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Chapter 1. Access 97 for Access 95 and 2... > Summarizing Access 95's Improvements...

Summarizing Access 95's Improvements to Access 2.0

Access 95 was a major upgrade from Access 2.0 and incorporated more than 100 significant changes to the last 16-bit version of Access. As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the "New in Access 95" features are included for the benefit of new Access users and those who skipped the Access 95 upgrade. Access 95's features and improvements, all which are incorporated in Access 97, fell into the following nine categories:

  • User interface (UI) modifications made Access 95 conform to the "look and feel" of the other members of Microsoft Office 95. The primary changes to the Access 95 UI included a tabbed Database window that features the Explorer look, new File Open common dialogs that also support import and link operations, and many relocated menu commands. Access 95's toolbars conformed to the Office 95 model. Tabbed dialogs used to set Access 95's operating environment options and set database file properties emulated Windows 95's property sheets. Windows 95 proportional scroll bars sized the scroll button to indicate the percentage of the data being displayed. When you clicked the scroll button, Access 95 displayed a "scroll tip" with the current record number and the total number of records. The primary change to Access 97's UI is the move to dynamic from 3-D toolbar buttons and the addition of the optional Web toolbar (see Figure 1.8).

    ▸▸ See Understanding Access's Table Display

    Figure 1.8. Access 97 displaying the new optional Web toolbar.

  • Multithreaded preemptive multitasking improved the performance of large Access 95 applications. Access and VBA each gained their own thread of execution and the Jet 3.0 Data Access Object became multithreaded. Very large Access 95 applications could take advantage of Windows NT's Symmetrical Multiprocessing (SMP) when running on a Windows NT workstation having two or more Intel processors. There are no significant changes to the Access 95 and Jet 3.0 threading model in Access 97 and Jet 3.5.

  • New and improved add-ins and wizards aided Access users by automating a wider variety of tasks. The Database Splitter add-in automated the process of separating data objects and application objects into individual .mdb files. The Table Analyzer Wizard found repeated data in tables imported from flat ASCII or spreadsheet files and automatically creates a related lookup table to eliminate the redundancy. The Performance Analyzer Wizard made suggestions for improving your application's operating speed. The User-Level Security Wizard automatically created a new secure database file from a conventional, unsecured database. Only minor changes have been made to Access 97's wizard collection; the new Publish to the World Wide Web Wizard is discussed in the section Major Access 97 Enhancements earlier in the chapter.

  • Data import and export operations were enhanced. The Import/Export Wizard made setting up import and export specifications a snap. Exporting reports to other applications in .xls, .rtf, and .txt file formats included data in subreports, and data pasted into Excel worksheets included text formatting. Dragging selected data from an Access datasheet into an Excel worksheet also preserved formatting. Access 97 adds the ability to import and export HTML tables.

  • Lookup fields let you make selections in table datasheets from a drop-down combo box or list box populated by a related table's field or from a list of fixed values. Lookup fields generated controversy among relational database purists because the foreign key value stored in a column of the Lookup data type is replaced in Datasheet view by a value returned from another table. There is no change to the lookup field feature in Access 97.

  • Filter by Form and Filter by Selection aided searches for data. Filter by Form let you enter a value in a form control or a datasheet field, and then, by applying the filter, limited the underlying data set to records that match the entered value. Filter by Selection let you select a value in a form or datasheet and limited the underlying data set to records containing the selected value. Access 97 lets you type a filter criterion in the Filter For text box (see Figure 1.9).

    Figure 1.9. Filtering by a criterion typed in the new Filter For text box on the pop-up menu for a table field.

  • Startup properties eliminated the need for AutoExec macros and let you assign an opening form, customize the title bar caption, and control various other application properties without writing macros or Access VBA code. There is no change to the Startup dialog in Access 97.

  • Briefcase replication made it easy for users without network access to shared databases to synchronize changes to Access tables. You also can distribute updated versions of your application .mdb files with Windows 95 Briefcases. Access 97 adds the ability to create partial replicas with VBA code or the Partial Replica Wizard. The advantage of a partial replica is that you include only a subset of the records of a design-master replica table in the partial replica.


    The Partial Replica Wizard isn't included with Office 97 Professional Edition, Developer Edition, or the stand-alone version of Access 97. You can download the Partial Replica Wizard from http://www.microsoft.com/accessdev/accwhite/prtlrepl.htm.

  • Full support for 32-bit OLE 2.1 let you extend your repertoire of Access control objects with 32-bit OLE Controls (OCXs) included with Visual Basic 4.0 and from third-party OLE Control publishers. Access 95 became an (OLE) Automation client and server. In addition to 32-bit OLE Controls, which are now obsolete, Access 97 is a container for ActiveX controls. An ActiveX version of Access 95's Calendar control is included with Access 97 (see Figure 1.10).

    ▸▸ See Using the Calendar Control

    Figure 1.10. A form containing the Calendar ActiveX Control, a date display text box, and command buttons to change the displayed date.



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