Sunday, April 05, 2015

Sub Atomic Particle Collider Doubles Down

Here is a really positive story about the restart of the sub atomic particle collider hidden under the mountains of France and Switzerland. Its a 27 km circuit and they are now searching for black matter. By the way, if you are bored with your online newspaper, try RT news, the provider of this story. The have good news and interesting TV documentaries.

Friday, April 03, 2015

In Through The Out Door

In 1979, Led Zeppelin finished their last album called In Through the Out Door. That was the last vinyl record that I ever bought, my tape collection at that stage numbered about 200 and I seemed to be moving house every three months.

In through the out door describes my current dilemma with websites. Last year I did what I thought was the right thing and upgraded from a front-page based website [see old format here] to the "latest thing", an Office 365 public facing website. In January this year Microsoft announced that public facing websites would be phased out in a sliver of time, 2 years.

So now I have to workout a new way to present the 600 articles that makes up This is going to take time and in the meantime you won't see any new content from me.

So what is the plan you may ask ? At the moment I will aim to put the content on site that hosts SQL Server, and probably will need to serve the framework for a WordPress site. A list of these types of hosts can be found here. I also need to find a way that I can edit content and change and drop pages in the website and still reflect those changes elegantly in the website. 

As I value my recently re-awarded MS Access MVP badge far more than my old collection of vinyl, I will attack this project and get back to you as soon as I can.

All the best till then, Garry Robinson

Friday, March 06, 2015

Google Search Engine Pointers - Content is King

Many years ago I ran a database that produced 1000's of html pages that pointed people to well known compact disk sites where I could make a little commission. That fooled search engines like altavista and excite back in the 90's to where I was making 100$s a month.  Google came along and I gave up that pursuit and just concentrated on my own content.  Here is a great article on what google is probably concentrating on. In particular I love this quote

"Google’s biggest threat is that users start going elsewhere (social media, smartphone apps) to find what they’re looking for"  Does that sound familiar Microsoft lovers ?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cyclones have their good points, a very rare and cute animal and a weird shark

Last week two cyclones/hurricanes hit Australia at the same time and they were really big. Whilst that was bad news for some, surfing on the gold coast was amazing as shown in this photo from the Daily Mail.

The Eastern Australian Quoll is a carnivorous marsupial like the Tasmanian devil and has been totally wiped from mainland Australia because of feral cats mainly. It survives in Tasmanian in reasonable numbers. In the picture is a rare black Quoll that I confess I have never heard about.

The other day I spied one of these wobbegong sharks where I snorkel every other day. Never seen one in Clovelly bay before, unfortunately it was quite murky so I didn't get a great look.  Talk to you again in March.   Garry

2014 - The Three Access Amigos

My most used third party products that helped me with my Access development in 2014 were

  1. MUST - the upsizing tool for turning Access apps into good SQL Server apps
  2. Total Visual Code Tools - Clean up your VBA code and lot more
  3. FindandReplace - find any vba variable or access object or property and change it
Garry Robinson
Access MVP since 2006

Thursday, January 29, 2015

2014 - Access Web Apps - Send Emails

Jeff Conrad from Microsoft just posted this new email event feature for Access web apps.  I have been using it in our Timesheet app for a few months now and it works well.  The trick I use is to get it to post to SharePoint account and then AutoForward the emails from that SharePoint account to my own account where I collect my emails.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

SharePoint Public Facing Websites are Being Phased Out

I was notified by one of my readers that Office365 wouldn't let him create a public facing SharePoint website. This is detailed here at Microsoft and covered by ZdNet in this article. I will have more on this in the future. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Australia Day Iconic Photo

This selection of photos of people lying on blow up footware in blue water on Australia day will surely make you want to fly to Australia on a one way ticket. Unfortunately our local attempt at Bondi was cancelled due to rough conditions (and a bit of rain).  Finally good luck to all those in the New York - Boston areas with that huge snow storm. Garry

2014 - Switching Versions of Access

I invite anyone else to join in by following this article's link to and tell us your own way of switching Access versions (2013, 10, 7, 3). In the meantime lets get started with some ideas.

Scott McManus writes "The biggest thing for me is using Hyper V to manage different versions of Microsoft Access.  Scott discusses hyper V, the Access document search function and OneDrive for Business and SharePoint here

Ian Andrew from Canberra uses the Access icons on the taskbar as his database work is in 2010 and 2007.  He finds that and the MRU list in Access is enough.

