Thursday, July 27, 2017

Drag and Drop In MS Access and Conditional Sorting

Drag and Drop In MS Access

Doug was on a roll in January of 2004 when he wrote his article on drag and drop in MS Access. I tested it now using Access 2016 and it still works.  This article shows you how to add drag-and-drop to your Access application using combinations of multi-value and single-value controls.

Supporting Custom Sort Orders

Presenting data to your users in an order that makes sense to them is essential. Both Jet and SQL Server support sorting one or more fields in a table alphabetically, numerically, and chronologically. That’s great, but sometimes you need more options.

The links to both articles and the downloads in Access 2016 format are here

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Conditional Formatting Pro and Opening Any Old File

Article 1

Rick Dobson shows you several powerful ways to implement conditional formats. This includes some VBA programming and debugging techniques.

Article 2

Doug Steele: If I have a document, how can I how can I open it in whatever program is deemed appropriate for that file type?

Head to this page on for links to the full articles plus their downloads. This includes the 2016 accdb files.

NOTES:  If you would like me to publish the download for an article, send me the name of the article using this link and I will put it in my schedule.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Speaking databases, zoom in sub-forms and strategies for solving SQL problems

In the month of January 2006, there were three articles that are still relevant today.

The first article is by Chris Weber and it shows you how you can add a zoom button to datasheet subform.

The second article is by one of the super stars of Smart Access, Doug Steele.  In this article he get MS Access to read text aloud. Make sure you have your headphones on when you test this one in a busy office

The third is one of those challenging articles by the guru of structured query language, Peter Vogel. In his article he provides advice as to how you can understand issues that you are having with your complex sql and then offers advice on how to fix it.

You can read about this articles here at

A new day has dawned and I am on my bike. Will you ride with me ?

Twenty plus years of programming and writing about Microsoft Access programming and tricks and I have come to that point where I have to decide on a new trail for my life and career.

So what is really important for your editor at this stage in life ?

  • I need to get fitter, 10k steps on the fitbit plus eight hours at a desk wasn't working. Body was suffering.
  • I have great support staff to help with the work
  • I like learning about tech and writing about what I have learnt
This decision making coincided with a bike riding holiday in New Zealand and my parents moving on to another decent place. So to cut a long story short, I got into a spot of bicycle blogging on Facebook. This then turned into a website and slowly it dawned on me, I like writing about bike riding and I like exploring and mapping. After all I had a Masters Degree in Land Surveying and all I have ever done is program in Microsoft Access and Fortran and I never mapped anything.

So for you, the Microsoft Access and Office reader this means

  • I am going to work through my website, review every article and make the downloads for those articles free as I do it. I will post those article into this newsletter as I go
  • I will detail my trials and failures about my new bike riding website as I go and post those observations into this newsletter.  
  • On the 20th July, I will add the readers of this magazine into my bike trail magazine so you can keep track of what is happening. You can easily drop out of that newsletter just like you can drop out of this one. I use the services of Aweber to help with all the security and newsletters.
For now, I would like to direct you to an article that I wrote for a Family Travel Blogger called MumPackTravel about my first rail trail biking holiday with three families.  Its should be a reasonably amusing read for you and the pictures of New Zealand are terrific. Click here to read the story. 

Now you are probably asking why write for someone else and write for free. The truth is the www is now so huge, just creating a website and hoping someone will come to it just didn't work in the first few months of So I decided to find people who were interested in my content. This was my first success in that endeavour.  The MumPackTravel website has a lot of followers as detailed on this page.  Now I have my big outside link, my website should get found.  

That's my first Social Media related post, hopefully you won't mind following a new part of my life. Now I need to do a programming article like the good old days.

Garry Robinson
Editor and a person who now rides at least 15km on different trails everyday.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Big Font Rethink - My website had to get better for phones or Google would ignore it

I have been working on a project to build a website to document the bicycle trails that I have researched and ridden.  This has expanded from a project where I would just use Facebook pages to store a few trails to hunting through online web builders till I selected Wix. So I built and then I started going crazy riding all over the place. After I while I realised that the menus would not cope with 30+ trails.  So I decided to have a go at building a home grown website that would handle large numbers of pages. After all haven't I been doing this for 12 years with 500 articles in

To get this site going, I wanted to recreate some of the look of Wix site I created  and I also wanted to make the site go faster.

After hunting for a while, my son and I realised the site was being driven by Google Open Sans  This turns out to be more than a just a font you download but a Google rethink of the way fonts work. I guess that is what had to happen with phones and various browsers all using their own fonts. It never bothered me till now because I am a Microsoft desktop man and fonts are always on my computer.

