Last Updated 8 July 2024

This page contains links to some shorter articles discussing Access, Office & Windows topics that don't fit in any other section

It is intended that the number of blog items will be significantly increased in the coming months so please check back again regularly.

List of Blog Articles

Access Command Line Switches
Access File Limits
Access Infographics
Access Issues Fixed
Access Keyboard Shortcuts
Access News VIDEO - AEK Conference (Oct 2023)
Access Roadmap Update (Oct 2022)
Breakpoints and Special Keys
BUG: Popup forms with breakpoints & navigation
BUG: Query Designer Insert/Delete Columns
Changes to Access Roadmap
Click Me And I Disappear
Datasheet Totals Row Bug
Dictation in Access
Disabled Datasheet Fields Undone By Events!
Drag & Drop Database Objects
Epson announces end of laser printer production
ERROR: Trust Center Settings in ACCDR files
Export Customised Ribbon
FIXED: Error 3283 when refreshing links using code
FIXED: Error 3611 when refreshing links using code
Fix Navigation Bar Half Height problem
Form Datasheet ribbon missing in popup form
Happy Birthday. Access Is 30!
In Praise Of SysCmd(555)
Install Windows 3.1 on iPhone
Introducing the NENAPUTS query
Isla - R.I.P.
Issues with Boolean Variables and Fields
Large Address Awareness in 32-bit Access
Linked table passwords exposed
Locked and disabled control puzzle     (2 pages)
Making Automatic Form Resizing work for you
Manage Old Data: Archive, Mark or Delete?
Manage Windows Smart Screen Warnings
Maximum Password Length in Access Files
Maximum Width of Access Forms & Reports
Now you CAN open more tables and databases
Office & VBE Menu Languages Different
Oops - how did that make an ACCDE file?
Open Queries Directly in SQL View
Outlook: Check your Connection
Reserved Errors - no message for this error
Strikethrough Font in Access
Suggested Improvements to IMEX Data Tasks
Tables Disappear In Relationships Window
The Curious Case of the Multi Row Tab Control
The Power of Data
The Strange Dotted Square 'Bug' - FIXED
Two Font Display Bugs in Version 2309 - FIXED
Two New Access Features - Autumn 2024
Two New Access Features in the Beta Channel
Unblock downloaded files by removing the MOTW
Undocumented SysCmd Actions
Use Multiple Tags on Form Controls
Using the Scroll Lock Key in Excel
VBE Option Statements
Why Can't I Create an ACCDE file?
Why does SSMA fail to import my tables?
Why Isladogs? Why Access?
Why Rushmore?
You Can REALLY Do All That With Forms?

Access Command Line Switches

Last updated: 24 Jun 2023

This article lists the command-line switch options available for Microsoft Access


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Access File Limits

Last updated: 2 Oct 2023

This article discusses some of the limits that developers may experience when creating large Access database applications. It was written in response to questions at an Access forum


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Access Infographics

Last updated: 23 June 2022

This is a link to an excellent Access blog by Mark Gillis containing three PowerPoint presentations which clearly demonstrate the power of Access both as a standalone app and in conjunction with other Office programs. Excellent if you ever need to explain the value of Access to your boss, IT department, potential clients etc.


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Access Issues Fixed

Last updated: 28 June 2022

Microsoft has started a new and very welcome monthly blog series highlighting giving details of issues fixed by the Access team in the past month or so.


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Access Keyboard Shortcuts

Last updated: 22 Nov 2022

Ths article lists some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts in Access together with a link to the full list of shortcuts


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Access News VIDEO - AEK Conference (Oct 2023)

Last updated: 3 Nov 2023

Video highlights from the Access team presentation to the 25th session of the annual AEK conference organised by Karl Donaubauer.


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Access Roadmap Update (Oct 2022)

Last updated: 13 Oct 2022

This article discusses the new Access priority list (AKA roadmap) recently published for the 6 month period from Oct 2022 to Mar 2023.


