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The Power of Microsoft Access: How to Streamline Your Data Management

Effective data management is crucial for all businesses, regardless of their size or industry. For many businesses, Microsoft Access is the logical choice. It’s a popular database management system that offers a powerful solution for streamlining data management processes and improving overall efficiency. 

If you’re still new to Microsoft Access or are considering using it for your database management needs, here are some of the ways that the program can help your business organize, analyze and utilize data. 

Centralized Data Storage and Organization

Microsoft Access allows you to create a centralized database where you can store and organize all your data in one place. With its intuitive interface and customizable templates, you can easily create tables to represent different data categories, such as customers, products, orders or inventory. This centralized approach eliminates the need for scattered spreadsheets or separate systems.

Efficient Data Entry and Data Validation

With Microsoft Access, you can design user-friendly forms for data entry. These forms can be customized to match your specific data requirements, allowing you to capture and validate data accurately. You can set up validation rules, input data constraints and minimize errors. Streamlining the data entry process not only saves time but also improves accuracy.

Seamless Data Integration

Microsoft Access seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft Office applications, such as Excel, Word and Outlook. For example, you can import and export data between Access and Excel. You can also integrate Word to generate customized reports and documents using Access data. Even Outlook works with Access to enhance communication and data sharing.

Advanced Querying and Reporting

One of the strengths of Microsoft Access is its powerful querying and reporting capabilities. Access allows you to create complex queries using Structured Query Language (SQL) or the user-friendly query designer. You can retrieve specific data subsets, perform calculations and apply filters to analyze your data effectively. Access also offers a range of reporting tools for generating professional-looking reports.

Data Analysis and Visualization

Microsoft Access provides built-in tools for data analysis and visualization. You can create charts, graphs and pivot tables to analyze trends, patterns and relationships within your data. These visual representations offer valuable insights and help you make data-driven decisions. Access also allows you to create interactive dashboards for easy analysis and monitoring.

Automation and Customization

Microsoft Access supports automation through macros and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) programming. You can automate repetitive tasks, such as data import/export, report generation or data updates, saving valuable time and reducing manual errors. With VBA, you can further extend the capabilities of Access by creating custom functions, building complex logic or integrating with external systems. 

Learn More About Microsoft Access 

Microsoft Access is a powerful tool for streamlining data management processes and improving overall efficiency. Is it right for your business needs? The best way to find out is by taking advantage of the free trial that Microsoft offers, as well as scheduling a consultation with Arkware. 

Arkware specializes in Microsoft Access, and we know how to make this platform work for most businesses. If you’re looking for a cost-effective and user-friendly database solution, Access may very well be right for you! Contact our team of database experts to learn more. 


Benefits and Drawbacks of Using Stored Procedures

Stored procedures are prepared SQL codes that you can save, allowing you to use them many times. This helps you be more productive in less time while also reducing data errors. As beneficial as stored procedures can be, there are some concerns over portability and testing. 

Let’s cover the pros and cons to using stored procedures and whether or not you can benefit from this reusable SQL code. 

What is a Stored Procedure? 

A stored procedure is a type of code in SQL that can be stored for later use. Whenever you need to execute the query, you can call the stored procedure to save time. You can also pass parameters to a stored procedure so that it can act based on the parameters you passed. 

It’s also possible to set up multiple parameters. Just list each parameter and the data type, separated by a comma. Hopefully this has helped you better understand what stored procedures are and how they can be used for your SQL database. 

Benefits of Using Stored Procedures

If you’ve upgraded to an SQL database, here are some benefits to using stored procedures: 

  • Better performance. Procedure calls are fast and efficient. They’re compiled once and stored in executable form. This lowers memory requirements as well.
  • Greater productivity. Since the piece of code is used many times, you’re able to be more productive, more efficient and less redundant. 
  • Easy to use. Most of our clients have an easy time using stored procedures once they learn the ropes. All you need is Microsoft Access and .NET C#. 
  • Scalability. Stored procedures increase scalability by isolating application processing on the server. 
  • Security. It’s possible to restrict access to Microsoft SQL Server data by manipulating the data only through stored procedures that the user has access to. This way, they can use the procedures to update the database but not have access to the table itself. 

Concerns Over Using Stored Procedures 

While there are many perks to using stored procedures, there are a few things to be aware of: 

  • Testability. Business logic, which is encapsulated in stored procedures, is difficult to test. If there are data errors, you won’t know until runtime.
  • Debugging. Debugging stored procedures is challenging but possible. However, you’re at the mercy of a database profiler to track down an application issue or debug your database. 
  • Versioning. Stored procedures do not support versioning. However, you can work around this issue by putting stored procedures into a version control system. 

Should You Be Using Stored Procedures? 

Even though there are some limitations and drawbacks to using stored procedures, we generally find that the benefits far outweigh them. Thanks to these procedures, our clients are able to be productive and efficient with their time. To learn more about using stored procedures, contact Arkware today for a consultation. 


Why Primary Keys are Important and How to Choose One

Databases use keys to store, sort and compare relationships between records. There are three different types of keys: primary keys, candidate keys and foreign keys. When setting up a database table, the software will ask you to set up a primary key that will be responsible for identifying each record in the table. You might not think much about choosing a primary key, but this is actually a very big and important decision.

