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Chapter 37. Customizing Tables, Forms, a... > Secrets of the Office Masters: Creat...

Secrets of the Office Masters: Creating Links to External Databases

In some cases, you might want to incorporate the contents of an external database file (or a collection of related files) into an Access database. If the external file is available on your system or network, and if the data is stored in a format that Access can use, you can incorporate the data into your Access application in either of two ways: You can import a copy of the data, creating a new table in your Access database. You can also create a link to the external table, without actually importing it into your current database. When you create a link, Access allows you to work with the data just as if it were stored within the Access file—you can establish relationships between the external data and existing table objects in your database, and you can create new queries to extract combinations of data from related tables.

Links are always the preferred option when you have multiple database programs maintaining identical data stores. For example, suppose that your office uses an accounting program that stores data about customers and suppliers in dBASE IV file format. Your accounting manager doesn't plan to switch from the dBASE application, because it suits the department's needs. You want to build a contact-tracking database in Access, and the information about suppliers and customers is a key part of it. If you import the information into Access, you will have no way of knowing when a record has been updated in the accounting program, and as time goes on, the two sets of records will develop more and more inconsistencies.


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