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Breakpoints and special keys

Last updated: 13 Jun 2023

This article describes a long-term Access bug where adding breakpoints to step through code has no effect when the Allow Special Keys option is unticked. The bug was fixed in Access 365 version 2305 but is still present in all older versions


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BUG: Popup forms with breakpoints & navigation

Last updated: 2 Apr 2023

This article describes a long-term Access bug where adding breakpoints to step through code in a popup form causes the form to behave as though it is in 'design view'. This means that code to navigate records will fail with error 2499 or 2046


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BUG: Query Designer Insert/Delete Columns

Last updated: 24 Feb 2024

This describes a long-term Access bug when attempting to use the ribbon to insert or remove columns in the query design window. It also provides a workaround until the bug is fixed.


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Changes to Access Roadmap

Last updated: 28 June 2022

Microsoft has changed their approach to the information provided in the Access roadmap. Why is this happening and is it a good or bad thing?


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Click Me And I Disappear! (Hide a control with focus)

Last updated: 24 Feb 2023

In older versions up to Access 2007, you could only disable, lock or hide controls if they did not have the focus.

However, in Access 2010, that limitation was changed . . . with some interesting side effects!



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Datasheet Totals Row Bug

Last updated: 7 Apr 2023

This article describes a bug which causes datasheet totals row data to overlay data on other records when scrolling with a mouse. This affects datasheet forms as well as queries and tables


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Dictation in Access

Last updated: 12 Nov 2023

Although not officially supported, it is possible to use speech to text (dictation) to input data in Access. This article explains how to do so.


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Disabled Datasheet Fields Undone By Events! (BUG)

Last updated: 25 Feb 2023

This article discusses a bug where disabled or locked datasheet forms still respond to certain events and their contents can be altered.


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Drag & Drop Database Objects

Last updated: 23 June 2022

This explains two methods of using drag and drop with any Access database object.
1.   Create Access object shortcuts on the desktop - click shortcut to open the database directly to that object - saves time!
2.   Transfer objects from one open database to another. Usually much easier than using the wizard to import objects. Extra care needed with linked tables
Both methods work with any Access object and have been available since Access 97 (25 years ago) BUT it seems that many experienced developers are not aware of one or both features.


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Epson announces end of laser printer production

Last updated: 29 Nov 2022

A short article about the announcement that Epson will stop producing laser printers by 2026.
This news may also affect usage of your current laser printer.

It is also possible that other manufacturers may make similar announcements in the near future.


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ERROR: Trust Center Settings in ACCDR files

Last updated: 2 Apr 2023

Short article describing an error when clicking Trust Center Settings for ACCDR files in Access 365


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Export Customised Ribbon

Last updated: 10 Mar 2024

Customised ribbons can be created for an application using XML and a user defined system table. This short article explains how to export customised ribbons created directly from the user interface.


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FIXED: Error 3283 when refreshing links using code

Last updated: 13 Mar 2024

This article describes a bug triggered when using code to refresh table links. The bug affected version 2312. It was quickly fixed for the Current Channel and has also now been fixed in the Monthly Enterprise Channel.


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FIXED: Error 3611 when refreshing links using code

Last updated: 12 Dec 2023

This article describes a bug triggered when using code to refresh table links. The bug only affected Insider channel versions 2312 & 2401. It has already been fixed - just a few days after being reported.


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Fix the Navigation Bar Half Height problem

Last updated: 13 Dec 2022

This article describes how to fix issues where for some users the navigation bar is shown at half height (partly hidden) making it difficult to read or use


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Form Datasheet ribbon missing in popup form

Last updated: 2 Mar 2024

This article explains why the form datasheet ribbon does not appear with popup forms. The article also provides a workaround as the ribbon is needed for datasheet conditional formatting, setting alternate row colors etc.


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Happy Birthday. Access Is 30!

