Distribute a report electronically

You can use Microsoft Office Access to electronically distribute your Access reports. For example, you can use the E-mail command on the Microsoft Office Button menu to quickly export and send the report as an attachment in an e-mail message. Or, you can export the report as a file, and then distribute the file in several different ways. By using electronic distribution methods, you can quickly get important information to those who need it. In addition, you can use the files to create backups and archives of reports, and you can also reduce paper usage in situations where printed copies of reports are not necessary.

This article explains the different file formats you can use to export a report, and discusses the different methods you can use to distribute the exported report to your recipients.

What do you want to do?


Understand the file formats to which you can export a report

You can export a report as several different file formats. However, not all of these file formats preserve the layout and formatting of the original report. For example, if you export a report as an HTML file (*.htm or *.html), a Rich Text Format file (*.rtf), or a text file (*.txt), the resulting file will not contain all of the visual elements that were present in the original report, such as graphics, colors, lines, or borders. However, certain file formats do preserve the layout and formatting of the original report. These formats include the snapshot format (*.snp), the Portable Document Format format (*.pdf), and the XML Paper Specification format (*.xps). This article focuses on using these three file formats.

The following table lists all of the available formats for exporting a report, and the programs that you and your recipients can use to open the resulting files.

Format File extension(s) Programs that are used to open the file
HTML *.htm; *.html Internet browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer.
PDF *.pdf PDF readers, available as free, third-party downloads.
Rich Text *.rtf Word processing programs, such as Microsoft Office Word and WordPad.
Snapshot *.snp Microsoft Snapshot Viewer, available from the Microsoft Download Center. Find a link to the free download in the See Also section.
Text *.txt Word processing and text editing programs, such as Word and Notepad.
XPS *.xps
  • In Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or Microsoft Windows XP   ¬†Microsoft XML Paper Specification Viewer, available by downloading the Microsoft XML Paper Specification Essentials Pack. For more information about the Microsoft XML Paper Specification Essentials Pack, see the links in the See Also section.
  • In Windows Vista   ¬†Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or later.

 Note   The PDF Format (*.pdf) and XPS Format (*.xps) options are available after you install an add-in. Find more information about support for these file formats in the See Also section.

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Distribute a report by using the E-mail command

One of the fastest ways to distribute a report in Office Access 2007 is by using the E-mail command on the Microsoft Office Button menu. With just a few mouse clicks, Access exports the report to the file format that you want, and then creates a new e-mail message with the file attached to it.

  1. In the Navigation Pane, select the report that you want to send in an e-mail message.
  2. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, and then click E-mail.
  3. In the Send Object As dialog box, select the output format that you want to use, and then click OK. Remember that Snapshot Format (*.snp), PDF Format (*.pdf), and XPS Format (*.xps) are the only options that will preserve the layout and formatting of your original report.

Office Outlook 2007 opens a new e-mail message with a file attachment of the type that you specified.

  1. Type the recipients' e-mail addresses in the To box, a subject in the Subject box, and a message in the message area.

 Tip   By default, the file that you send by using this method is not saved on your computer. If you want to save a copy of the file on your computer, right-click the attachment in the Attached box, and then click Save As on the shortcut menu.

  1. Click Send.

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Distribute a report by using other methods

If you do not want to use the E-mail command to distribute your report, you can first export the report to the file format that you want, and then distribute it in the same way that you distribute any other file. For example, you could copy the file to a removable media such as a CD, floppy disk, or USB drive, and then distribute it to your recipients. Alternatively, you might copy the file to a shared network folder or a document library on a Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services site, and then tell your recipients the location of the file.

The following sections show you how to export a report as a snapshot file (*.snp), a Portable Document Format file (*.pdf), or an XML Paper Specification file (*.xps), which you can then distribute using the method that you want.

Export a report as a snapshot file

To view a snapshot file, the Microsoft Snapshot Viewer program must be installed on you and your recipients' computers. In earlier versions of Access, the Snapshot Viewer was installed with Access. However, the Snapshot Viewer is not installed with Office Access 2007. To view a snapshot file, you must download and install the free Microsoft Snapshot Viewer program from the Microsoft Download Center. Because an Office Access 2007 license is not required to download the Snapshot Viewer program, users who do not have Access 2007 installed on their computers can also download the Snapshot Viewer and use it to view the snapshot files that you create. Find a link to the download in the See Also section

  1. In the Navigation Pane, click the report that you want to export.
  2. On the External Data tab, in the Export group, click More, and then click Snapshot Viewer.
  3. On the first page of the Export - Snapshot Viewer Wizard, type a file name in the File name box, or click Browse to browse to a different location in which to save the file.
  4. If you want to view the snapshot immediately after it is created, under Specify export options, select the Open the destination file after the export operation is complete check box.
  5. Click OK.

If a file with the same name already exists in the folder you specified, Access prompts you to either replace the existing file or to enter a new name. Click Yes to replace the file, or click No to enter a different file name.

Access creates the snapshot file. If you chose to have Access open the destination file, and the Snapshot Viewer program is installed on your computer, the program will start and display the snapshot file. If the Snapshot Viewer program is not installed on your computer, no message will appear and the snapshot file will not display. However, you can still distribute it to other users.

  1. To save the steps of the operation that you just performed so that you can quickly reproduce the same operation at a later time, select the Save export steps check box, and then type a name and description for the steps. To create an Outlook task that allows you to schedule the export operation at a future date, select the Create Outlook Task check box.

Find more information about scheduling import and export operations in the See Also section.

Export a report as a *.pdf or *.xps file

You must first install an add-in before you can export a report to a *.pdf or *.xps format file. For more information about support for other file formats, such as *.pdf and *.xps, click the links in the See Also section of this article.

After you install the add-in, use the following procedure to export a report as a *.pdf or *.xps file:

  1. In the Navigation Pane, click the report that you want to export.
  2. On the External Data tab, in the Export group, click PDF or XPS.
  3. In the Publish as PDF or XPS dialog box, in the Save as type box, select the file type that you want to export the report as.
  4. To change the name that the report is saved as, type a new file name in the File name box.
  5. To open the report immediately after you export it, select the Open file after publishing check box. If you do not have a program installed on your computer that is capable of opening the file type, this option is not available.
  6. Under Optimize for, do one of the following:
    • To optimize the report for a larger, higher-resolution file (recommended for printing), select Standard.
    • To optimize the report for a smaller, lower-resolution file (recommended for publishing online), select Minimum size.
  7. Click Publish.

Access creates the *.pdf or *.xps file. If you chose to have Access open the file after publishing, the appropriate program will start and display the file.

  1. To save the steps of the operation that you just performed so that you can quickly reproduce the same operation at a later time click the Save export steps check box, and then type a name and description for the steps. To create an Outlook task that allows you to schedule the export operation at a future date, select the Create Outlook Task check box.

Find more information about scheduling import and export operations in the See Also section.

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Applies to:
Access 2007