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Home > TechHelp > Directory > Access > ACCDT Template < Hide Access 2 | Application Parts >
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Richard Rost             
3 months ago
Today we're going to talk about how to create an ACCDT template so that you can easily distribute and share your Microsoft Access database. I'm going to put this one down as an expert-level video, which is between beginner and developer. It's a little bit past the stage of what beginners might need to do, but we're not going to need any VBA programming today. So as long as you've got a little bit of Access under your belt, you'll be fine with this one.

Today's question comes from Cedric in Bellevue, Nebraska, one of my Platinum members. Cedric says, "I watched your videos on creating default templates for both Word and Excel. Can you do something similar with Microsoft Access?" Well, kind of yes and kind of no. Let me explain.

So, what Cedric is talking about, if you haven't seen them, two days ago I did a video on creating default templates for Microsoft Word. And so this is so you can set your font, your margins, your font size, all those little things, so every time you create a new Word document, you don't have to keep resetting all that stuff. Right, like the new Calibri font that was just added to Office as the default, and a lot of people don't like it. So I can show you how you can go back to Times New Roman or Courier, or whatever other font you want. So, watch that video if you want to learn more about that.

And then of course yesterday's video was doing the same thing with Excel, which is a little more involved but not difficult. So again, you can have a default document or default workbook for Word and Excel. There's no like, "this will always be your default setting." But what you can do is you can set up templates that have all of your preferred default settings in them, and then those can be used for creating new databases.

Now personally, for me, I never really go through the hassle of setting up an actual template in Access, you know, that's an ACCDT file. I just make a normal database, right, a .MDB file that's got, you know, all the things that I like to put in new databases that I create, the same objects that I use, a main menu, most databases have a customer form, a customer list, whatever VBA code you like to have in any database that you make, put that in a global module. And I just make a regular normal Access database file and then I'll just copy and paste it and work off of that. That's what I do. I've been doing it for 30 years. It works fine for me.

And besides, with Access, unless you're someone like me where I'm teaching and I'm, you know, like every day I'm making a new database to show you guys something different. It's rare to create new databases, whereas with Word and Excel, you might be creating lots of new documents or lots of new spreadsheets every day for this or that or whatever. Access isn't usually like that. Usually, you set up your database once and then you work with it for a while, and you don't make another new one that often, unless you're a developer and doing it for clients and that kind of stuff. So the real need to make templates isn't quite there for Access like it is for Word and Excel.

Now, I did have a situation a few years back where I helped an accountant build a database. Well, I basically built a database with his direction for what he wanted. That's the beauty of Access. You can customize it however you want. And he wanted to set up a database that he could then share with his client that he was doing taxes for or whatever. He wanted to make a template so that he could fill in the customer's information, put all of their data in that database. Then the next time he got a client, he'd create a new database, and he wanted a template so he could easily do that. Of course, I tried talking him out of doing that. I said it's much, much easier from a development standpoint to put all of your clients together in the same database. Then, if you just want to peel off their information, we could export them, you know, Excel spreadsheets or whatever. He's like, "no, no, no, no, no. He's like, no, this is how I want to do it." I argued. I lost because at the end of the day, the client is right when it comes to what they want. It might not be the best thing developmentally, but okay, I let him win.

So I set him up with a template so he could just open up Access, pick the template, and then he'd get a new blank database that he could then just populate with that client's information. And then he can send that database to them when they wanted to see a copy of their records. Of course, once you've got 20, 30 of those databases, and you want to make a design change to a form, then you've got to copy that form to all of those. That's what I tried to tell him in the first place, and he didn't listen to me. But okay.

But anyways, there are some instances where you might want to be able to use templates like this. Also, if you want to be able to share your database with other people. And I'm finally happy, by the way, that ChatGPT finally is getting the right number of fingers on images. And is it just me, or does that guy kind of look like Jeff Goldblum, like a young Jeff Goldblum, like Jurassic Park Jeff Goldblum, or maybe Independence Day? I don't know. Doesn't have quite the same hair, though. Yes, no, maybe? A little bit? I don't know. Okay. Anyways.

Alright. So let's say you've got a database that you want to be able to share or make a template out of. So here's my basic TechHelp free template. This is a free database. You can grab a copy of this off my website if you really want to. Let's open this sucker up.

Now take out anything that you don't want in here that you don't want to be able to share or have in your template. I'm just going to leave it as it is. Don't worry about taking the data out of it because when you create the template file, there's an option to either include the data that's in here or not. If you get a situation where you need some helper data table like you get a list of states in here or name prefixes or that, you want that, then you have to manually delete the stuff out of the tables that you don't want shared, so you have to delete your customers and orders and stuff like that. It is an all-or-nothing proposition.

Alright, so we're going to take this and we're going to save it as a template file. Save as. Right there. Template. ACCDT. Save as. This guy comes up. What do you want to call it? Let's call it RICS Test TechHelp Template ACCDT thingy. Whatever you want to call it. That's what's going to show up in your template list. You want a description in here? Whatever. Tell people about your template. Right? Okay. Category. You can set up different categories if you want to. There's one default one, user templates. Just leave it in there. That's fine. Icon. If you want to give it a custom icon, click this little guy right there. Browse to wherever your icons are. Pick what you want. Hit open. There it goes. That's what you'll see in the template listing. If you want a preview of it, a more in-depth image that shows up in like the template store, again, browse for it right there. Pick your image. Okay, there it is.

