MS Access is a Great Way to Cut Your Teeth into Relational Databases
March 28, 2019

MS Access is a Great Way to Cut Your Teeth into Relational Databases

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Access

End users use Microsoft Access for simple single-user interfaces to input data, store data, join data, and report. The data used is generally specific to one person's job (or sometimes a small group) but it is NOT used for data that is delivered enterprise-wide or even when it leaves a department. As this is a desktop application, it does not handle multi-user access very well. It is generally used to essentially modify data held in spreadsheets, although there is some direct ODBC access to data in Oracle, SQL Server, etc.
  • Quickly use simple database features to join tables.
  • Provides a GUI to perform tasks that can usually only be done with SQL code.
  • Runs a database on a personal computer, without having to have a server installation.
  • Provides a GUI to input data to tables.
  • Table data (or views) can easily be put into simple reports and delivered to end-users.
  • Does not work well for multiple concurrent users. It is a single-user application.
  • There is obviously no point-in-time recovery of the data, as would be provided with enterprise-grade databases.
  • Part of the Microsoft Office Suite, which is a mixed blessing. It has a similar interface to other Office products, which I find cumbersome. Others might like that.
  • Access runs many business processes. They mainly begin with a manual process that someone developed on their desktop with MS Access. As the process matures, is refined and becomes a dependency, it is then moved away from Access onto more enterprise-grade software.
  • Access helps us provide quick ad-hoc reporting to management without an expensive Business Intelligence license.
  • For number crunchers, Access is a must-have.
MS Access is the little brother to all these products. In no way is it as feature-rich as the competition I have selected. It is, however, great when used properly. It does not have the same level of security, availability, access, or recoverability as anything listed above. But, it is cheap and lightweight. If this is your first exposure to a relational database, MS Access is a great way to cut your teeth. I have been a DBA for 10 years now, and I learned all database fundamentals from first experimenting and using MS Access.
For quick, single-user data, nothing beats Access. It runs light on a personal computer and can be a great place to keep relational data, provided that data recoverability, availability, and security are not a concern. It's essentially like having inter-related spreadsheets. If an end user in Human Resources just wants to join his EMPLOYEE table with his ADDRESS table, Access is fantastic.