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Download FREE courseware handouts. These documents are ideal for teachers, students and anyone wanting to learn more about their Microsoft Office programs. Each handout covers a specific topic and is illustrated with full-colour screenshots. Many have accompanying sample files. The files are not restricted in any way so you can print copies or read them on-screen.
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Are you looking for Microsoft Office training for yourself, your colleagues or your staff? If you like what you see here you can get personal training from me. Find out more on my Training Page.

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Do you need someone to build you an Access database or an application in Excel? Or perhaps you are just looking for help and advice. I can help. Find out about my development and consultancy services on my Consultancy Page.

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New Access Forms Masterclass
#6 A Push-Button Filter for Your Access Forms

[5 October 2018]

When building a database the task I enjoy most is creating the user interface, what used to be called the UI until Microsoft coined the term UX or User Experience. Good and thoughtful work here can not only help maintain the integrity of your data, avoiding user errors and preventing junk from getting in, but it can also go a long way to create user satisfaction. My aim is always to ensure my users have a good day and enjoy working on my databases. Tools that are awkward and frustrating to use just end up annoying and frustrating their users. I want the tools I create to be intuitive and, above all, useful. You can add as many bells-and-whistles as you want but unless they make sense to the user they might as well not be there.

The topics I have included in my series of Access Forms Masterclasses are all drawn from my personal experience of over 20 years of building Access databases for my business clients. Many of them are included in all the databases I create. In my latest Masterclass I show you how to build a simple Push-Button Filter. The idea isn't my own, in fact it was one of the things that inspired me to get "under the hood" and start being creative with Access 2 way back in the mists of time. I wish I could remember where I read it or the author's name but much thanks to them anyway. The original tutorial used Access Macros but I have made use of VBA, taking advantage of the added flexibility and creativity that this offers.

As usual, the Masterclass includes step-by-step instructions, plenty of screenshots and code that you can copy and paste into your own project and, most importantly, explanations of how everything works.

Build a Back-End Link Checker for Your Access Database

[30 September 2018]

It wasn't until I started building databases for other people (way back in the mists of time!) that I began to realize the benefits of splitting a database. With a split database you have two database files: the back-end file containing the tables, and the front-end file containing everything else. A single copy of the back-end file is located in a shared location and each user can have their own (tailored if appropriate) copy of the front-end file. The benefits of splitting a database are many but for the developer perhaps the most useful is the ability to implement updates, improvements and bug-fixes simply by supplying the client with a new copy of the front-end.

All the users have to do is reconnect the new front-end with their existing back-end file... and that's where the problems arise. Do the users know how to link the files? Can they be trusted to do it correctly and, anyway, it it fair to ask them to perform this task? Is is going to require a site visit from the developer to install the new front-ends and link them? To solve this I built a tool that seamlessly checks the links to the back-end file each time the front-end is opened. If the link to the back end is broken all the user has to do is specify where the back-end file is located. Even if it does require a site visit from you, of if the client's IT guy has to do it, the process only takes a moment. Once linked the job doesn't have to be repeated unless a new front-end file is required or if the path from front-end to back-end is changed. If the back-end can't be located the tool will let the user know and offer to fix it.

I incorporate this tool in all my split databases and now you can do the same thanks to my latest tutorial Build a Back-End Link Checker for Your Access Database. If you aren't familiar with splitting and re-connecting databases I have included a section describing how to split a database and how manual re-linking is performed. There is a fully working sample database to download plus a print-friendly copy of the tutorial in PDF format.

Handling Errors in Your Access Database
#2 Add an Error Log to Your Database

[25 September 2018]

Hopefully, should an error occur in your database, whether anticipated or not, the user will note the details and report it so that action can be taken to rectify the problem. Unfortunately, this seldom happens. Usually there is a message like “the database keeps crashing” or “I keep getting an error message”. More savvy users will note the details or even take a screenshot of the error message, which is very helpful, but diagnosing the problem will often require more information. Additional information would be helpful, such as: Does this only happen to a particular user? Has it happened before and if so how often? Does it always happen on the same computer? What was the user doing at the time? To answer some of these questions and to make the reporting of errors easier, I always include an Error Log in my databases. I have even discovered that users have failed to report an error, later saying something like “Oh yes, it does that…” as if they expected things to go wrong occasionally when, had I known about the problem, I could have fixed it.

The solution is to create a system to record as much information as possible when an error occurs. My Error Log does exactly that, and includes additional reporting features such as the facility to email you a copy of the error log. My latest tutorial Add an Error Log to Your Database tells you everything you need to know and shows you how to do it.

Handling Errors in Your Access Database
#1 Errors 101

[20 September 2018]

Nobody writes perfect code. The aim of every developer is to write code that is "bulletproof" but it's so easy to leave something out, make a mistake, or simply get it wrong. We try to anticipate every unexpected, irrational or simply crazy thing the user might do and we test our code rigorously before releasing it to the world. But unfortunately, despite our best efforts, errors happen. That's when Error Handling comes to the rescue. Good error handling can stop an error from becoming a crisis or worse, a disaster! When your code hits a bump in the road a well-written error handler can help it safely come to a halt. I am frequently surprised, even horrified, to see code written by professional developers (well, folks who take money for it) that either lacks any sort of error handler or simply relies on a cursory On Error Resume Next to deal with whatever might happen. My latest tutorial Handling Errors in Your Access Database #1 Errors 101 tells you what you need to know about adding safe, secure error handling to your Access databases. If you work with macros in Excel, Word or any of the multitude of Microsoft applications that can be programmed with VBA then much of what you will see in this tutorial will be relevant to these programs too.

