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How to Troubleshoot These 3 Common Access Problems

Even though Microsoft Access is easy to use and understand, it still gives users a fair share of problems. Fortunately, most of these problems have a simple solution. And because Access is such a widely used database program, it’s easy to find advice from people who have experienced the same problems. 

Let’s look at three common Access problems and the best ways to solve them. 

1. Normalizing Empty Access Tables 

One of the most important things to do when building a database is building the table structures properly. This process is known as normalization and it prevents databases from having tables with redundant information. Redundancy isn’t a good idea for databases because it can lead to inconsistent data. 

To normalize your database, follow these steps: 

  • Examine each table. Are you repeating information unnecessarily? 
  • Identify duplicate information. Why are you repeating it? 
  • Break the table into two. Where there is redundant information, split that table into two tables. 
  • Repeat these steps until all redundancy is eliminated. 

2. Automatic Rounding 

Automatic rounding can be frustrating, but it’s an easy fix. By default, Access sets all number fields to accept long integers (negative or positive whole numbers). If you want to input numbers with decimals, you have to change the field-size setting so it can accept them. Here’s how to do it. 

  • Open the table in Design view and click the field that’s giving you trouble. 
  • On the General tab of the Properties area at the bottom of the screen, click the Field Size box. 
  • Click the down arrow at the end of the box and select Single, Double or Decimal from the drop-down menu. 

3. Autocorrect 

Autocorrect is meant to be a useful tool, but sometimes, it can be an aggravating one. Databases contain a lot of acronyms, part numbers and unique names that you won’t want changed. In fact, you might not even realize that the Autocorrect feature is changing these words until it’s too late. 

There are two ways to solve this problem: 

  • Turn off Autocorrect entirely. Click the File tab, click the Options button and select Proofing. Click the Autocorrect Options button and uncheck some or all of the boxes. 
  • Undo Autocorrect as it happens. Press Ctrl+Z right after Autocorrect changes your data entry. This will return the entry to the way you entered it. 

Whether you’re facing these common issues or others, it helps to have a team of database experts on your side. Arkware offers Access database programming, development and support. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your database run smoothly!

 

5 Tips for Managing Your Teams While Social Distancing

Managing a remote team isn’t easy, but this is the reality for many businesses right now. Fortunately, there are ways to make the most of your remote teams and ensure your employees remain connected, motivated and productive. You’ll probably have to adjust your expectations and how work gets done, if you haven’t done so already. 

Below are five tips for managing your teams while social distancing (be sure to also read our post on keeping your data safe while working remotely). This is a work in progress, and certainly something that we’re all getting used to, so be patient. It will take time to find your groove! 

1. Reset Your Expectations 

Most teams are used to working together in the same office, under the same working conditions. However, this isn’t possible when you have employees working from home. Rather than stressing you and your employees out, it’s better to reset your expectations. 

For example, you may have to let go of how and when tasks are accomplished. As long as your teams are completing their work on time and according to your standards, it’s okay to grant them more flexibility with their days. 

2. Keep in Touch Daily

Shorter communication cycles are more effective than long ones. Translation: You don’t need hours-long meetings to get your teams working productively. Simply keep in touch to get updates and let them know you’re available. We recommend checking in every day, at least once. Instant messaging is perfect for this. A quick group huddle over video also works well and keeps teams accountable. 

3. Provide Continued Education 

Keep your teams moving forward by providing them with educational tools, short lessons, workshops and more. Focus on shorter lessons that are under a half hour and easy to consume. You can then host a quick meeting or discussion about the relevance of the information and how it can be applied to your business operations. 

4. Assign Buddies and Peer Coaches 

For built-in support, consider assigning buddies and peer coaches to your teams. These leaders can provide your teams with mutual support and ensure that everyone is working toward their goals. You can also rotate this leadership role between several different people. If your employees haven’t had experience with this role, offer them some guidance on coaching

5. Assess Stress Levels 

At the end of the day, remember that we are all people navigating some very difficult times. Check in with your employees on a personal level and let them know that their well-being is your main concern. Opening up these lines of communication also allows for more honest feedback. To gather quantitative feedback, send out a survey or poll. 

Here at Arkware, we know firsthand how challenging these times can be. We are here for our clients, just as they are for their own staff and customers. Let us know if we can help your business run more productively during COVID-19 with an upgraded database, cloud computing or software update.

 

How Your Small Business Can Benefit from Cloud Computing

There are over 30 million small businesses in the U.S., and without a doubt, they are the backbone of our economy. These businesses provide job opportunities and facilitate growth and innovation. However, small companies must be creative with their resources, as they don’t have the same financial cushion as their larger counterparts. 

One of the most difficult decisions that small businesses have to make is what technology to use. Some technologies aren’t necessary but others are. And cloud computing is one of them. If your business is considering migrating to the cloud, there are many benefits to consider. 

What is Cloud Computing? 

Cloud computing is the delivery of various services through the internet. It’s a great way for small businesses to rent computing power, reduce costs and increase productivity. 

Some companies have moved everything to the cloud, while others follow a hybrid approach that combines both a local server and cloud computing. Dedicated servers refer to physical hardware that serves only your company, while cloud servers are located in a third-party data center. 

