Microsoft Access 2010 review

£89
Price when reviewed

Data can also be linked or imported from SQL Server, Excel and Outlook among others, while import and export operations can be saved for reuse -a time-saver if you receive weekly updates in spreadsheet format. Another handy feature allows a history of memo field entries to be stored. With this feature enabled, you simply right-click the field, select “Show column history…”, and it launches a list of all previous entries, each one time- and date-stamped.

Finally, as with other Office 2010 applications, there’s a focus on aesthetics, making it easy to customise a database with a theme. You get 40 design schemes in all, which instantly apply a consistent look to forms and reports (both client and web versions). A theme can be applied to single objects or to all objects of one type, and colours can be tweaked too.

Conditional formatting, now available in reports, has also been drafted in, offering an effective way to make particular values, or ranges of values stand out. Templates, meanwhile, are provided as in previous versions, with the client templates joined by five new ones for web databases.

Microsoft Access 2010

But while these improvements are all well and good, it’s disappointing that Microsoft doesn’t appear to have been acting on customer requests. A prime example is the Next Record button, which before 2007 had an auto-repeat function for fast-forwarding through records. In 2007, it stopped working – much to the irritation of many users and developers – and despite a promise to fix the bug, it still hasn’t been resolved.

For small businesses in the web-aware world, the burden of implementing SharePoint can be an onerous one, and that will undoubtedly turn many to its easier to use, easier to learn rival, FileMaker Pro 11.

But part of the reason Access takes longer to learn is that it enforces better database design on those you build. For that reason it will continue to be the PC-based database of choice for many people, and rightly so.

Details

Software subcategoryOffice software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Linux supported?no
Operating system Mac OS X supported?no

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