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Access Open Programs Seminar

Open External Files and Web Pages in Access

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This seminar will teach you how to open other programs, documents, and custom web page addresses from inside your Microsoft Access databases. Have you ever wanted to build a database to store an unlimited number of documents or other file attachments with each record?

Perhaps you'd like to double-click on any of those files and have them automatically open up in the appropriate program? Open a Word document representing the employee's resume, or automatically have an Excel spreadsheet open up for the client's purchase order. Perhaps you'd like to click on a button next to the customer's address and have your web browser open up directly to that address into Google Maps?


Main Seminar Goals

  • How to display external images in Access Forms
  • Allow unlimited external attachments per customer
  • Use the Shell function to open files of known type
  • How to determine which application to open
  • Use ShellExecute to open w Windows default app
  • Open a Web page to a custom URL in default browser
  • Load Google Maps to a Specific Address

Topics Covered

We'll start out by building the sample database we'll use in class. This will be a simple customer table, with a related (one-to-many) table to store an unlimited number of attachments per customer. We'll create a centralized Attachments folder and we'll copy some sample files there. You'll learn how to display an external image on a form.

unlimited file attachments per customer


Next you will learn how to double-click on those attachment filenames and have them open up in the program you specify using an event with a little bit of VBA code and the SHELL function. You will learn how to determine what program to use to open the file (TXT files in Notepad, DOCX files in Word, etc.)

SHELL function access


It's nice to be able to specifically control which program you want to open a specific type of file, but sometimes you want Access to just use the default program that's installed in Windows. This is called the "default handler" for that file type. You may not know if they have Adobe Acrobat installed for PDF files, so in that case Windows might open them in Word. In the next lesson we'll learn about the ShellExecute function which can deal with this scenario.

shellexecute function shellexec


Next we'll build a button that we can click on to open the customer's address up directly in Google Maps. This will involve creating a custom URL and launching the default browser. You'll also see how you can open Windows Explorer to browse folders, and how to use a mailto link to send email.

open google maps to customer location


Finally we'll learn some advanced features about the ShellExec subroutine we build in class. We'll see how to set up error handling for when a file cannot be opened, learn about public and private constants, and learn about different arguments for ShellExec like "OPEN" and "PRINT".

If you want to be able to work with external files and programs with Access, this is the perfect seminar for you. You will learn everything mentioned above. You will have access to the full database that we build in class with all of these features. If you have any question whether this seminar is right for you, please feel free to contact me.


It is strongly recommended that you have completed my entire Access Beginner and at least the first three lessons in my Expert series.


I am using Access 2013 in this seminar, however the lessons are perfectly valid for all versions of Access with a few minor addendums that I have noted on the Lessons Page.

Enroll Today

Enroll now so that you can watch these lessons, learn with us, post questions, and more.


Please feel free to post your questions or comments below. If you are not sure as to whether or not this product will meet your needs, I'd rather help you before you buy it. Remember, all sales are final. Thank you.


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Copyright 2024 by Computer Learning Zone, Amicron, and Richard Rost. All Rights Reserved. Current Time: 5/18/2024 3:31:12 AM. PLT: 1s
Keywords: access seminar open other programs, shell, shellexec, shellexecute, launch exe, open pdf, open word doc, open excel, open web page, open web browser, open google maps, show customer on map, database, microsoft access, access tutorial  Page Tag: whatsnew  PermaLink  Microsoft Access Open Programs Seminar