What are the Advantages of Cloud Computing? 

Cloud computing is a major shift from how businesses traditionally think about IT resources. Here are the main benefits of adopting cloud computing like Microsoft Azure into your business. 

  • Reduced cost. Cloud computing eliminates the expense of buying hardware and software programs, running data centers, paying IT experts for managing infrastructure and more. Instead, everything is outsourced to the third-party data center.
  • Greater efficiency. Most cloud computing services are on demand, so the resources you need can be supplied when you need them. This gives your business the flexibility it needs. 
  • Enhanced productivity. Rather than having your IT staff deal with software patching, hardware setup and more, they can spend their time achieving more important business goals. 
  • Stronger security. Many cloud providers, including Microsoft Azure, offer a broad range of policies, technologies and controls that will make your business more secure. All data is maintained at a central location, which is better than having it spread across many devices. 
  • Improved reliability. Cloud computing makes everything easier – data backups, disaster recovery, business continuity and more. And, if your business grows and you need additional IT hardware, it’s quick and easy to scale up your cloud solution. 

Microsoft Azure and Cloud Computing 

Migrating to the cloud is a big decision, but it’s something worth considering for your small business. You don’t have to move everything to the cloud – you may find it best to follow a hybrid approach. To learn more about Microsoft Azure and how it can benefit your business, contact Arkware today.

 

How Do Indexes Affect Database Performance?

If you’re just learning the ropes of your database, one thing you’ll come across is indexing. Indexing is a great tool that allows you to be more efficient with your database. But not all databases need indexing and not every index will increase the query speed for the database. 

Let’s learn more about what indexing is and how it can improve the performance of your database.

What is Indexing? 

Indexes are used to quickly locate data without having to search every row in a database table. This is a huge time saver! 

To create an index, you need a few database columns. The first column is the Search Key that contains a copy of the primary key of the table. The second column is the Data Reference that contains a set of pointers. Together, these work together to create the structure of a single index. 

Here’s an example of how to use indexing. Let’s say you want to find a piece of information from your database. Instead of going line by line, you let the computer look through each row until the information is found. Keep in mind that if the data you’re looking for is at the end, the query will take a long time. Thankfully, you can sort alphabetically to help you run faster queries. 

What Types of Database Indexes Exist? 

There are two main types of database indexes: 

  • Clustered. Clustered indexes use the primary key to organize data. The reason to use a clustered index is to ensure that the primary key is stored in increasing order, which is also the same order that the table holds memory. Clustered indexes are automatically created when the primary key is set. 
  • Non-clustered indexes. Non-clustered indexes are data structures that improve the speed of data retrieval. Unlike clustered indexes, non-clustered indexes are created by data analysts or developers. 

When Should You Use Indexes?

The purpose of indexes is to speed up the performance of your database. You should use them any time you feel that they will make your database easier to use. If your database is small right now, you may not see as many opportunities to use indexes. But as your database grows, there’s no question that you will see benefits from indexing. 

To ensure that your indexes are performing properly, run a set of queries on your database, record the time it takes for those queries to finish and then begin creating your indexes. Continue rerunning your tests for continued improvements.

Now you know how indexes affect database performance – they greatly reduce query times. If you would like to learn more about how to use indexing, or you need an index built for your database, schedule a time to chat with Arkware.

 

What is a Database Query?

A query is a way of requesting information from a database. A query can be either a select query or an action query. A select query is a query for retrieving data, while an action query asks for additional actions to be performed on the data. 

However, you don’t just type in a random request and wait for the answer to be returned to you. You must write queries based on a set of pre-defined code so that the database can understand what you want. This code is called query language. 

The standard query language for database management is Structured Query Language or SQL. This is different from MySQL. SQL is a database language and MySQL is the software that uses this language. Although SQL is very popular, it is not the only language. Others you may come across are AQL, DMX and Datalog. 

How Does a Query Work? 

Let’s say you want to order a large coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. You pull up to the window and ask for a large coffee. The employee will understand your request and return with your hot beverage. A query works in the same way, except that it takes place through a database. You use SQL to make your request, and the database understands this language and will follow through with the request. 

There are a few other ways you can request data aside from placing queries. For example, you can use the available parameters that come with your software. Choose a parameter to get the desired input, and the system will guide you. However, these parameters are limited and not as flexible as writing your own queries. 

Another option is to use “query by example”, which shows you a set of code with some blank areas. In these areas, you can write and specify the fields and values of your data. Of course, writing queries from scratch gives you the most flexibility and is the best choice when you want to manipulate data. You will need some understanding of SQL, though. 

What If I Don’t Know SQL?

Learning SQL is not too difficult, even for those who aren’t comfortable with computer science. While this language is most commonly used among database developers, database administrators and others, you don’t need a career in SQL to use and learn this language. In fact, it’s often used by marketers and scientists, too. 

A basic crash course in SQL can give you the background you need to write queries. But not everyone has the time or desire to learn SQL, and it’s okay if you don’t. That’s what Arkware is here for! We can fill in the gaps so that you can use your database efficiently and effectively. To learn more about the database services we offer, contact us today for a free consultation.