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Access 2010 for Access 2007 Users: What's New

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Roger Jennings runs through the features of Access 2010 that users of Access 2007 will find most useful.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Access 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0 were very successful standalone desktop database platforms. The first Access team consisted of highly skilled development, marketing, and management personnel who were devoted entirely to making Access the premier desktop relational database management system (RDBMS) for Windows. Access, which reports say cost $60 million to develop, sold for US$99 and, according to Jim Gray of Microsoft Research, was generating revenue of about US$300 million per year by February 1994 or earlier.

Microsoft created Office 95 Professional by adding Access to Office 95 Standard's Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Schedule+ applications and adding US$100 to the retail price. Access gained a few new features with each subsequent release, but generally suffered from not-so-benign neglect by Office management. Access 2003, for example, delivered only minor, incremental improvements over Access 2002.

Access 2007 represented a sea change to the traditional incremental improvements in version upgrades. The Office team grafted what became known as the Fluent user interface (UI) to Access 2007, which caused consternation among access veterans. According to Erik Rucker, then Group Program Manager for Access, the development team for Access 2007 was about seven times as large as that for Access 2003. The overwhelming changes to its UI represented only a fraction of the new and mostly improved features of Access 2007.

u2192.jpgTo learn more about elements of earlier versions that Access 2007 dropped, see "Features Missing from Access 2007,"

What's New in Microsoft Office Access 2010: An Overview

a14new.jpg Microsoft's primary goals for Access 2010 are to improve usability for new users and increase productivity for experienced users and developers. Following are brief descriptions of the most important new features of Access 2010:

  • File tab and Backstage View—Access 2010 replaces Access 2007's Office button with a File tab that opens what the Access team calls the Backstage View. The Backstage View contains command buttons that execute operations on entire databases, such as Open, which displays a list of recently used databases, or New, which opens a collection of templates on which to base new databases. (See Figure 1.1.) Chapter 3, "Navigating the Fluent Access User Interface," covers the Fluent UI and Backstage View in detail.
    Figure 1.1

    Figure 1.1 Clicking the new File tab opens the Backstage View of command buttons for opening a recently used database or selecting a template for creating a new database.

  • Calculated table fields—Earlier Access versions required using Access queries to create computed columns. Access 2010 enables defining fields whose values are derived from other fields in the same table. Chapter 5, "Working with Access Databases and Tables," shows you how to define calculated fields.
  • a45a0.jpg a45a3.jpg a45a4.jpg Office Themes for forms and reports—Office Themes enable applying a standardized set of colors and fonts to all custom Office applications; they replace the Autoformat feature of earlier Access versions (see Figure 1.2).
    Figure 1.2

    Figure 1.2 Office Themes let you apply preset complementary colors and font families to all Access and Office 2010 applications.

  • a4112.jpg Conditional formatting with data bars—Data bars convey the relative value of numeric cells with a color gradient, which emulates similar Excel 2010 formatting styles (see Figure 1.3). Chapter 15, "Designing Custom Multitable Forms," describes applying conditional formatting to databound text boxes to let users quickly spot data trends.
    Figure 1.3

    Figure 1.3 Access 2010 Data Bars let you emulate Excel formatting styles for numeric values.

  • a45c2.jpg Navigation control—A specialized hierarchical Navigation tab control, which Chapter 15 describes, enables point-and-click navigation between forms. Dragging a form from the Navigation pane to an [Add New] drop zone creates a tab named for the form. This new control is intended to replace earlier Access versions' Switchboard form (see Figure 1.4).
    Figure 1.4

    Figure 1.4 Drag a form icon from the Navigation pane to a horizontal or vertical drop zone tab of the Navigation control to create a new tab.

  • a45c1.jpg Web Browser control—Access 2010's new Web Browser control lets you create web mash-ups and display web content in your Access applications.
  • a12c1.jpg Access Macro Builder—Microsoft deprecated Access macros in favor of VBA programming code beginning with Access 97. Macros enable limited application automation without requiring the .accdb file to be placed in a trusted location or having a signed .accde file from a package. The new Macro Builder offers IntelliSense and aids understanding of multiple macro actions (see Figure 1.5), which is likely to increase use of macros. You must use Access macros to automate web databases because Access Services don't support VBA. Chapter 19, "Automating Access Applications with Macros," shows you how to respond to events with macros.
    Figure 1.5

    Figure 1.5 Access 2010's new drag-and-drop Macro Builder with IntelliSense simplifies authoring macros.

  • a22a1.jpg Data Macros—Access 2007 and earlier macros handle events triggered by forms and reports, as well as their controls. Access 2010 introduces Data Macros that handle table-generated events, such as Before Update, Before Delete, After Update, After Insert or After Delete of a row. Access 2010 Data Macros correspond to SQL Server's triggers. Chapter 20, "Emulating Table Triggers with Access Data Macros," teaches you how to take advantage of Data Macros.
  • a1312.jpg Collaboration with SharePoint—Microsoft downplays Access 2010/SQL Server projects for client/server applications in favor of linking Access tables from SharePoint lists and sharing .accdb files from SharePoint Document Libraries. Manipulating relational data in Sharepoint's nonrelational, web-based environment probably will interest only organizations that have a substantial commitment to an SPF 3.0 or SPS 2010 infrastructure. Chapter 22, "Collaborating with SharePoint Foundation 2010," introduces you to linking or moving tables to SPF or SPS.
  • a1024.jpg Web databases—Data Access Pages authored in Access 2003 were suited to private intranets but not the public Internet. Access 2010's new web databases and SPS's Access Services enable publishing browser-based applications to intranets and the Internet. Web databases substitute SharePoint lists for Access tables. Chapter 23, "Sharing Web Databases with SharePoint Server 2010," shows you how to publish a standard Access front end to an interactive web application.

The sections that follow expand on the brief descriptions in the preceding list and provide cross-references to detailed coverage of new features in later chapters.

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