Introducing Microsoft Office Access 2003

Microsoft® Office Access 2003 is the database management program that gives you an improved user experience and an expanded ability to import, export, and work with XML data files. Working in Access 2003 is easier because common errors are identified and flagged for you with options to correct them. Additionally, a new feature to Access 2003 also helps database developers view information on dependencies between database objects.

Extending databases
Importing, exporting, and linking data
Protecting information
Enhancing the user experience

Extending databases

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View information on object dependencies    View information on dependencies between database objects. Viewing a list of objects that use a specific object helps maintain a database over time and avoid errors related to missing record sources. For example, the Quarterly Orders query in the Sales database is no longer needed, but before deleting it, you might want to find out which other objects in the database use the query. Then, you could either change the record source of the dependent objects, or delete them, before deleting the Quarterly Orders query. Viewing a complete list of dependent objects helps you save time and minimize errors. In addition to viewing the list of objects that are bound to a selected object, you can also view the objects that are being used by the selected object.

Object dependencies

Bullet Error checking in forms and reports    Enable automatic error checking for common errors in forms and reports. Error checking points out errors, such as two controls using the same keyboard shortcut, and the width of a report being greater than the page it will be printed on. Enabling error checking helps you identify errors and correct them.
Bullet Propagating field properties    In previous versions of Access, whenever you modified a field's inherited property, you had to manually modify the property of the corresponding control in each of the forms and reports. Now, when you modify certain inherited field properties, such as Format and InputMask, in Table design view, Access displays an option to update the property of all or some controls that are bound to the field.
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Smart tags     Use the SmartTags property to add a smart tag to any field in a table, query, form, report, or data access page in a database.


Smart Tags property

Smart Tags dialog box

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Back up a database or project    Back up the current database or project before making major changes to it. The backup will be saved in the default backup location, or in the current folder.

Back Up Database command on the File menu

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XML support    Specify a transform file when you import data from or export data to XML. The transform is then applied automatically. When you import XML data, the transform is applied to the data as soon as the data is imported, before any new table is created or an existing one is appended to. When you export data to XML, the transform is applied following the export operation.

Often times a database contains lookup values that are stored in another database. You can now include these related tables when exporting. You can also include any predefined filter or sort order for an object when exporting the object.

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Importing, exporting, and linking data

Bullet Importing, exporting, and linking to a Microsoft Windows SharePoint™ Services list from Access     Export the contents of a table or a query to a Windows SharePoint Services list, import the contents of a Windows SharePoint Services list into a table, and link a table to a Windows SharePoint Services list.
Bullet Exporting and linking to Access data from Windows SharePoint Services     Export a list in its Datasheet view from Windows SharePoint Services to a static table or to a linked table in Access. When you export to a static table, you create a table in Access. You can then view and make changes to the table independent of the original list in Windows SharePoint Services. Similarly, you can change the list in Windows SharePoint Services, and that will not affect the table in Access. When you export to a linked table, you create a table in Access and establish a dynamic link between the table and the list such that changes to the table are reflected in the list, and changes to the list are reflected in the table as well.
Bullet Make a local table from a linked table     Make a local copy of the structure or data and structure contained in a linked table.

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Help protect information

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Macro Security    Help protect against potentially unsafe Visual Basic® for Applications (VBA) code by setting the macro security level. You can set the security level so that you are prompted every time that you open a database containing VBA code, or you can automatically block databases that are from unknown sources. Additionally, Access uses Microsoft Authenticode® technology to enable you to digitally sign a VBA project by using a digital certificate. The certificate used to create this signature helps confirm that the macro originated from the signer, and the signature helps confirm that it has not been altered. When you set the macro security level, you can run macros based on whether they are digitally signed by a developer on your list of trusted sources.

Security Warning: This file may not be safe...

Bullet Block Potentially Unsafe Functions    Block potentially unsafe functions from being used in expressions using the Microsoft Jet Expression Service enhanced sandbox mode. In sandbox mode, Access evaluates only those expressions in control and field properties that are safe and that do not contain potentially malicious code. An expression is considered safe if it does not use functions or properties that could damage your data in any way. For example, functions such as Kill and Shell could be used to damage data and files on a computer, so they are not considered safe.

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Enhancing the user experience

Bullet Microsoft Windows® XP theme support    The Windows XP operating system offers you several themes. If you have chosen a theme other than the default, Access will apply the chosen theme to views, dialog boxes, and controls. You can prevent form controls from inheriting themes from the operating system by setting an option on the database or project.
Bullet Support for ink devices    Quickly provide input by adding your own handwriting to Office documents on a Tablet PC as you would using a pen and a printout. Additionally, view task panes horizontally to help you do your work on the Tablet PC.
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Enhanced sorting in controls    Specify the ascending or descending sort order of up to four fields in the List Box and Combo Box Wizards in forms and reports, and the Lookup Wizard in an Access database. The sort page added to these wizards looks and behaves like the sort page in the Report Wizard.

Sort order page in the Combo Box Wizard

Bullet Autocorrect options    Gain more control over the behavior of the AutoCorrect feature. The AutoCorrect Options button appears near text that was automatically corrected. If you find on occasion that you don't want text to be corrected, you can undo a correction or turn AutoCorrect Options on or off by clicking the button and making a selection.
Bullet Enhanced font capabilities in SQL views    Change the font and font size of text by using the Query design font option added to the Tables/Queries tab of the Options dialog box under the Tools menu in the SQL and query Design views of a query in both an Access database and Access project. These settings apply to all databases and work with the high-contrast and other accessibility settings of your computer.
Bullet Context-based Help in SQL view    Get help specific to Jet SQL keywords, VBA functions, and Access functions in the SQL view of a query in a Microsoft Access database. Simply press F1 to bring up the help that corresponds to the text near the cursor. You can also search the Jet SQL and VBA function reference topics.

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Applies to:
Access 2003