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Every now and then I have a home project for which I cannot afford (or do not want to deal with) a professional home contractor. Sometimes they are too expensive, or do not think my home project is big enough, or do not want to take the time to understand what I want to do. That is why I really like companies like Home Depot, Lowe's, or Ace Hardware. I know that I can go there, look around for materials and tools, talk to some folks who are more expert than me, and come out with newfound confidence that I can build a new office in my house or a new deck, or simply make a number of small yet complex fixes around the house. I don’t make my living as a professional contractor, but as the folks at Home Depot say, “You can do it, we can help.” As a person whose career has always centered on software development, I feel really passionate about users who, unlike many of us, are not professionals in software development. How do they solve their problems when they cannot afford, or do not want to deal with, professional developers? Or what happens when all of us are gone to DevConnections in Orlando, Florida, this week? One of the great things about Microsoft Access is how it helps people easily create applications that would otherwise require the expertise of a professional developer. While Microsoft Access allows users to create solutions that involve code with, for example, VBA or SQL, today we would like to talk to you, the non-professional, about a few of the features that allow you to create applications without having to write code. At the high level, Microsoft Access allows you to create data tracking applications through three main tasks: a) Storing and tracking your data: it is very easy to create the tables where your data will be stored, and to create forms on those tables to allow you to enter, edit, modify, and delete your information. It is also easy to navigate your data with datasheet views (as opposed to single-record views). Obviously, you want your data to be accurate, and Access can help you do that by defining the validation rules you want to enforce on your data. For example, you may want to ensure that the color of a product is a valid one, or that the prices of your products are not negative. b) Combining and shaping your data: Once you have data stored in your tables, you can combine it, either by joining two tables you created, or by linking it with external data. For example, you may want to "join" the data in your Invoices table with the data in your Product Information table. In Access, you do this through queries that essentially create different views against your data. c) Reporting on your data: Once you have stored data and shaped it through queries, you can easily create reports against it. These reports allow you to create totals, order your information based on a field of interest (for example, in descending order of price), and so on. Reports don't have to be done only within Access, you can also export them to Excel, where you can analyze your information for insights. These three activities represent the core of a data tracking application. Professional developers using professional development tools spend hours creating similar applications using tools like Visual Studio, and then deploying them to their users. However, with Access, this style of personal or team-based application can be created in minutes and without writing code. Moreover, it can easily be deployed to people's desktops through Microsoft SharePoint. In this manner, an application can be shared to other users, while the information remains centralized in SharePoint. In summary, just remember that, when you have a small project to track your information, with Access, "you can do it, and we can help." In the next blog post we will illustrate how to do this directly in Access.
I am a first-timer creating a small Access database. I have a textbox that holds the date on which new data is added to a form. How do I make my database to automatically input this date (system current date) without said date changing the next day? For example, if I make the control source to be "Now()" or "Today()", the date changes each day. Please help.
@Bartee, this sounds like it'd be a great question to post on Microsoft Answers; the experts there will be able to suggest the best solution for you based on your situation. Give it a try at answers.microsoft.com/.../access. Thanks for visiting the blog!