It is easy to use. Coding skill is not required. However, it does provide the capacity for advanced features if you can code.
- Please make saved imports editable.
- More form layout templates please.
- Please be more specific with error message.
It is not ideal to support multi-users applications.
- Simple enough that you do not need to know SQL.
- Since Access is part of the Microsoft Suite, the functions are intuitive since we already use Excel extensive.
- The user interface is simple enough that people without database knowledge do not feel overwhelmed.
- I have trouble with printing issues. The format is not automatically done for you before printing.
- There may be a control issue. The back-end data if unlocked could be tampered with.
- The templates that are built in are not robust.
- Not as powerful as Oracle databases.
- Access can hold a large amount of data and act as a data repository.
- Access can create macros that allow you to quickly update your numbers.
- Access is widely used across multiple companies and departments.
- Access reports do have a size limit which will ultimately cause a problem for larger businesses.
- SQL is used in Access and not everyone is familiar or able to write SQL.
- Access is a snapshot in time and will not update without a manual effort.
- Database - extremely powerful . Simple, easy to use front end for the user - with extremely pwoerful database in back.
- Good reports.
- Database is very powerful. Front-end user-friendly menus can be developed with lots of "power" behind the scenes.
- Security of information.
- Large capacity to hold multiple years data.
- Access is very easy to get started with and has some advanced features if necessary. Our customers enjoy the simplicity of getting started with Access.
- Front end creation is simple to create which facilitates data entry.
- Provides an introduction to relational databases without needing to know how to code in SQL.
- Frontend sharing needs developed. A workaround is required to make sure any changes to the frontend is pushed to the user.
- Coding functionality is non-intuitive and difficult to learn for most people. This area has not been improved for ages. This severely limits the user from providing more useful front ends.
Unsuited for shared databases or front end use.
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