What is Microsoft Access?

So, what is MS Access?

MS Access is a tool designed for effective data management. It is used by millions the world over and is an effective substitute for Excel when the quantity of data gets too large to control effectively.

MS Access is comprised of several components including:

• Tables
• Queries
• Forms
• Reports
• Macros
• Modules

What is MS Access used for?

MS Access is primarily utilized to store large volumes of data and make it accessible with sorting, filtering and aggregating using queries. The info may then be shown to the user by means of forms (for modification) and reports (for viewing and printing).

How sophisticated is MS Access?

Access has often been touted as being the database system for departmental solutions. The nature of Access means that it really is simple and fast to store, organise and retrieve data and as a consequence, is suitable for a departmental environment. However, as a result of the changes made in Access 2007 and beyond, Access is now starting to punch its weight as a serious database solution with increased storage and seamless ODBC connectivity.

Where does VBA fit in?

Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language that underpins Access. It’s been built for the full Microsoft Office suite but is most common in Access and Excel. It is intended for automation within the Access application but doesn’t actually have to be learned to create superior quality Access projects.

Versions of Access

The first version of Access was published in 1992. It was called Access 1.0. Since then multiple versions of Access have been released. Here are the most notable ones:

• Access 97
• Access 2000
• Access 2003
• Access 2007
• Access 2010
• Access 2013

The original Access file was in the .mdb format. This was changed to the Accdb format in Access 2007 in order that more complex data might be handled. Access 2007 was also the very first time that the ribbon was introduced into Access and tables could be stored in SharePoint.

In 2010 Access acquired the ability to operate as a web application by way of being stored as a project in SharePoint. This concept is termed Access Services and means that one database might actually support a client based file and a web based file.


Using ODBC Access can seamlessly hook up with a variety of documents from Excel files right through to basic text files. Access can also link to other Access tables and databases thus ensuring the dimensions of an Access database can be increased by using an archiving system.

To Summarise

Access is a great departmental solution with ever increasing data handling capabilities. It’s easy to learn and also at the forefront of these modern web-application times we live in.

To learn more about MS Access please check out our video What Is MS Access? on Youtube.

Related Posts

Objects, Properties and Methods – An Analogy

As always, a site wouldn't be anything without its users so please feel free to comment! We welcome any comments you have on the material and any suggestions you may have for future content.

In our humble opinion, it is worth commenting just so you can play with Fun Captcha below!