Onward and now I have almost completed my rewrite of biketrail and I now I have taken a couple of days to rework all the fonts/styles at so that you can happily browse my site with your phone.

To prove to you that I did ok, try running in a iPhone simulator.  Its really cool.  With the simulator you can even review your own favourite websites as well.

This was the project I never planned to do but I really loved it. Research is fun, it always seems painful and unprofitable as you do it and then you win. :)


Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Technology Behind Bitcoins

Did you notice that the price of the crazy money thing called Bitcoin has gone ballistic lately ? Probably not.  What is interesting is the technology behind the mining of bitcoins. As it says in the accompanying article, it costs $250 to mine a $2000 bitcoin. Thats a lot more in percentage terms than it costs to make a US $10 dollar bill.  Only gold is more expensive to mine in percentage costs.

Anyway check the tech behind the Icelandic bitcoin miners in this article

Monday, April 24, 2017

Coming to a mobile screen near you

This Bloomberg article explains the technology and the business behind the OLED screens that are used in the Galaxy and has been licenced to Apple for the next iphone. 

To Quote " OLEDs have held out the promise of better screens for decades even as LCDs ruled. OLED displays can be thinner, more energy efficient and produce deeper black colors because organic pixels can glow on their own, while LCDs require a backlit panel. They can also be made on flexible plastic for a wider variety of shapes and applications. The challenge has been in creating long-lasting, bright screens at low enough prices."

Well they are here now and you can read about it on this page

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Canadian River Heads the Other Way

Been busy getting fit recently and working on my first phone centric website, that I haven't posted so much.  So here is an interesting environmental story from The Guardian to fill in your time.

An immense river that flowed from one of Canada’s largest glaciers vanished over the course of four days last year, scientists have reported, in an unsettling illustration of how global warming dramatically changes the world’s geography.

For hundreds of years, the Slims carried meltwater northwards from the vast Kaskawulsh glacier in Canada’s Yukon territory into the Kluane river, then into the Yukon river towards the Bering Sea. But in spring 2016, a period of intense melting of the glacier meant the drainage gradient was tipped in favour of a second river, redirecting the meltwater to the Gulf of Alaska, thousands of miles from its original destination.  Read more

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Online Web Content - Should You Organise or Engage ?

This article provides a back to basics comparison between FaceBook and a website.

I have a new hobby, I love to ride easy trails on my bike. So as I rode, I started to document where I went in Facebook. This was good but I didn't want post too often in case I annoyed my small fan base.  I then moved to a Facebook Page to hold my posts. After a while the content became unstructured because FaceBook really loves to show newest posts or notes at the top and the original content trickles out of view. That's not the only problem with the Facebook medium....

Read more in the LinkedIn article I wrote called
Online Web Content - Should You Organise or Engage ?

If you haven't time to read that post, have a look at the site I have put together in Wix.  Especially look at how it runs on a phone.  I structured the site to work using pictures on a phone. 

My new site is called

Friday, March 31, 2017

Mopping Up March

Given the recent announcement on the phase out of Access Web Apps, I thought I would revisit the pertinent articles that I wrote at linkedIn.

Excel Data Online - Look at the File Types and other basics

Create a Smart Online Data Spreadsheet

Excel Sub Totals in the Cloud

Power Apps - its time to explore

and even though I didn't guess there would be much work in Access Web App conversions, we are already upgrading desktop apps to Access 2016 as per this article on Garrys 2017 predictions.

Finally, if you would like the see my best photos from my recent bike rides, have a look at or join me on Instagram @garryphotoman

and if you like those pics, click here for @sstano, his desert bike shots are fantastic

BTW: After a few months of writing articles and posting them in LinkedIn, do I find LinkedIn worthwhile ? The answer is I enjoy the writing environment, its easy to create an article and that's the important thing.

Access Web Services Is On The Lunar Clock - Its being closed down

In 365 days Access Web Services Apps will be decommissioned completely from Office 365. That's it, no more, caput, finito, bon voyage.

The full announcement from Microsoft is here

This means three things

  • If you have written a web app, its time to plan. You have a year.
  • If you are an Access Desktop developer, this is good news. The Access team now has no distractions, Access Desktop is well and truly a part of Office 365, you can see it in the offerings now. If you are an Access developer, you may wish to look to the future in user web development and that is PowerApps. No rush for this though.
  • If you have never written an Access Web App, don't bother. You could for history sakes listen to my talk on Access Web Apps here. It will be deleted soon.
So lets assume that only people who have Access Web apps will reading the rest of the article. What will your planning take.

I would contemplate a plan as follows.

