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When you open up Microsoft Access, you’ll see a gallery of templates that you can use for your database. This makes setting up a database quick and easy, plus you’ll have the ability to customize the database to your needs and liking. But before you do all of this, you’ll need to decide whether you want to create a desktop database or an Access web app. 

Let’s learn more about the similarities and differences between desktop databases and web apps, and how to choose the best platform for your database needs.

Desktop Databases vs Web Apps 

A desktop database is a database system that is designed to run on a single computer or a local area network (LAN). It’s a simpler solution for data storage, and much more limited than larger data centers. Microsoft Access is an example of a desktop database, and it has the benefits of being easy to install and relatively user-friendly. In fact, most people can use Access without any training. 

Web apps, on the other hand, are online database applications accessed from the cloud. You can build and maintain the app from your desktop, however. The advantages of web-based applications include increased accessibility for users, customization for different devices and integrations with other systems, as well as enhanced flexibility, scalability and security. 

Please note that Microsoft Access no longer recommends using Access web apps in SharePoint. Instead, you’ll need to consider an alternative like Microsoft PowerApps

Which to Use: Desktop Database or Web App? 

When determining which platform to use, there are certain factors you’ll want to take into consideration. 

  • IT requirements. Do you need the reliability and security of storing data in Microsoft Azure SQL or SQL Server? We recommend an Access web app. A desktop database is best when you require a local database to store your data. 
  • Data and design. Use a desktop database if everyone can connect to the computer where the database is stored. All users will need to have Access installed. But if people from inside and outside your organization will be accessing your data, a web-based app is ideal. Plus, you can adjust the permissions so that others can view and edit the data, even if they don’t have Access. 
  • Business goals. Consider your reporting needs. Web apps are best for when you want a simple, intuitive look and feel for the user interface, as well as immediate design changes. You must also be OK with linking data for more complex reports. For more control and advanced features, a desktop database is ideal. 

Still not sure which type of platform to use for your database needs? Contact Arkware and we’ll be happy to help you decide between a desktop database and web app, as well as the first steps to creating the data solutions you need.