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What is Data Cleaning and Why Do You Need It?

When using data, most people agree that the insights are only as good as the data they’re using. This is why data cleaning is an important step that your business or organization should be taking. ‘Clean data’ helps marketing managers, business executives, sales reps, operational workers, data science teams, etc. make smart, data-driven decisions. If the data isn’t clean, your  reports may not be accurate. 

Let’s learn more about data cleaning, why it’s important and what kind of data errors you can fix. If you need help ‘scrubbing’ your data, contact Arkware for a consultation. We will be happy to assess your database and how data cleansing can help you. 

What is Data Cleaning? 

Data cleaning, also referred to as data cleansing or data scrubbing, is the process of fixing incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete information in a data set. It involves identifying data errors and then fixing these errors by changing, updating or removing them. The purpose of data cleaning is to provide more accurate and reliable information that can help your business or organization make data-driven decisions. 

Data cleansing is an important part of the data management process. It’s typically done by data quality analysts, engineers and other data management professionals. Without data cleansing, you could experience faulty information, flawed business decisions, missed opportunities, operational problems and misguided strategies. 

What Types of Issues Does Data Scrubbing Fix? 

Data cleansing addresses a wide range of problems that can happen in data sets, such as inaccurate or corrupt data. Some of the problems can happen from human error during the data entry process, while other times it’s from different data structures. 

Here are some examples of the types of issues that data cleaning can fix: 

  • Invalid or missing data. Data cleaning corrects structural errors in data sets like misspellings, missing values or wrong numerical entries. 
  • Duplicate data. Duplicate records in data sets can also be fixed with data cleaning. The process is referred to as data deduplication, which removes or merges duplicate records. 
  • Inconsistent data. Names, addresses and other attributes may be formatted differently. For example, some customers have middle initials and others do not. Data cleaning will fix this data so you can run consistent reports. 
  • Irrelevant data. Some data may not be relevant and can skew your results. Data cleansing removes redundant data, reducing data processing and storage resources. 

What Steps are Involved in the Data Cleaning Process? 

The amount of work that will be required to clean your data depends on your data set and its complexity. While there may be some differences in how the data scrubbing process works, it generally requires the following steps: 

  • Inspection and profiling. The first step is to inspect and audit data quality and identify the issues that need to be fixed. 
  • Cleaning. The cleaning process corrects missing, duplicate, redundant and inconsistent information. 
  • Verification. Once the cleaning is complete, the data needs to be inspected again to make sure that it’s clean.
  • Reporting. The results of the data cleaning are reported to IT and business executives. This report may include the issues that were found and corrected. 

‘Dirty’ data can cause a lot of problems because you won’t be able to make the best decisions for your business or organization. If you believe that dirty data is affecting your business, contact Arkware for a consultation. We’ll make sure that your data is clean, accurate, complete, uniform and valid – everything you need to run a successful, efficient business. 


Why You Should Compile Your Database – and the Steps to Do It

To get maximum performance from your Microsoft Access database, it’s important to know how to use all of the features. And one of them that you may or may not be familiar with is Compile on Demand. Even though compiling doesn’t make your code execute any faster, it can still help your data load faster, saving you time. 

In this post, we will cover what compilation is, what it means for your database to be in a compiled state and when to perform compilation. 

What is Compilation? 

Microsoft Access has two types of code – code that you write and code that Access understands and executes. VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications, and it’s the programming language for Access, Excel and other Microsoft Office programs. 

VBA is similar to English – it’s plain text written in English so that humans can understand it. Compiling your database translates the text into something the computer can understand more easily. Access doesn’t always do this on its own – it only compiles what it needs. Sometimes, pieces can be corrupted.

The purpose of compiling your database is to make sure that there are no errors in your VBA code. 

How to Compile Your Access Database 

Let’s say that you’ve built your Access database and everything seems to be working fine – most of the time. However, from time to time, you get random messages that say something is wrong with your database, or your database crashes. If the Compact and Repair tool doesn’t help, then you might have something going on within your database. 

The first step is to compile your database. To do this, go into your Visual Basic Editor and click on Debug and then the name of your database. The compiler should point out problems with your VBA. Next, try making your ACCDE file again, a read-only, compressed version of Access. If this step is completed successfully, then your VBA should be fine. 

Decompiling Your Database 

If you’re still having problems with your database after compiling, you can try decompiling it. This is a little more involved, however. You’ll have to close down Access and type in a command prompt that you can find in this video

Once you enter in the command prompt, press Enter and Access will convert the code into a raw database format. Then recompile the database and try to make your ACCDE file. If it still doesn’t work, you have a deeper problem going on with your code, such as something spelled wrong or copied/pasted wrong.