Alright, now primary table, this is if you're doing something called Application Parts. We'll talk about those in tomorrow's video. And the instantiation form is the form to open by default in databases created by the template. Tell it if you want to start up for a, if you want to have a custom form of instructions pop up, you can pick one of your forms in here. I'm not going to bother with that right now. They have a main menu that will open. You could put instructions on that if you really want to.

Alright, here's the option to include all data in the package. If you don't check this, by default, you'll get no data. It will empty out all of your tables. Okay, I'm going to turn that off so we get an empty database. And then we'll hit okay.

There are options here for sharing your template with the community where you can submit it to be, you know, in the Microsoft store or whatever they've got. I honestly have never done this, so I don't know much about it. Google it. If enough of you are curious, let me know. I'll do some research and figure out what's involved there. I actually have a couple of templates myself. I've been thinking about submitting. So this might be something I'm going to look into in the future. Anyways, if you guys know anything about this, post some comments down below. Teach me. Tell me some stuff. Alright. Hit okay.

Alright. The template's been created, and it doesn't give you an option of where you want to put it. It puts it here. See users and so it's in your user AppData Roaming Microsoft Templates Access folder. So if you want to share this with other people, you've got to go find that folder. Which is kind of a pain. They should say, "Hey, where do you want to put it?" But this is the place that Access looks for your templates. I'll show you in just a second.

Alright, there it took me an hour off camera to navigate to C:\\Users\\Amicron\\Divided\\Why Microsoft Why? Why do you bury it like that? I was aside for a minute. I'll come back to that. I had... Okay, we're done with this. Kind. Close it. That's your original database.

Now we're just going to open up Access. Don't open this guy, just open up Access by the Access logo. Open up. There we go. You see some of the templates I was playing with earlier. Here ignore these, uh... but go over here to more templates. Or "Template," and play with the Northwind databases. By the by, now the play of the spring called the video on his well back. More templates'you still don't see your template. Click on Personal. There you go. And yes, what happened when I set this up for my accountant client? Actually, put his picture on the template'he loved it, though. He thought it was awesome.

Alright, click on that. There you go. Now, pick where you want it to go. By default, it's going to go in your User Documents folder. I'm just going to drop it on my desktop. So click here. Browse to where you want it to go. I'll go to the desktop, give it a good name, New Accounting DB, or whatever. It's going to create an .ACCDB file out of that template. Hit okay. And then hit Create. It's going to do its thing, it's preparing a template.

And there you go. You have a blank database at that location. In fact, let me see, oh, there it is on my desktop. Let me bring it up. It was on my other monitor. Okay. And you'll notice all your tables are empty. See? Okay, so I can close that. I got a brand new copy of the database, and again, it moved it. I've got two monitors on my desk, and of course, every time I change is made to one of those databases, it snaps back down on my primary monitor. I hate that.

Now the reason why I browse to this guy was because if you want to send this to your customers, for example, so they can make brand new blank databases off of your template, you can zip this up and send it to them. If they have Access, they can open it'just make sure to tell them that they need to run it from a trusted folder, a trusted location. Alright, if you need to know about that, I got a video for that too, of course. I got videos for everything, right?

And of course, if you want to learn more about Access, come to my website. Check it out. I got Access lessons for all levels'beginner, expert, advanced'advanced covers macros and stuff, developer lessons. I got all kinds of seminars and templates, and you name it, I got it. So if you want to learn Access, you've found the right guy. If you like my style, come on down. You're the next contestant, all that good stuff.

So, that's going to be your TechHelp video for today. Tomorrow, we're going to talk about Application Parts, and that's where, instead of a whole database, let's say you've got just certain objects that you want to be able to include in new databases. So let's say your customer stuff, the customer table, the customer forms, any queries that are related, any reports that are related, you can create what's called an application part, which is a bundle of those things. So if you do build a new database, and then you're like, "Oh, you know what? I kind of need my customer stuff." You can just pick the part, and it drops those things into your database instead of having to do it manually all the time. So we'll talk about that tomorrow. But again, that's your TechHelp video for today. I hope you learned something, my friends. Live long and prosper. I'll see you tomorrow.
Richard Rost             
3 months ago
Creating ACCDT templates in Microsoft Access
Understanding default templates in Word and Excel
Differences between Access and Word/Excel template needs
Reasons to use templates in Access databases
Steps to create and use a normal database as a template
How to distribute Access databases to clients
Exporting client information from a collective database
Saving an Access database as an ACCDT template
Setting up template details and descriptions
Choosing a template icon and preview image
Understanding Application Parts (to be covered in the next video)
Defining the instantiation form in ACCDT templates
Option to include or exclude data in ACCDT package
Navigating to the template storage folder (users' AppData)
Opening and creating a new database from a template
Ensuring recently created databases are empty
Sharing a template with clients
Zipping and sending ACCDT files to others
Running databases from trusted locations in Access
Brief mention of tomorrow's topic on Access Application Parts

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