Microsoft Office Access is a software application that enables you to create databases to store various kinds of information. Microsoft presents Access as an easy-to-use package, which enables you to use its features -- regardless of your level of database expertise.
Companies and individuals use computer databases in a wide range of scenarios to store data electronically. For example, companies often use one or more databases to store details of their customers, assets or projects. Clubs and societies may use a database to maintain membership records; individuals may use a database to keep records of their music or movie collection. Microsoft Access is a suitable product for all these purposes, and provides a customizable alternative to other types of database software, such as industry-specific products and the bespoke database systems offered by software developers.
Access provides you with access to a large range of pre-designed database templates, which you can freely download from the Office Online service. By choosing a pre-existing template suitable for the data you need to store, you can save the time required to design a database from scratch, and quickly begin to populate the database with your information. If necessary, you can customize an existing template to your exact requirements, or use the features of Access to create a new database design, with information fields, data forms and reports -- all meeting your precise requirements.
Access includes a rich set of features, which allows you to customize your database's functionality to suit the way you work. Integration features allow Access to pull data from a range of other sources, including Excel spreadsheets, Outlook emails and other databases. Advanced users can use macros and Visual Basic coding to finely control functionality and automate database tasks. Access provides functionality to integrate with Microsoft's SharePoint Server, allowing you to publish your databases online and make them accessible via a Web browser.
Microsoft Office Access is available for purchase as a standalone product or as part of the Microsoft Office software suite. Microsoft frequently releases new versions of both Access and the Office suite. As of April 2011, Microsoft Office Access 2010 is the most up-to-date version available; it is included in the Professional version of Microsoft Office 2010.
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