Need Help Troubleshooting Your Database? Contact Arkware. 

It’s normal for code to get messed up. The key is to be aware when something is wrong and know the proper fixes. If you’re not sure how to troubleshoot the problems you’re having with your database, contact the database experts at Arkware. We can help with all of your database needs, including issues with your code. We provide fast, affordable service that will keep your business running efficiently!


4 Ways You Can Share Your Microsoft Access Database Online

A common request that we get from customers is how they can share their database online with others. This is important to many organizations because they want their teams to be able to access their database and work off consistent, accurate and up-to-date information. 

Fortunately, there are several ways that you can share your database online depending on who your users are, the type of security you need, the work you’re willing to put into development and what you want the end result to be. 

We do want to point out that you should not share your database over Google Drive, OneDrive or DropBox. These file sharing sites are great on their own, but they will corrupt your Access database. 

The only time we recommend using these services is if you’re the only one working on your database, the database is small and you have good internet access. In this case, you can use something like Google Docs to transfer the database to your home and work. Outside of this, these file sharing services will not work.

Here are the four best ways to share an Access database online.

1. SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint is a web-based, collaborative platform that works with Microsoft Office. It’s great for small teams and trusted users that are already using SharePoint. 

Split your database, migrate your tables to SharePoint lists and continue to use the front-end of your database locally. There is a moderate amount of work involved in this, and you may have to make modifications to your front-end. 

2. SQLServer

Another way to share your database is with SQL Server. To do this, you’ll need to split your database, upload your tables to the server and continue to work with your front-end Access file. 

The benefit to SQL Server is that you can have a lot of people accessing your database at one time while keeping information secure. It’s a great solution for large organizations, as well as organizations that want a public facing database. 

However, this solution requires a significant amount of time to set up and a steep learning curve. You’ll either need to learn this on your own, or pay to have a custom database made

3. Remote Desktop

This option is not as popular because you have to leave your computer running 24 hours a day. But, it could work if you only need to access your database at specific times of the week, month or year. 

The remote desktop option allows you to use your Access database online by logging onto your computer remotely. The database cannot be shared – only one person can work at a time. Due to this, a remote desktop is best for a single-user, remote situation. 

4. Access Database Cloud 

To allow anyone in your organization to access your database simultaneously from remote locations, we recommend Microsoft Azure. This shared solution lets any number of users access your information from anywhere in the world. As long as you have an internet connection, you can share your database. 

Furthermore, the Azure cloud database requires zero migration and almost no setup time. You will have to pay per user, but it’s still an affordable solution. Keep in mind that you’re getting a fully managed server with little to no setup time or learning curve. 

Are you ready to share your database online? Contact Arkware for a consultation. We’ll be happy to go over your options and which one is the best for your business needs. 


Yes, You Can Fully Customize Your MS Access Database Template

One of the great things about Microsoft Access is that you can choose from a number of templates instead of having to create one from scratch. A common question we get from clients is whether or not these templates can be customized to their needs. After all, it’s uncommon to find a database template that has everything you need. 

Fortunately, Microsoft Access database templates are customizable. You can modify the template on your own, or you can hire a database programming company like Arkware to do the work. Many people choose the latter because they have special requests that will allow them to do their jobs most effectively.

Let’s learn more about Microsoft Access database templates and what you can expect when customizing yours to your liking. 

The Benefits of Access Database Templates 

An Access template is a file that creates a complete database application when opened. Every template included with Access has predefined tables, forms, queries, macros and relationships. These templates are designed to be an out-of-the-box solution that you can get up and running quickly. And believe it or not, many people are able to find a template they like and start inputting data immediately. 

However, there are times when you might want to modify your new database to better meet your needs. For example, you may want to add a field, rename a field or change a report. Microsoft has instructions on how to do this on your own. And the beauty of Access is that you don’t need a background in coding to make these modifications. 

The benefit in using Microsoft Access database templates are: 

  • Take advantage of ready-to-use templates that meet your business requirements 
  • Save time and money from having to create your own custom applications 
  • Have the peace of mind knowing that the templates have been fully tested 
  • Option to customize the database to your business needs 
  • Get a feel for how other businesses in your industry track and manage their data 

Customizing Your MS Access Database Template 

If you’re not comfortable customizing your database, or you simply need the time to put into other tasks, you can hire a database programming company to handle this for you. Arkware can help you select the best template for your needs and customize all the forms, reports and queries. 

If we feel that building a new MS database from scratch is in your best interests, we’ll be honest with you. Sometimes, a custom database is the best solution. Either way, we’ve designed and built hundreds of databases for our clients, and we are available to customize yours as well. Contact our team of database experts for a free consultation. 


Troubleshooting Tips for Access Error 7960

Error 7960: Microsoft Access has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience. 

