Microsoft Access is a database management tool which enables you to create and share databases rapidly. Usually, this program is part of the Microsoft Office bundle, as you can see in the table below. You can, however also buy Access individually. Speculations as to whether Microsoft Access is still relevant or it is already a thing of the past circulate on the internet. To shed more light on the matter, this blog further presents what Microsoft Access exactly is, who (still) uses it and for what.
What is Microsoft Access 2021?
In general terms, Microsoft Access is an information management tool. You can use it to create, organize, and share big amounts of data. Although there are many rumours and new applications on the market for managing databases, Microsoft Access proves its relevance nowadays. After all, there must be a relation between the groundless rumours and the many alternatives out there. Microsoft themselves have also confirmed the continued development of Access. As a result, the database management tool is still widely used by companies and private users. Below you can read more about why Access is still relevant even after 20+ years on the market and how you can benefit from using it.
What can you do with Access 2021?
An advantage that many businesses appreciate is the compatibility of Access with the rest of the Office applications such as Excel and Word. Being able to export, import, copy or move data from one application to the other ensures a smooth and productive workflow. Additionally, the interface and the program, are easy to grasp and use by inexperienced users. You can also change or adjust Access to the corporate needs you seek to fulfil, which provides an additional level of flexibility.
By creating relationships within your data, you essentially set up the rules that regulate your database. Let us assume you have two columns, one with the customer’s information and the other with the order number. To ensure that to each customer there will be a valid order number and that to each order number there will be a customer, you can set up a relationship between the two. This is possible through the Database Tools from the upper ribbon.
By using the function queries you can set up specific criteria or conditions according to which you can access or modify the data that meets them. The type of query depends on its function. Select queries, for example, enable the user to view, copy and print the retrieved information while action queries allow modifications to the data. This way by using Access, you can retrieve, update or delete multiple pieces of data at the same time.
New features in Access 2021
One of the improvements in Access 2021 is the dark theme. Now you are in control regarding the colour of the Access theme you prefer. Following up on the colour-related improvements, Access now provides the opportunity to input colours as Hex values, so that you do not have to convert them to RGB values.
With Access 2021 you can add tables while you are working as the Add Tables remains active even when you are busy with other tasks. Another improvement regarding the tables is the fact that you can manage their size from the relationship window so that fields and relationships can be visible. You can also navigate easier through the tables and relationships.
Access 2021 vs. 2019
With Access 2021 you can work more efficiently than before due to the new Add Tables task pane. Different from Access 2019, the feature in the 2021 license Add Tables allows you to create tables with less effort since the task pane remains open while you are working. The new version of the application allows for a more precise date and time type. This may seem like a small advancement, however, such a little change simplifies the connection between Access and SQL Server. Before this improvement, when linking databases between the two, data input with DateTIme2 was presented in Access as text. Now, DateType2 is not causing disruptions in the workflow anymore.
Is Microsoft Access still relevant?
Yes, it most definitely is! Speculating with Access and its relevance is a clickbait for many of Microsoft’s competitors, as it creates uncertainty in people who in turn start to look out for another solution. As briefly mentioned earlier, Microsoft has no plans to stop developing or offering Access. Quite the opposite, since Access is a solution for businesses worldwide, its future seems to remain bright. Taking this into account together with the fact that Access dominates the market for more than 20 years, all rumours appear to be groundless and most probably part of a marketing strategy.