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Acess or Excel, which one to use for my project?

Discussion in 'Business Applications' started by sarainelkins, Feb 15, 2007.

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  1. sarainelkins

    sarainelkins Thread Starter

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    I need to create a database with lots of names and addresses plus various fields that I can select to use or not to use when I want to print out labels or create reports based on the fields that are pertinent to each particular project. I see that MS Excel and MS Access BOTH will allow me to create a maintain a database like I need to creat. WHICH ONE should I use to do this project? I have both Acces and Excel on my computer and have never used either one. I do want to upgrade from Office 2000 which I have now to Office 2003 (NOT 2007) if that matters as far as selecting the software program that I should use to do this project. THANKS for pointing me in the right direction and why. Sara
     
  2. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

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    If you're only going to store names and addresses and print labels, why not stick to something already created such as Outlook?
     
  3. sarainelkins

    sarainelkins Thread Starter

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    Some of the database records we have to start with are in either Excel or Access right now. I don't want to confuse the process any more by suggesting that we add one more piece of software to the puzzle we're trying to put back together once and for all. I have no experience using Outlook nor Access or Excel, but from the quick look I did online at the MS website it certainly APPEARS to me that both Access and Excel do the same things. Could somebody tell me what differences there are in these two programs as far as setting up and printing labels, letters, etc.? Thanks. Sara
     
  4. OBP

    OBP Trusted Advisor

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    Sara, Excel is a "Calculating and Graphing" program that also does simple and easy Databases very quickly. It is great for doing the simple stuff in databases.
    Access is a Database Program that also does Claculating and Graphing, it is initially slightly harder to get your head around but is much better at inputting, manipulating and controlling Data.
    So the decision you have to make is based on how you need to "Control" the data's Input and Output.
    If you just need to throw lots of names and addresses in to a table and print out simple reports etc then use Excel.
    If you want to be able to control the data input by giving users "lists" to select from, formatted data inputs etc and be able to select quite a few different output "Criteria" and Reports then use Access everytime.
    I am not saying it can't be done in Excel, because it can, but it gets to be very hard work, whereas Access is designed to do that.
    Any data that is currently held in Access or Excel can be "Imported" in to your new Access database.
    Finally, and this should be the deciding factor, I offer free to either build you an Access, (or Excel but I am not quite so good at Excel), database for you or help you create it.
    What you need to be clear on is what you NEED, WOULD LIKE and DREAM of getting out of the database.
    You do the Need part first, which controls how the data gets put in and stored.
    Then you do the things that you would "like" it to do.
    Then you do the things you and the other users wish and dream it could do after you find out what Access can do.
     
  5. sarainelkins

    sarainelkins Thread Starter

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    Dear OBP

    Out of all the people who have responded to my question about differences in the MS products, your answer is the best. You win a chocolate easter bunny for your effort! You gave me a lot of information without slamming me for asking, or insisting that I just choose the one that you best like yourself (many folks did that) and I can't compliment you enough for helping a newbie in such a clear and consise manner. :) (y)
     
  6. OBP

    OBP Trusted Advisor

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    saraine, thank you very much for the compliment.
    I hope it has enabled you to choose wisely.
    If you need any help with the actual project just let us know.
     
  7. pcxt2007

    pcxt2007

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    I suggest you initially use Excel . It might be easier for you to use this application. Once you are skillful in manipulating databases using database applications you can shift to ACCESS. The key is you have to come up with a good database structure for your records.
     
  8. Wolfeymole

    Wolfeymole

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    Use Access, end of story.
     
  9. MallardVHS

    MallardVHS

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    Sara, this is a bit redundant, but I have to agree with OBP. USE ACCESS. From the description of your needs, this is the best application to use. Yes, it is significantly more difficult to learn than Excel, but it is also best suited to your needs. Best of luck!

    Tim
     
  10. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

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    Using Access caries a risk that hasn't been discussed.

    Access is a complex database program. Generally, Access databases only work on the version on which they were created. For example, if you create the database in Access 2000, you can't use it on a computer with Access XP or Access 2003. This means if multiple people need to use it, everyone must have the same version installed. If a computer is reinstalled, the disks either must be available or re-purchased.

    If the database is updated to a newer version of Access (which may or may not be difficult and require other changes to the database), all computers that use it, must also upgrade to the new version of Access.

    Excel is much more flexible. Data stored in spreadsheets can usually be easily converted from one version of Excel to another unless advanced calculation or formatting features are used.

    Access may be an easy or practical solution right now. But you will likely run into problems in the future given the incompatibility problems between versions of the application.
     
  11. escalader

    escalader

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    The warning about Access is real! It is a relational database program! One of the most advanced concepts in computing. You say you are a novice, the choice is excel.

    Much more help around and easy to use. Go first to 2003 version for all the latest fixes.

    One hint, create a small sheet first with say 6 or so lines, and then learn with that. Remeber to set up the automatic backups so you can recover if you make an error!
     
  12. OBP

    OBP Trusted Advisor

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    DoubleHelix, I don't know where you get your "facts" from but you only have it half right. All versions after Access 2000 can use a a database created using Access 2000 or a later version. They are all backwards capable.
    You are correct that those created in later versions cannot be used by earlier versions, BUT they have they capability to create the Database in Access 2000, which still blows Excel away for real database work.
    The only Access version that is a real problem is Access 97 because it stored it's data completely differently, but again an Access 2000 or later database can convert an Access 97 database and reconvert it back to Access 97.

    I only have Access XP (2002) but I regurlarly work in both 97 and 2000 when I help posters with their problems on the this and the VBAX forum.
     
  13. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

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    OBP, That's quite a complicated procedure for the average user to keep straight. While Access 2000 databases may be more compatible with other versions, someone using Access 2003 has to consciously remember to create an Access 2000 database and then tell all the other users not to click that little magical option to convert it when they open it.

    I've seen this happen many times.

    I don't claim to know it all when it comes to Access, but I do have some experience with serious incompatibility issues that have crippled entire departments of large companies. I think you can offer your advice without coming across the way you do.
     
  14. MallardVHS

    MallardVHS

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    Hi Double Helix,

    You make valid points. I actually prefer Excel to Access whenever possible - it is easier to use, more help is available (in my opinion), it's flexible, and it's exportable to Access if you change your mind.

    In deciding between the two apps, I always look at structure. Access, in my very humble opinion, is optimal whan a user has a small set of static data and a larger set of dynamic data. Form and Subform, in Access. In Excel, this setup results in a lot of blank cells and underused columns.

    In re-reading the OP
    I realize that we may not know quite enough about Sara's situation.

    I'm no wizard, so everyone should consider my thoughts as "two cents from a guy with a penny." :)

    Tim
     
  15. RootbeaR

    RootbeaR

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    You already have an example ready to go in each program. Why not try doing what you want to do using each? The one you are most comfortable with using/learning, use.
     
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