If you received this message while working on your Access database, you’re probably wondering what you can do to fix it. Experts refer to Access Error 7960 as a runtime error. It typically occurs when a failure or crashing of Microsoft Access happens at the same time the system is running. It does not necessarily mean that there’s corrupted code, but rather that the code didn’t function at the time of run-time. 

Few users will actually experience Access Error 7960, as software developers try to remove all bugs and glitches when the program is publicly released. But it is still possible to run into the error. Below you’ll find more information about what causes this error to happen and ways to fix it. 

What Causes Access Error 7960? 

A 7960 Access Error is a runtime error that can occur from the following: 

  • Error 7960 crash. When Microsoft Access can’t provide sufficient output to the given input, or it doesn’t know what to output, the system will get confused and shut down. If this happens, the system will freeze and you won’t get anything done. 
  • Error 7960 logic error. A logic error happens when Microsoft Access produces the wrong output from the right input. It’s usually caused by a flaw in information handling from the source code. 
  • Error 7960 memory leak. When a memory leak occurs, it can cause the system to run slow because the resources are short. The reasons for this are either not having appropriate space in the program or bad code that executes an infinite loop. 

Ways to Fix Access Error 7960

If you do run into Access Error 7960, there are quite a few things you can do to solve the problem. If these troubleshooting tips don’t work, or you’re uncomfortable handling this on your own, contact Arkware for MS Access support

In the meantime, here are the best ways to fix Access Error 7960. 

End conflicting application 

Runtime errors happen when one application is contradicting another. The best way to fix this issue is by stopping conflicting apps. Go to Task Manager by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete at once. Open the Processes tab and click the End button for each program. 

Reinstall/update conflicting application

Once you find the conflicting application, you should reinstall and update it. In Windows 10, simply type Control Panel, then Uninstall the program. 

Update anti-virus or install latest update

Make sure that your anti-virus software is up-to-date by running a detailed scan of the system. Or, you can perform a Windows update to obtain the latest virus fix. 

Perform disk cleanup

You may come across a runtime code if you don’t have enough space on your system. Remove unnecessary files to free up hard drive storage. You can also try clearing your cache and restarting your system. Hit Properties and go to Disk Cleanup

Reinstall graphics driver 

If an error is associated with a corrupt graphics driver, you’ll want to reinstall and update the driver. Go to Device Manager and then Graphics Driver. Right click on Graphics Card Driver and hit Uninstall, then resume your PC. 

It is also possible to fix Access Error 7960 using a third-party database repair tool. However, there are many of these tools online, and you don’t want to end up installing something you shouldn’t. To protect your database from corruption, contact Arkware. We can help with Access Error 7960, as well as any other errors you run into. 


5 Ways to Maintain a GDPR-Compliant Database

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a legal framework that sets guidelines for collecting and processing personal information from individuals in the European Union (EU). The regulation applies regardless of where a website is based, so it’s important to follow this framework, even if you don’t specifically market your goods and services to EU residents. 

Not only should your website be in compliance with the GDPR but also so should your database. Here are five ways to make sure that your database is GDPR compliant. 

1. Create and Enforce Roles and Permissions 

By defining roles and permissions in advance, you can prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information. This is a smart move you’ll want to make anyway, as it can prevent catastrophic errors and the loss of data. Start thinking about who in your organization will be allowed to make changes to data, data structure, tables and schemas. 

2. Encrypt Sensitive Information 

Encryption lets you protect the data you send, receive and store, regardless of the device you are using. If the information does get into the hands of a cybercriminal, the encryption will make it impossible for them to read it. 

Again, this is a smart practice to follow, as data is continuously passed back and forth between environments. To maintain privacy and protection for individuals, you’ll want to encrypt all sensitive information. 

3. Create an Audit History 

Keeping track of who did what and why is important for compliance and business management. You should have a complete history of all the changes made to your data structure. This will help you maintain security, enforce accountability and detect potential causes of errors. And, if you are ever audited by EU officials, this audit will help you pass. 

4. Set Alerts for Breach Attempts 

When you have roles and permissions accurately set, it will prevent unauthorized users from accessing your sensitive data. But you can take things a step further by using tools to alert you when attempts are made (and denied). These alerts will raise immediate attention to suspected malicious activity or security breaches. 

5. Prevent Data Loss 

Lastly, you’ll want to maintain the integrity of your sensitive information. This is just as important as following the proper security measures for collecting and storing the data. Make sure you are taking every step to prevent the accidental destruction, loss or alteration of personal data. You can use a tool that will alert you if any configuration drifts are detected. 

These five tips will help you maintain a secure and GDPR-compliant database. For more information on which database platforms are naturally compliant, contact Arkware for a recommendation.