Business database software programming using Microsoft Access

   Melbourne, Australia


Tim Pryor
[email protected]
0414 228 974


Why Choose Microsoft Access?


Microsoft Access is one of the most cost-effective ways of developing a business data management system.

  • Microsoft Access comes packaged with Microsoft Office Professional, so you may already have it.  If you have Microsoft Office Small Business Edition you may want to upgrade to Microsoft Office Professional.  (It may also be possible to run an Access application without having Microsoft Access installed, by packaging the application with the "Run Time" environment.)

  • Microsoft Access is likely to be available and supported for years to come because Microsoft is the premier software company in the world.

  • Microsoft Access is the most widely used desktop database system in the world.

  • If database support is important to you then Access may be your best choice since Access has more support and development consultants than any other desktop database system.

  • It is significantly cheaper to implement and maintain compared to larger database systems such as Oracle or SQL Server.

  • Consulting rates are typically lower for Access database consultants compared to Oracle or SQL Server consultants.

  • Fairly complex databases can be setup and running in a fraction of the time and cost of other large database systems.  This is useful for "Rapid Application Development" in which a pilot application is developed as a prototype or as an interrim measure while you wait for your IT department to come up with a more comprehensive solution (don't hold your breath).

  • Access integrates well with the other members of the Microsoft Office suite of products (Excel, Word, etc.).

  • Access databases can be up-scaled (usually with some effort) to SQL Server or Oracle.  This is important if you want to start small or develop a pilot database system and then migrate to the larger database management systems.  The database itself may be migrated fairly easily, whereas the front-end application will need some modifications while retaining the same appearance and functionality.

  • Multiple users may actively use the the database at the same time.  Up to 15 or 20 concurrent users is usually the recommended limit.  More than this number of concurrent users would require a larger database system such as SQL Server.

  • Microsoft Access may be used to develop a user interface, or front-end application, that connects to a SQL Server database.  This combines all of the advantages of Microsoft Access with the power, security and robustness of SQL Server.

  • Microsoft Access can import data in a range of formats so your existing data is not lost.


Microsoft Access may not be your best choice if:

  • You need to capture real time or time critical transactions - e.g. from a lab instrument.

  • Any single table in your database could have more than 1 million large to medium-width records, or 5 million small-width records (i.e. 3-4 digit numeric or short text fields).

  • You would regularly have more than 15 to 20 people actively using the database at the same time.  (Use SQL Server with an Access front-end.)

  • Your servers experience periodic, unexpected crashes - e.g. more than 1 per month.  (In this case you'll have problems with any database system.)

  • You require extensive database security because of the highly sensitive nature of the data.  (Use SQL Server with an Access front-end.)