Access Tips and Hints

These tips might help avoid common problems in Microsoft Access:

  1. Every mistake and false start you make whilst developing is saved in the database. Use Tools/Database Utilities/Compact Database at least once a day - but take a backup first.
  2. Not every user uses a mouse all the time. Make sure you've got the tab order correct before shipping the database.
  3. Use long, meaningful field names if you're building a small database. Field names appear as captions when you drag fields onto a form.
  4. Use shorter field names without spaces if you're going to be writing much program code. Long names with spaces are a real nuisance in VBA.
  5. If there's no code attached to your form, set its HasModule property False. This reduces the size of the database and makes it load more quickly.
  6. Every control you add to a form makes it larger and slower. Remove everything that is not absolutely necessary - especially large graphics.
  7. Indexes help to improve speed. Any field used in a search or in the criterion or join clauses of a query ought to be indexed.
  8. A background image makes the form use more memory and load more slowly. Remove graphics unless they are absolutely essential.
  9. Use CTRL+cursor keys to nudge a control around a form or report. Use SHIFT+cursor keys to resize a control. Access 2002 allows you to move a control using cursor keys without CTRL.
  10. Learn the basics of database design before you build any important systems. A badly-designed database can be expensive to put right.