  • Review what is happening with your AWA, tell your boss or clients and go into care and maintenance to save wasted time.
  • Write down all the essentials of your AWA, if any parts aren't being used, close them down.
  • Review the path that Microsoft are suggesting you follow which is create SharePoint lists, create a PowerApp and maybe even get into Microsoft Flow
  • Review if your App can be supported by Excel Surveys or Excel Online spreadsheets and Dropbox and OneDrive.
  • Review if your AWA can be replaced by a cloud tool
  • Start building prototypes or testing new solutions.
  • By October, 2017, you will need to be writing your solution or in full test mode with your cloud product. Any later and its Xmas and your upgrade project is going to go off the rails. There will be no AWA in May next year. Make a list, get cracking.
Notes: I believe the schedule for OnPrem AWA's is different. When I find that article, I will let you know.  I am not a fan of the 1 year shutdown. Personally, I would have stopped new AWA's from being developed tomorrow, and I would have let the existing apps go for a minimum of two years and I would have taken AWA's out of the next version of Office.

I hope this news is no news for most of my readers, I suspect that the number of people effected is going to be low. One of my good MVP friends has been hit very hard by this decision. I feel for him.   Garry

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Simple Email Sending PowerApp

If you want to see a very basic Microsoft PowerApp in code, read my first article on how to build a Email posting App.  Here is a LinkedIn intro to the same article.

If you are using Office365, you will very ready to start experimenting with PowerApps. Its early days but as long as you follow Microsoft's samples, you will get a feel for this new language.  If you get even more curious, its probably a good time to read about PowerApp the Common Data Service pricing.

Here is an interesting post on including a PowerBI report into a SharePoint page

Monday, February 20, 2017

Where was that Bing Photo taken ?

Have you ever wondered where that Bing login or home-screen photo was taken. Holiday anyone? Well you can find out by going to the Bing Homepage Gallery. There you can find the image, read about it and even download it to make your own custom wallpaper collection.

Automation in the Ivory Towers

I remember a good mentor of mine saying he was happier that his son was going to be a horticulturalist than a banker because he would less likely to be made redundant and because he would be happier. Read this story about automation at "Goldman Sacks" and think about what you would recommend to the younger ones.

Garry has written his first mobile ready app using PowerApps - Read On

I wrote myself a personal specification for an App.  "I need a way to data enter timesheets on a mobile phone so I can replace my browser only Access Web App. " I have now gone live with two people, myself and I. Read and see my first thoughts on Microsoft Power Apps on LinkedIn

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Stop the meltdown - Boxing Day and Beyond in Australia

Christmas day in Australia is like most other Christmas days around the world, presents, food, don't give the spare ham to the dog and lying around with too full a belly. But there is one fundamental difference "Its HOT". So as a general rule, the following two or three weeks are not for work, they are scheduled so that you can have some fun whilst you melt.

Firstly there is the Boxing Day dash which can happen in a number of ways

There is the mad dash out of the city - everyone makes the same mistake every year
If you are really mad, you get in a boat and head for the worlds most dangerous ocean and Hobart

If you have no imagination, you head to the "Boxing Day Sales" and use the store card your uncle gave you

More than likely you will aim to end up in a motel or a caravan park somewhere near the water

So now you are established in your now busy caravan park or motel, you can enjoy the heat with just about everyone else. The boring people who are left in the city will find no traffic jams, empty beaches and empty air-conditioned shops to spend uncles store card in peace. It happens every year, that is January in Australia.

I thought I had heard most of the ways to avoid meltdown but this year Sue Waters who works for us visited Parkes in central NSW.  She committed to this last year and arrived in the middle of a heat wave. Imagine donning your Elvis silk and poly and heading outside when it is 111 Fahrenheit. Yep Aussies do silly things in January. Here are some of Sues pictures from the Elvis Festival in January in Parkes  and a few words as well. 

 Sue Writes  Elvis Presley died 40 years ago, but for the last 25 years an Elvis Festival has been held in Parkes in January – 377 kms west (ish) of Sydney.  This year was baking!  The temperature on the Friday reached 44C but still Elvis tribute artists did their thing in the main park in that iconic white jumpsuit.  All that polyester!

 It was a hoot.  On the Thursday evening we went to the Priscilla Dinner where people dressed up just for heck of it (see image), while prizes were given for best Priscilla.

Saturday morning was Parade Day!  Hundreds of Elvis look alikes paraded alongside cars, Californian Police motor bikes, Priscillas and more Elvis related 60s icons than you could possibly imagine.  I’ve never seen so many sideburns, rhinestones, white shoes or sunglasses.

On Saturday afternoon we had front row seats for  the Grand Final of the Elvis Tribute Artist competition, where 8 of the winners from the heats performed 3 songs each.  All amazing.  The winner gets to go to Memphis for the international competition.  