Why are Primary Keys a Big Deal?

Designing a new database comes with many choices, and selecting a primary key is one of them. In fact, it’s one of the most important. The purpose of a primary key is to implement a relationship between two tables. Without a primary key, relational databases wouldn’t exist.

Even though a primary key might sound a bit unusual, we use them in everyday life without realizing it. Student IDs are an example of a primary key. Students are uniquely identified by these numbers, but the numbers don’t mean anything outside the school.

Below are the advantages to using primary keys.

  • Serves as a common link field between tables
  • Speeds up queries, searches and sort requests
  • Only valid records will be in your table
  • No duplicates will be added
  • MS Access shows data in order of the primary key

How to Choose a Primary Key

Primary keys should be 100% unique. You can generally turn to your database for the answers you’re looking for. In many cases, people will use the database management system to generate a unique identifier. This way, you’ll have a reliable system for referencing individuals or things in your database, but they won’t have meaning outside the system.

Good primary keys are usually short and include all numbers. They avoid using special characters or a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters. Some things that do NOT make good primary keys are zip codes, email addresses and Social Security numbers. Primary keys should not contain null values and must contain a unique value for each row of data.

Good database design starts by having a good primary key. You can learn more about finding the best primary key for your database in this article, or call Arkware. Our pros will be happy to walk through the steps with you.


How Many Users Can Access Support?

One of the most common questions we hear from clients is how many users Microsoft Access is capable of supporting. It’s a misconception that Access can only support 20 users or less. In fact, the answer is quite the opposite. A well-designed database can support hundreds of users.

On the flip side, if a database is not designed properly, it may not support any users. In other words, as long as the Access solution is well-built by a knowledgeable database expert, your organization shouldn’t have any problems supporting multiple users.

The more important question, however, is how many users Microsoft Access can support at the same time. Let’s address this question so that you have a clearer understanding of how many people can use Access across your network.

Using Access with Simultaneous Users

Roughly 200 users (or more) can use Access simultaneously. That said, there are limitations based on what people are doing within the database. For example, if everyone is viewing data or entertaining data into a table, hundreds of users can be supported. This isn’t a lot of work and doesn’t require much power.

On the other hand, if users plan on running large reports and queries, fewer people will be able to use the database. The same number of users can be supported, but performance will be compromised. It’s similar to any type of technology. The more people using the Wifi in your home, the slower it becomes. This doesn’t mean that you can stream movies or upload pictures, but it does mean that the performance will be slower.

What if I Need to Support More than 200 Users?

If you need to support more people and/or need to allow more complex tasks, the best option is to have the back-end of the database in SQL Server. This way, you won’t have the same limitations as you will with the Jet database in Access. People can access the database from their front-end copy of the application. Still, SQL Server doesn’t solve everything. It can actually be slower than Access for some tasks. Always evaluate what users will be doing once inside the database, not just the number of users.

Arkware is your Microsoft Access database expert. Call us today for a free consultation and let’s discuss ways you can support a large number of Access users across your network.

What is the True Value of Bringing Microsoft Access into Your Organization?

Small-to-mid-size organizations have hundreds of computers around the workplace that are responsible for delegating certain tasks. These tasks can run on their own without needing the IT department to complete them. This setup allows your workplace to run efficiently, increasing productivity and decreasing downtime.

One of the most popular software programs used to enhance productivity is Microsoft Access. It has the same look and feel as other Microsoft products, which is why businesses that use Word and Excel also tend to use Access. The learning curve is small and the data can be shared. Also, both spreadsheets and databases may be created by end users to streamline day-to-day tasks.

The benefits of using Access for your organization include:

  • Most widely used desktop database system in the world
  • Reasonably priced compared to larger database systems
  • Can be ported to SQL Server for future upgrades
  • Offers support and development consultants
  • Uses comprehensive programming language, VBA

Ensure Well-Built Databases

While it’s convenient to run software programs independent of your IT department, there are issues of security, reliability and scalability to consider. Does the end user have the appropriate training and experience to build a secure, reliable database? Some databases are simpler in nature, but others require the knowledge and expertise of a programmer, system administrator or database expert.

Although end users aren’t always qualified to create a database, this is more of a rarity. Most end users are successful creating databases with tables, forms, reports and queries. To help, templates are available. Plus, giving end users this freedom and flexibility allows organizations to preserve resources. It’s not necessary to have all databases custom built by a professional.

In the instance that the database does outgrow its creator, an upgrade is the next step. SQL Server is a natural progression from Access, as the original design, queries, forms, reports, modules, etc. are changed. Once the data is in SQL Server, new functionalities become available, such as Visual Studio and .NET. These programs can be used to create Windows, web solutions or mobile solutions.


Microsoft Access is a true asset to your organization. To get the most from the software program, only end users who are comfortable building databases should do so. This saves company resources and allows you to upgrade to SQL Server at a later date. That said, some databases need to be built by a professional database expert like Arkware. This ensures that the database is reliable, secure, scalable and manageable.

For a free consultation to discuss your database needs, call Arkware today.