Last updated: 29 Oct 2022

A short article celebrating the 30th anniversary of Microsoft Access. The first version was released to the public on 13 Nov 1992


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In Praise of SysCmd(555)

Last updated: 24 Sept 2023

This article discusses the little known and undocumented SysCmd action 555 available in Access and how it can be very useful for import/export specifications


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Install Windows 3.1 on iPhone

Last updated: 22 June 2022

Apparently it can be done!
Links to an article and video describing ths ridiculous but fun idea in detail


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Introducing the NENAPUTS query

Last updated: 9 Sept 2022

This article demonstrates a very unusual type of query join that unexpectedly works!


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Isla - R.I.P.

Last updated: 9 Sept 2022

Farewell my friend!


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Issues with Boolean Variables and Fields

Last updated: 13 Mar 2023

This article describes issues you may experience using boolean (yes/no) variables and fields in Access. It also describes several solutions to avoid the problems described


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Large Address Awareness in 32-bit Access

Last updated: 25 Nov 2023

Large Address Awareness has finally been added to 32-bit Access. This article explains what this means and how/when it will be useful.


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Linked table passwords exposed

Last updated: 24 Oct 2023

This article describes a serious security weakness in Access in which the passwords to backend database tables can easily be viewed, even in ACCDE databases.


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Locked and disabled control puzzle

Last updated: 30 Nov 2023

Two textbox controls have both been disabled and locked. One of them behaves correctly but the other can be activated allowing the mouse cursor to be placed anywhere in the control. What causes this difference and why?.


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Making Automatic Form Resizing Work For You

Last updated: 28 Apr 2023

This article has a copy of my presentation and supporting materials for my session on automatic form resizing to the Access DevCon conference on 28 April 2023


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Manage Old Data - Archive, Mark or Delete?


Last updated: 14 Jan 2023

Stay or Go?
This article discusses the best ways of managing old data with the least possible effort


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Manage Windows Smart Screen Warnings


Last updated: 28 Jan 2023

Windows SmartScreen is a security feature built into the Windows operating system that helps protect users from potentially malicious software.
The article discusses how to manage this feature to suit your own needs.


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Maximum Password Length in Access Files


Last updated: 23 Jan 2023

Since Access 2007, the maximum password length has officially been 20 characters.
However for linked Access tables, no more than 19 characters can be used


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Maximum Width of Access Forms & Reports


Last updated: 16 Feb 2023

This article explains why there is a maximum value for the width and section heights in Access forms and reports

It also explains why it is very unlikely that the limit will ever be increased


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Now you CAN open more tables and databases


Last updated: 4 Jul 2023

This short article outlines two recent improvements made to the Access architecture behind the scenes.

Taken together, these should significantly reduce the number of 'cannot open any more tables/databases' messages and make it far less likely that Access applications will crash


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Office & VBE Menu Languages Different

Last updated: 4 Dec 2023

This article describes a strange issue I had after temporarily changing the Office language to Spanish. After I changed back the VBE menus didn't revert. Repairing Office had no effect. In case anyone else experiences this, the article describes the unexpected solution.


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Oops - how did that make an ACCDE file?

Last updated: 6 Sept 2022

This article discusses a strange side effect of an ACCDE file being created when investigating an Access bug. It also acts as a warning to ALWAYS backup before making any changes


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Open Queries Directly in SQL View

Last updated: 29 Oct 2023

This article describes a new feature which for the first time allows you to open any query directly to SQL View from the navigation pane, VBA code or a macro. This will be a huge time saver for developers who prefer to use SQL view rather than the query build editor (QBE).


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Outlook: Check Your Connection

Last updated: 4 May 2024

This short article explains how to fix an unusual message you may see in Outlook


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Reserved Errors - there is no message for this error

Last updated: 5 Sept 2023

This article discusses the unhelpful reserved error messages that you may occasionally see. The meaning is explained for several of these errors together with action you can take to help eliminate these in the future.


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Strikethrough Font in Access

Last updated: 1 Feb 2024

Access does not include a strikethrough option for text. This article explains how you can achieve the effect with a special strikethrough font.