It was fantastic, then came the long ride home in the hot sun.  

You may ask why did you write this Garry and Sue. The reason is its 100 Farenheit outside and its January and we are going crazy.  Have a good day....

Building Your Own Data Mining Interface

Back in the early 90's the mining company I was working for was being taken over and all my bosses were busy protecting the company. So  I had lots of time to learn Access. In that time I quickly understood the data exploring potential of Access and I created a data mining product called Graf-FX.  It sold a 100 copies and found me my first big client when I setup my own business.

So the other day I was looking through my article archives and I found a cool little sample that builds basic drilldown queries on the fly. I thought I would finish that sample off and write the story that goes with it. Here is some background to the story

Tucked away in the bowels of Access is a powerful graphing tool called MS Graph.  A lot of Office users will be familiar with the graphing capabilities of Excel but very few people seem to have successfully implemented graphs of much use inside Access.  Both products use similar core elements from the Office charting engine.  The difference between the two is that with Excel, you derive your graph data by pointing the graph to cells in a spreadsheet.  This allows people to manually move the cells around until they end up with a graph that they are happy with.  In Access, you have to manipulate queries until you end up the graph that you want.  This is a lot more difficult but the end result is far more versatile as the Access graph will work irrespective of the number of rows of data that you introduce via the query.  The other important feature of Access that you will deploy for data mining is the direct support of Structured Query Language in Visual Basic code. This allows you to easily change the exploration queries on the fly.  Read more on how to setup your first data mining interface here

The sample data link will appear on this page when the article is published in my newsletter.

Here is the download link for this article...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

How I Deploy - a story about Azure Websites that can apply to any ftp website

In this article at LinkedIn, I am going to show you how you can publish your website into the cloud using Azure and Dropbox. This is a way that you can move on from a old style FTP host into a Microsoft Azure. To see my website that runs this way, go to

As you can see the site it is very big and it runs fast. Before I moved it to Azure, that was not the case.  Even the site search engine is slick and that has a lot of work to do. So first of all a bit of background as to how I make the website. I use a Help Authoring tool called Help and Manual.  It can create Visual Studio help files, pdf books, kindle books, word books and chm files. But for me, it creates my website on my local computer. The second tool that I use is a combination of Dropbox and Azure.  Here are the steps that I follow to update the site.  If you are still reading at the end of this article, I guide you how to make the site in Azure.

Note: If you are running an FTP authoring program, ignore the help and manual section and continue reading because anything that can be posted into a local folder can be adapted into a Dropbox folder and this article will become very relevant.

So here is the link to the article once again.  I hope you Like it    Garry

Late Update:  Help and Manual loved the article. They posted a note into their website here

Sunday, January 08, 2017

European Holiday Anyone - How About An English Speaking Conference in Vienna ?

Karl Donaubauer is the guru of conferences for MS Access in Germany. They are pretty big. Now he wants to run an English speaking conference in Vienna, Austria.

The conference will likely take place on April 1 and 2 in Vienna.  << Link is working now

All you have to do is convince your boss.

Below are some of the great buildings in Vienna.

Schönbrunn Palace 

Vienna Town Hall

Belvedere Palace

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Microsoft Access Conferences Coming Up In the USA

There are two Microsoft Office/Access conferences coming up in the USA in April. If you live anywhere near them you should make an effort to go. If you don't live nearby, what about one of those working holiday's that you have always dreamed about.

Conference One

Office365Day is a FREE 1-day event for MS Office users, power users and developers to learn from industry leaders and local experts. It’s also a great way to network and share knowledge with others. The event is free, thanks to our generous sponsors & those that volunteer their time to make the event a success.

Learn more about:  Word   Excel   Access   PowerPoint   OneNote   Power BI   PowerApps

Event:  Office365Day – Grand Rapids
Date:  Saturday April 1, 2017
Times:  8:00am – 4:30pm
Location:  Davenport University, Grand Rapids, MI
Open To:  Everyone
Cost:  FREE!

Conference Two

The Portland Access User group is having its yearly 3 day conference in late April. Speakers lined up thus far include Luke Chung, Alison Balter, Jack Leach, Juan Soto, Thomas Moller and Armen Stein. This conference is almost full and is always a sell out.  

Event: Portland Access User Group Conference
Dates: April 29, 30 and May 1, 2017

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

What will 2017 bring for Office Access Solution Specialists ?

Garry polishes up his crystal ball and discusses what may be the big thing for MS Access professionals in 2017. Read Garry's prediction here in a new LinkedIn article.

Search for GarryPhotoman in Instagram to see my best photos