Microsoft Access - Excellent tool for RAD but due for a significant overhaul.
November 29, 2019

Microsoft Access - Excellent tool for RAD but due for a significant overhaul.

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

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Access

We get data from a lot of different sources for reporting purposes. MS Access helps us bring the data files into a proper relational table structure, link it and output it for reporting purposes. In other cases, it is used as our query and reporting tool linked with our data warehouse kept in SQL Server. In such cases, MS Access is used as a middle layer of data manipulation before pushing it to Excel for data visualisation.
  • Imports data from almost every common data format. Custom import specification allows more flexibility.
  • Excellent forms and report writer together query designer. Complete collection of tools in one place.
  • VBA allows complex manipulation of data and automating it to cut down repetitive work.
  • Data in MS Access can be linked directly with MS Excel, combing the powers of data management in MS Access and data visualisation in MS Excel.
  • Overall capacity, such as file size (currently 2GB max) and the number of fields allowed (currently 255) needs to be increased.
  • Needs significant enhancement to address file bloating issues.
  • It's an excellent RAD tool. Haven't been overhauled in the last 10 years or so. It's about time that Microsoft commit more resources to this brilliant product
  • Automating data through MS Access database has saved us heaps of times on a daily basis.
  • Producing descriptive reports which virtually looks like a Word document has vastly improved our reporting capability and saved time.
  • Linking MS Access with MS Excel has made it very easy to push data to end-users in an easy to manage spreadsheet style.
Unlike enterprise-level databases, MS Access doesn't require setting up a complex server environment with user security schemes. It's an excellent tool for small scale databases where purchasing and setting up a product like MS SQL Server could be an overkill. Unlike enterprise-level databases, MS Access has all the necessary tools for a complete database application development such as form and report designer, programming modules and macros. No other database application tool comes close to offering all-in-one product. You often have to use third party products to meet your needs of developing a professional GUI.
While I have never contacted Microsoft directly for product support, for some reason there's a real prejudice against MS Access among most IT support professionals. They are usually discouraging when it comes to using MS Access. Most of this is due to their lack of understanding of MS Access and how it can improve one's productivity. If Microsoft invested more resources towards enhancing and promoting the use of MS Access then maybe things would be different.

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MS Access is excellent for setting up a small scale database or to simply import data and run VBA script to automate data manipulation tasks. It's also an excellent tool to link with enterprise-level data warehouses usually kept in Oracle or MS SQL Server. In such cases MS Access simple acts as a frontend tool that can query data. You can create professional reports for publishing data.

MS Access tends to fall short while handling bigger datasets that have more than a few million records. The processing time, especially when run from a network drive can be very slow compared to running on your local machine. The file size in such cases is also a limitation. Although that limitation can be overcome using multiple backend data files it does require a bit of routine maintenance.