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Suggested Improvements to IMEX Data Tasks

Last updated: 5 Dec 2023

The 'new-style' saved import/export data task specifications that were introduced in Access 2007 are stored as XML within the Access project. The wizard-based approach can be used for a wide variety of file types including spreadsheets & Access tables as well as text files. However, it also has major limitations. This article suggests making the import/export data tasks wizard more useful by allowing users to sort and edit existing saved data tasks.


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Tables Disappear In Relationships Window

Last updated: 12 Jun 2023

This article describes a curious bug affecting the relationships window in recent versions of Access such as 365. It also describes the workaround.
The bug was fixed in Access 365 version 2305 but is still present in all older versions.
There is also a new bug indirectly related to the fix


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The Curious Case of the Multi Row Tab Control

Last updated: 4 May 2023

When you have many tabs on a control, the Multi Row property may seem to be the solution, but it no longer works by default.

This article explains how to successfully use the Multi Row property of the Access tab control and suggests several alternatives


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The Power of Data

Last updated: 18 Nov 2022

A very neat graphic using lego bricks to show the differences between raw data and how it is presented


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The Strange Dotted Square 'Bug' - FIXED

Last updated: 29 Aug 2023

This article discusses a stange dotted square that sometimes appears when you click on certain areas of a form. It appears to be an empty context menu for unbound controls.

UPDATED 29/08/2023 with details of the fix! It WAS an empty context menu


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Two Font Display Bugs in Version 2309 - FIXED

Last updated: 6 Oct 2023

This article describes two font display bugs that first appeared in version 2309. These were both confirmed by the Access team and each was fixed within a month.


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Two New Access Features - Autumn 2024

Last updated: 10 May 2024

This article outlines two new features that have recently been added to the Access roadmap and are due for release Autumn 2024 - Monaco SQL Editor & Modern Chart Improvements.


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Two new Access Features now in the Beta Channel

Last updated: 7 June 2024

Early releases of two new Access features are now available to some users in the Beta Channel. The features are the new Monaco SQL editor and improvements to Modern Charts. Neither are fully complete and some bugs are inevitable at this stage


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Unblock downloaded files by removing the Mark of the Web

Last updated: 5 May 2023

This article explains the 'mark of the web' and how to remove it from downloaded files before use. It also covers possible issues you may observe in certain cases

Updated 5 May 2023 with additional information and details of changes made to the feature in recent months


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Undocumented SysCmd actions

Last updated: 24 Sept 2023

This article discusses all the documented SysCmd actions and several of the undocumented actions available in Access and how these can be used.


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Use Multiple Tags on Form Controls

Last updated: 28 Feb 2023

This article shows some simple ways of using multiple tags on form (or report) controls to change the appearance or state of the controls using code


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Using the Scroll Lock key in Excel

Last updated: 25 July 2022

The scroll lock key (ScrLk) is on most keyboards but its purpose isn't widely understood.
These days, most programs make no use of it but Excel is an exception.
This video shows how it can be useful in Excel and a work-round if your keyboard has no scroll lock key.


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VBE Option Statements

Last updated: 24 Nov 2023

This article outlines the various option statements that can be used at the start of code modules in the visual basic editor (VBE).


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Why Can't I Create an ACCDE file?

Last updated: 4 Sept 2022

This article explains several reasons why creating an ACCDE file may fail and how to troubleshoot the causes successfully


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Why does SSMA fail to import my tables?

Last updated: 8 July 2024

This article explains why the SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) may not detect all tables in an Access database. It also provides a workaround and a solution to this obscure issue


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Why Isladogs? Why Access?

Last updated: 11 Jan 2023

This article originated from material originally planned for an online video.
It explains the origins of the Isladogs name used for this website & a summary of my views on the future of Access


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Why Rushmore?

Last updated: 24 Dec 2022

This short article answers a question by one of my regular website readers.
Why is the query optimisation technology used by Access called Rushmore?


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You Can REALLY Do All That With Forms?

Last updated: 30 Apr 2024

This article provides a summary of various topics I covered in my presentation to the Access DevCon conference on 19 April 2024.
It also provides links to various articles, videos and example apps to accompany each topic.


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