León Carpay, a DataWareHouse specialist from Amsterdam and a long time user of the Access Workbench said "I’m really enjoying working with 123 for Microsoft Office though I do miss the version number feature of the Workbench". Don't worry Leon, there is a way around this which I will explain one day.

Garry, your editor, used to use The Access Workbench to switch versions  of Access.  Now I use 123 for Office which does switch versions of Access but has a smaller feature set than the good old Workbench. Alas I had to give up visual basic 6 eventually. That said, it now opens my most used Word and Excel files as well. I wrote the program, I had to give it a plug. 

123 for Microsoft Office in action

Chernoblyl Photographed from A Drone

Here is a neat video and story about the devastated lands that were Chernobyl. Its a lot more than just a ruined power station and the photography is well worth the trip.

Given that Chernobyl is in Ukraine, why not try an essay that discusses the different way that Russians handle adversity. Given the hoopla that is cranked out daily in the press about the how Russia is the bad guy in the Ukraine, its worth a read.  

2014 - Sue used these techniques a few times

Sue Waters came up with this list of code that she has been attaching to her databases in 2014

  1. Using reg keys with Access for keeping client settings, including client specific backend
  2. Giving user menu option to compact and repair currently connected backend
  3. Giving user menu option to change backend
  4. Adding ALL xx option to a combo box - eg. Combo box of all company divisions, and also having ALL DIVISIONS as default first option in drop down.
An article on Reg key 1) and Combo Box 4) can be found in the first link on this page

2014 - Outer Joins - How to write a query that gets all values from two tables

We continue the series of articles on things that helped us get through our Microsoft Access 2014 year with a piece from Kent Gorrell in Brisbane.

"What is an Outer Join? If we have two tables, in this example Sales and Orders and we want to see a full list of customers who have placed Either an Order or a Sale and also see the details of both. And not only that, we want to see what they haven’t done."

Click on the Outer Joins link on this page for the article

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Along with Windows 10 launch, is an interesting new interface that uses holograms that are projected into your real field of vision. Read all about it here and if your kids are into MineCraft, you will see how you can build MineCraft into your living room.

Friday, January 16, 2015

2016 - January - Microsoft Access, Boat Cricket and a large Pina Colada

Armen Stein and Andy Tabisz have just announced a Microsoft Access conference on a cruise liner in the Caribbean. This is defiantly a first for venues for Access conferences but its old hat for JStreet Technology as they have run many Access Day conferences before. Head to JStreets website to dream and book

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2014 - Starting a Database with a Bat File

A flying fox (an Australian bat)
To make it easier to install a new version of a database on a users desktop, its good to copy the latest version of the database to the local drive of the computer before you open it. Here is the way we do it, most professional Access developers will have their own technique but I like the startup method on this page.

2014 Trick - Open the same form twice

Imagine if you have designed a Access form that shows everything about a customers order on the screen. The customers ask you something and you know it will take a few minutes to sort out so you say "I will get back to you".  Then another customer calls about a different order which you now have to search for. If you open the detail form for the second customer, it is likely the first order form will be closed and the new customers order details will replace the other customers information. This is annoying at best.

Here is how you solve this, open the form as a form class instance.  I discuss this technique in pdf article here. To find the relevant text, you will need to go down to the page that starts with "Open the same form twice".  There are a few tricky things involved in this topic but you are a good Access developer, its good dependable gear.

In the following image you will see the same form opened 3 times for 3 different warranty claims. In this case the application is running in Tabbed Document mode.

2014 - New Ways of Navigating in Access

Last year was the first time that I used the Navigation control in a substantial project. The navigation control works and looks a Tab control but I was drawn to these feature of the Navigation control, articulated well by Ken Getz at Microsoft and quoted below.

"The load-time behavior is different for the two types of controls. The navigation form loads each child form or report on demand (that is, as you click the corresponding tab). The Tab control, however, loads all its child objects as it loads. Not only does this affect performance (when you open the main form, you must wait while the Tab control loads all its child objects), but it can also make it difficult when handling querying data. Because the navigation form loads each form as you click the corresponding tab, you can be certain that users see the most current data, without a need for you to create specific code that re-queries the form as users click each tab. "

In figure 2 below, I have a number of forms with a Navigation control that show warranty jobs that progress from started through to full repair or replacement.

