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Access is a relational database management system from Microsoft that combines the relational Microsoft Jet Database Engine with a graphical user interface and software development tools. It is a member of the Microsoft Office suite of applications and is included in the Professional and higher versions for Windows and also sold separately. There is no version for MacOS or for Microsoft Office Mobile.

Access stores data in its own format based on the Access Jet Database Engine. It can also import or link directly to data stored in other Access databases, Excel, SharePoint lists, text, XML, Outlook, HTML, dBase, Paradox, Lotus 1-2-3, or any ODBC-compliant data container including Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL and PostgreSQL.Software developers and data architects can use it to develop application software and non-programmer “power users” can use it to build simple applications. It supports some  object-oriented techniques but falls short of being a fully object-oriented development tool.

Microsoft Access is part of the Microsoft Office suite and is the most popular Windows desktop database application. It is targeted for the information worker market, and is the natural progression for managing data when the need for a relational database arises or after reaching the limits of Microsoft Excel.


Tool Type

Survey Tools

General Associations
access (1), application (4), database (11), prebuilt (1), templates (2)

Notes on License

Comes with Microsoft Office (Package License?).


As of 06-20-09, the Current version of Office: $229 Full/$109.95 Uprgrade.

Note, however that it is available at no cost to students, faculty and staff at UVa through our Campus Agreement


  • Prebuilt solutions. 

The new Getting Started screen includes a variety of prebuilt database solutions. Use these applications right out of the box to track contacts, events, issues, assets, tasks, and more — or treat them like templates, and enhance and refine them to accommodate the kind of information you want to track or the way in which you want to track it. As other application templates become available from Microsoft Office Online, they will be advertised in the Getting Started screen.

  •  Office Fluent user interface. 

Office Access 2007 has been updated with a fresh look that makes it easier to create, modify, and work with tracking applications (Access database solutions). The Office Fluent user interface (UI) is context-sensitive and optimized for efficiency and discoverability. From the nearly 1,000 available commands, the Fluent UI displays only those relevant to the task you are performing at any given moment. In addition, the tabbed windows view and a new status bar, scroll bars, and title bar give applications built on Office Access 2007 a very modern look.

  • Improved navigation. 

The new Navigation Pane provides a comprehensive view of tables, forms, queries, and reports. You can even create custom groups to organize and see all the forms and reports related to a single table.

  • Quickly create tables. 

Office Access 2007 makes it easier to work directly within a datasheet to create and customize tables. Enter information into a data cell — just as you do in Microsoft Office Excel. When you enter a new value, Office Access 2007 automatically adds a new field and detects the data type (for example, date, number, or text). You can even paste Excel tables into a new datasheet, and Office Access 2007 will build all the fields and recognize the data types automatically.

  • Import contact records from Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. 

Office Access 2007 makes it easy to exchange an individual Access contact record with Office Outlook 2007. You can import an Outlook contact record into Office Access 2007; you can also export a contact record from Office Access 2007 and save it as a contact in Office Outlook 2007.

  • Filter and sort data. 

Office Access 2007 makes it easier to filter data, bringing clarity to business questions. Different filter options are available for text, numbers, and date data types. For example, new filtering options make it easy to filter a date column for all records in Today, Yesterday, Last Week, Next Month, Future, Past, and so on. The filtering experience is consistent between Office Excel 2007 and Office Access 2007 so that you don’t need to learn a new way to find the information they need.

  • Work with multivalue fields. 

Office Access 2007 supports complex data types, so you can create columns that accept more than one value in a cell. For example, if you assign a task to more than one person, you can include both names in the cell. Windows SharePoint Services technology is compatible with these complex data types to help ensure data symmetry between the local and Web-based data stores. 

  • Attach documents and files to your database. 

Your applications can hold information that is more interesting and helpful than ever before. You can attach multiple files — such as photos, documents, or spreadsheets — to individual records within the data store for easy reference. If the file isn’t a compressed format, Office Access 2007 automatically compresses it for you, saving hard disk space.

  • Interactive forms design. 

Office Access 2007 features a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) forms design interface. You can design and modify the form layout in real time on the screen — and preview your form as you build it. With the WYSIWYG design interface, you can build forms very quickly, spending more time doing the work and less time on design and formatting issues. Rich text. Bold text? Italics? No problem. Office Access 2007 provides rich text support for data stored in tables.

  • Handles unicode

Usage Scenarios

. (last updated July 10, 2009)

A Teaching Usage Scenario

Yitna offers:

  • Basic training (in relation to coldFusion) 
  • Intermediate training


  • As teaching tool (mappable organization of data)

. (last updated July 10, 2009)

. (last updated July 10, 2009)

Version and Plans

As of April 28, 2009, Current version is  12.0.6425.1000 (2007 SP2).

Interface Languages
English (416)


. (last updated July 2, 2009)

Mike Chapple, (,'s Top-5 Desktop Databases:


Technical Details


UVa Support

ITC officially supports it. There are access experts on Grounds. 

Developer Resources

Access is widely used enough to find support in the community of UVa. 


How to design database tables: link

How to create a table: link

How to create relationships among your database tables : link

Other Free Lessons: link1 2

Access (Previous version 2000): link

Also, ITC offers tutorials. Yitna Firdyiwek teaches Access in combination with Coldfusion.

More Information

Microsoft’s official Access site: link

Microsoft’s official Access forum: link

Microsoft’s official Access discussion group: link