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Evil Access Stuff
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on Twitter Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost   3 months ago

I'm trying to come up with a list of all of the evil stuff in Access that I have to continuously tell people NOT to do. Help me out here guys. You should never use:

  • Spaces in your Object names (tables, fields, etc.) Say "OrderDetailT" not "Order Detail Table"
  • Reserved words (Date, Name, etc.)
  • Split Forms (I've seen several times where VBA code that works on a single form stops working on a split form)
  • Attachment Data Type (NEVER store attachments inside your database. See ABCD Part 5). Super Evil.
  • OLE Objects or Pictures stored inside the database (see Images).
  • Multi-Valued Fields (TechHelp video coming up on this one soon). Super Evil.
  • Hyperlink Fields. Use Short Text instead.
  • Google Drive (or DropBox, etc.) to share an Access database. See this page if you want remote access
  • A single shared database file on a network with multiple users opening it (Split your DB)
  • AutoNumbers as numbers YOU care about. They're for Access' internal use ONLY! Don't worry if they're out of sequence or you're missing some. If you need sequential numbers, use a custom counter.
  • Switchboards. Make your own Menu Forms.
  • Calculated fields in tables. Use calculated query fields instead. Tables shouldn't contain calculations.
  • Lookup values in tables. Use relational combo boxes on forms instead.

These things are frowned upon:

  • SendKeys
  • Plurals in your object names. Try to be consistent even if it doesn't sound right. CustomerT not CustomersT.
  • Not commenting your code!
  • Not naming all of your objects like command buttons (I'm guilty of this)
  • Not backing up your database nightly!
  • Not backing up offsite!
  • Not backing up before a major code revision (don't lose a whole day's work)
  • Third-party add-ons and references. Use internal Access objects if possible, or at least objects that come with Office.
  • ActiveX Objects - unreliable
  • Navigation Forms - use a Main Menu form, or my subform technique in ABCD Part 2
  • Tab Controls. I just don't like them. They're a pain to use.
  • From @NoLongerSet - Overuse of DoCmd.SetWarnings False and On Error Resume Next - my reply: Yeah... I pretty much only use SetWarnings around a RunSQL command (and even then I try to use db.Execute if possible). Resume Next is lazy error handling, but sometimes I like it if I don't feel like doing something the LONG way. LOL.

Be careful of this stuff:

  • Adding VBA references to outside libraries. Version numbers and DLLs can change in future Office editions.

What can you think of? I know I've mentioned a lot of things in my 20+ years of teaching Access classes. But you know me... old brain can't rememeber it all...

 

Navigation Form Upload Images   Link 
Scott Axton 
3 months ago
Stay away from the Navigation Form.
A  much better option is to roll your own ala ABCD Core Part 2
Richard Rost
3 months ago
Agreed. Or at least use a Main Menu form.
Add a Reply
Office Version Refs Upload Images   Link 
Alex Hedley 
3 months ago
Say you pull in Outlook 2010 to do some VBA Automation then you share it with a colleague and they have Office 2016 there could be issues.
There are some checks you can do but it gets tricky
Richard Rost
3 months ago
Yeah, this is more of a "be careful about" list. I'll add it. I prefer late-binding myself, but you lose IntelliSense.
Add a Reply
Switchboard Upload Images   Link 
Alex Hedley 
3 months ago
Create and use a switchboard
Anna Lad
3 months ago
So it's better to use your own menu form that you make, instead of a special "switchboard tool" invented by microsoft?
Alex Hedley
3 months ago
Yes because you don't have as much flexibility or control
Add a Reply
ActiveX Controls Upload Images   Link 
Edwards Christopher 
3 months ago
I try to avoid activeX controls in my forms. They are cool and all but sometimes stop working.
Alex Hedley
3 months ago
e.g. Calendar Control
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Backup Often Upload Images   Link 
Scott Axton 
3 months ago
In addition to backing up nightly -
Backup before making any major code revisions OR performing updates that make significant changes to the db. I've had code that works perfectly all of the sudden glitch and corrupt my db. Read More...
Add a Reply
Autonumbers Upload Images   Link 
Adam Schwanz 
3 months ago
Autonumbers being used is a hot topic lately it seems like
Richard Rost
3 months ago
Indeed
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