Coming Soon: Handling Errors in Your Access Database #2 Build an Error Log for Your Access Database.

New Access Forms Masterclass
#5 Dynamic Form Titles

[13 September 2018]

Most Access forms need some sort of title. The title can simply tell the user what the form is for but it can also provide a quick and easily visible reminder of which record is currently being displayed. In this Masterclass I lead you through the steps of creating a Dynamic Title for your form, one that changes automatically as you move from record to record, and automatically updates when certain data on the form is changed. A title should be both visually appealing and useful. My Masterclass chows you how to add a Dynamic Form Title that fulfills both those aims. It is very easy to create and in the process of building it you can learn a little VBA code. Check it out at Access Forms Masterclass #5: Dynamic Form Title.

New Access Forms Masterclass
#4 A Pop-Up Search Tool

[10 September 2018]

In this Masterclass I'm sharing with you a tool that I have included in many of the databases I have built, A Pop-Up Search Tool for your Access Forms. It's my most ambitious tutorial so far and, although not particularly complex, involves quite a lot of work, building the pop-up dialog box and creating the VBA code that powers it. If you are experienced in building Access forms you'll find it a breeze. But don't worry if you are a novice at form building or VBA coding because my Masterclass leads you through all the steps with lots of illustrations and code that you can copy and paste into your own project. There's a sample file to download containing a completed example of the Masterclass plus the entire tutorial in printable PDF format. Head over to the Masterclasses section of myAccess Tips homepage where you can check out this and all my other Access Forms Masterclasses.

Access Tutorial Updates

[21 August 2018]

There have been substantial changes in Microsoft Office since I started writing my online tutorials so I have decided it's about time I brought some of them up-to-date. It will take a while to check the text for compatibility with the latest versions and re-take all the screenshots. I have just published the first updated Access VBA tutorial, Customizing Access Parameter Queries, ready for Access 2016 (365) and suitable for all versions of Access from 2007 onwards. It's a great introduction to Access VBA if you have never tried it before with all the steps explained and lots of screenshots so you can be sure exactly what to do. You can also download a ready-made example and a printable copy of the tutorial in PDF format.

If you are new to Access and don't know about Parameter Queries take a moment to check out my newly updated tutorial Using Parameter Queries. You'll wonder how you ever managed without them!

New Resources Page

[16 April 2018]

Those of you who have been fortunate enough to attend one of my training courses will know that I have scant regard for many of the handbooks supplied by training companies. These weighty tomes usually end up on the shelf and gather dust until they are eventually thrown away unread. Instead I prefer to write my own documantation which is well illustrated and easy to read. The examples in my handouts will often be the same as you will have done in class but if you haven't been to one of my classes, or would just like to run through some of the exercises again, many are accompanied by sample files.

All my handouts are free for anyone to download. They are all in PDF format and are fully printable with no restrictions. You can find them on my new Training Resources Page. As I write this the content is mostly Excel and VBA but I will be adding more as they become available so stop by regularly for the latest content.

I'm Back!

[25 July 2017]

A lot has happened since I last updated this site. Poor health and life in general has got in the way of things and I have neglected to keep my Office Tips web site the vibrant and exciting place it used to be. I've decided that it's time I did something about it so I am embarking on a major update of the site. Tutorials will be brought up-to-date and lots of new ones are on the way and I am finally writing my long promised eBook on VBA UserForms. Watch this space for further announcements.


[25 July 2017]

Until now my existing eBooks on The Visual Basic Editor, VBA Message and Input Boxes, and Recording Excel Macros have been available for purchase. From today all of these ebooks are totally FREE for you to download. Each PDF is unrestricted so you can copy and paste content and print out as many copies as you like. No strings! Just follow the links above or go to my eBooks page and follow the download links.

Why free? I belong to a generation that remembers life before the Internet. So many people enjoy its benefits but never make any contribution themselves. I decided it was time for me to give something back.

If you would like to say thanks and make a small donation to help support this site please click the PayPal Donate button below. You can donate any amount in any currency you choose. It's easy and only takes a moment. Thank you.

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What's New?

New Access Forms Masterclass
A Push-Button Filter for Your Access Forms

New Access Tutorial
Build a Back-End Link Checker for Your Access Database

New Access Tutorial
Handling Errors in Your Access Database
#2 Add an Error Log to Your Database

New Access Tutorial
Handling Errors in Your Access Database
#1 Errors 101

New Access Forms Masterclass
Create Dynamic Titles for Your Forms

New Access Forms Masterclass
A Pop-Up Search Tool for your Access Forms

25 September 2018

Martin Green's eBooks

All my eBooks are now FREE!
Do you want to learn more about Access, Excel and VBA? Are you a teacher looking for top quality courseware for your students? My eBooks are the ideal solution to your needs. They are packed with code snippets, illustrations and step-by-step exercises. Written in the same style as my popular on-line tutorials, my eBooks will help you develop your skills and build useful, professional looking applications. Find out more at my eBooks page.

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