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Part 5: Integrating Access with Other Of... > Adding Graphics to Forms and Reports

Chapter 19. Adding Graphics to Forms and Reports

One of the principal incentives for using a Windows desktop database manager is the ability to display graphic images contained in (or linked to) database tables. Early Windows RDBMSs could display images stored in individual bitmapped graphic files with common formats such as .bmp, .pcx, and .tif, but they could not store the bitmap data within the database file.

A few publishers enhanced some of these early desktop database products with Binary Large OBject (BLOB) field data types. A BLOB field is of variable length and can hold any type of data, regardless of its format. Other Windows desktop RDBMSs use auxiliary files (similar to dBASE's .dbt memo files) to store graphic images and other types of non-text data. When an auxiliary file is used, a field in a database table provides a reference (called a pointer) to the location of the data in the auxiliary file.

Many Windows graphic images are stored as combinations of lines, shapes, and patterns, rather than as copies of the pixel pattern of an image on your video display unit. Images of this type are called vector-based graphics. Windows illustration applications (such as Corel Systems' CorelDRAW! and Visio Corporation's Visio) create vector-based graphics. Microsoft Graph 97 (MSGraph8) uses vector-based graphics to create graphs from data in Access tables. Although each of these products has a proprietary file format, the illustration applications communicate with other applications through the Clipboard in standard Windows Metafile Format (.wmf).

This chapter describes how to use both bitmapped and vector-based graphics in conjunction with Access forms and reports. It also describes how you use MSGraph8 to create graphs and charts from Access 97 data.


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