Just in case you are unfamiliar with Navigation controls, the data property of each navigation tab is where you define the form that belongs to that button (read tab) as show in figure 3 below.  BTW. A navigation control can go vertical rather than horizontal.
Figure 2 - lots of navigation buttons organised like a tab

Figure 3 - define the form that applies to the navigation button

What Access technologies worked for us in 2014

Welcome readers to 2015, I hope it lives upto your expectations.

In this newsletter I thought it would be useful for you, the Access or Office professional user to know what I found important when my company was developing software in 2014. The tips and tools that I list are in no particular order. If you have experience with the tip that I mention and can find a well written resource on the web on that topic, post it into the blog comments with the article.

Garry Robinson
Access MVP since 2006

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Office 365 Legal Framework

I recently listed to a talk on Office 365 security and privacy and it added to my belief that Microsoft has data management goals that are business focused from day 1.  Here is a link to the Office 365 Trust information, you be the judge.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Win a copy of Professional Access 2013 Programming by Teresa, George, Ben and Dagi

Contact me here to be in the running to win 6 copies of Professional Access 2013 Programming in eBook form.

Correct entries will be drawn by using the rand() function in Excel and those with highest random value will win and I will announce the winners here and by email by the middle of November.


Winners names are


Garry Robinson
Access MVP since 2006

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Two Things I Learnt Making My Second Access Web App

When making my first web app, I charged at the App like a bull in a china shop and didn’t really pay much attention to the whole App building experience.
With my second App I noticed two important things
Tip 1: Importing Auto-number Related Tables Make Life So Much Easier
Access Web databases love Autonumber fields so much that they will always add one for you. So if you want to save yourself a lot of time, make sure the Primary Key in the database you are converting is Autonumber and the Key in the Related table is Long Integer.  This is really important because the Web Forms Access creates for you relies on these features to set up the Automatic forms. So even if you don’t understand this concept now, be prepared to rewrite the parts of your online database to suit this model before you import. And believe me you will import your database a few times before you get it right.
Tip 2: A Desktop Database with Read-Write Linking Is Essential
The second thing I found I just had to have was a read-write connection to the Office365 tables to change and add data. This is explained in this video
To explain why this is important, consider this simple example. In the online Authors tab at, I was showing Authors that had written for Smart Access but there was no actual article online. This meant viewing that person drew a blank in the related articles list. So to solve this I am going to add Yes/No field called ArticleOnline in the Office365 database as in the picture below.

Now I need to populate that field and because I am an older mouse, I like to follow old paths to solve problems the same way as I am used to. So I open my Read-Write connected database and build a normal update query. In the picture below you can see the query on the right and on the left you see the World Icons in the linked fields. These are ODBC links to the Office 365 database. So as the simple linking of the tables fulfils my Yes/No test, I can run the query.

Now I can make a small change to my Access Web Form so that it filters on the Yes/No field as in the following picture
 If you don't think connecting using linked tables is important, try programming XML packets to transfer data, its 100 times more difficult.
Garry Robinson
Editor of

A Public Site Access Web App You Can Try

NOTE: Public facing website are being phased out

I was looking around my downloads the other day and I found the database that Peter Vogel wrote to manage Smart Access. Looking into it, I thought it could be a good way to further experiment with Access 2013 Web Apps. So I imported the data into a New Web App.
24 hours elapsed time including maybe 3 hours of programming and 6 hours of fiddling with data and here it is.
You do not need any permission to run the app, it is readonly. The purpose of it is to allow you to navigate to articles in the website in different ways than Good Old Search.
Here are some samples starting with the Articles View.
Then there is the Keyword search form which I quite like. This uses a datasheet sub view.
The important thing to remember when using this Web App for the first time is that you can quickly filter the list by entering a search term in the “Filter the List” box.
Enjoy this App and come back later to use it again to search

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Demonstration of the Slider Keyboard on Windows Mobile 8.1

Hello Readers.  With all the hype for iPhone 6, Windows Mobile 8.1 was released without dramas onto my Nokia 1020 phone.  Here is a demonstration of a feature that I have missed since I left my Google phone in the drawer, a slider keyboard entry system.  See the keyboard demonstration on YouTube here