What to do when you see file names instead of images in your Access database

Applies to
Microsoft Office Access 2003

I upgraded from Access 2000 or Access 2002 to Access 2003, and now instead of seeing images, I see file names. What's up?

The file names appear when you try to display an unsupported graphics file type — note that the list of supported file types varies with the control that you use to display an image.

Typically, you use either the bound object frame (bound object frame: A control on a form or report that is used to display and manipulate OLE objects that are stored in tables.), unbound object frame (unbound object frame: A control that you place on a form or report to contain an unbound object. An unbound object is an object, such as a picture, whose value isn't derived from data stored in a table.), or the image control (image control: A control that is used to display a picture on a form or report.) to display images in your Access database. You use the bound object frame to display images that change as you move through the records in a database. You use the unbound object frame or the image control to display images that remain fixed, such as images on a splash screen or a corporate logo that appears on your data entry forms.

The following sections explain how to solve the problem for each type of control.

Troubleshoot displaying images with the object frames

By design, the bound and unbound object frames only render Windows Bitmap (.bmp) and Device Independent Bitmap (.dib) files unless you have additional software that supports the display of other file types. The object frames use Object Linking and Embedding (OLE (OLE: A program-integration technology that you can use to share information between programs. All Office programs support OLE, so you can share information through linked and embedded objects.)) "behind the scenes," and they require a component called an OLE server in order to display any type of image files other than BMPs and DIBs.

Previous versions of Microsoft Office provided a program called Microsoft Photo Editor, which in turn provided the OLE server that the object frames used to render GIF and JPEG files. The Office 2003 System replaced Photo Editor with Microsoft Picture Manager, which does not provide the needed OLE server for those types of files. As a result, you see the names of your image files instead of the actual images themselves.

You can solve this problem in several ways:

  • Convert your GIF or JPEG images to Windows Bitmap (.bmp) files. Although BMP files are usually larger than GIF or JPEG files, they can help reduce the size of your database, because Access doesn't create additional Device Independent Bitmap (.dib) files to support them. For information about why Access creates DIB files when you use GIF or JPEG images, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article Why OLE Objects Cause Databases to Grow.
  • If you have an Office 2000 or Office XP installation CD, you can reinstall Photo Editor. The following sections explain how.

ShowReinstall Photo Editor from Office XP

  1. Start Setup on your installation CD. If the installation program does not start automatically, you can start it by using Windows Explorer. To do so, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer. Locate your CD-ROM drive and double-click Setup.exe.
  2. Enter the product key (your initials are optional) and click Next.
  3. Accept the terms of the license agreement and click Next.
  4. Select the Custom installation type and click Next.
  5. Select Choose detailed installation options for each application, and click Next.
  6. Under Features to install, set each program to Not Available. To do so, click each item and select Not Available from the list. A red "X" should appear on each item.
  7. Expand the Office Tools feature, click Microsoft Photo Editor, select Run from My Computer, and click Next. This forces the installation program to install only Photo Editor.
  8. Click Install to complete the installation.

ShowReinstall Photo Editor from Office 2000

  1. Insert Disc 1 into your CD-ROM drive to start the installation program. If the installation program does not start automatically, you can start it by using Windows Explorer. To do so, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer. Locate your CD-ROM drive and double-click Setup.exe.
  2. On the first screen, enter the product located on the CD case. You can optionally enter your initials. When finished, click Next.
  3. Accept the terms of the license agreement and click Next.
  4. Click Customize and click Next.
  5. Move through the next two screens by clicking Next twice.
  6. On the Microsoft Office 2000: Selecting Features screen, set each Office program to Not Available. To do so, click each item and select Not Available from the list. A red "X" should mark each feature.
  7. Expand the Office Tools feature, click Microsoft Photo Editor, and select Run from My Computer from the list. This forces the installation program to install just Photo Editor.
  8. Click Install Now to complete the installation.

Troubleshoot displaying images with the image control

The image control supports a larger number of image file types than either the bound or unbound object frame. However, if you need to display even more types of graphics files, you can use graphics filters, tools that allow the various Office programs to display image files that Office doesn't normally support. For example, a graphics filter can enable the image control to display images created with WordPerfect (.wpg files), among others.

Office 2003 provides a set of graphics filters. If you enable them, you can display the following types of files by using the image control:

  • Computer Graphics Metafiles (.cgm)
  • Corel Draw (.cdr)
  • Encapsulated PostScript (.eps)
  • Graphic Interchange Format (.gif)
  • Icon (.ico)
  • Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) (.jpg)
  • Macintosh PICT (.pict)
  • Portable Network Graphics (.png)
  • Windows Bitmap (.bmp)
  • Word Perfect Graphic (.wpg)

To obtain a set of graphics filters, you can:

  • Use your Office 2003 installation CD to enable a set of filters.

ShowHow?

  1. Start Setup on your installation CD. If the installation program does not start automatically, click Start, and then click Run. In the Open box, box, enter the drive letter assigned to your CD drive, followed by Setup.exe. For example, if your CD drive is drive D, type d:\Setup.exe and press Enter.
  2. Enter the product key and click Next, and then click Next again. You can enter your initials if you wish, but you do not have to.
  3. Accept the terms of the license agreement and click Next.
  4. Select Custom Install and click Next.
  5. Select Choose advanced customization of applications and click Next.
  6. In the list of options, expand the Office Shared Features node, expand the Converters and Filters item, and then expand the Graphics Filters item, as shown.

The Office 2003 Graphics Filters.

Locate the graphic filters set to display on first use. They're marked with a yellow number, as shown:

Graphics filters set to install on first use..

Click each marked item and select Run from My Computer.

  1. Click Next, and then click Install to install the filters.

More information

See these articles for more information about using images with Access:

 
 
Applies to:
Access 2003