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Mike Chapple

Cheap Database Software for Small Business?

By September 23, 2007

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In a recent forum posting, Karen wrote:

"I have a small business and I am interested in getting some database management software, specifically looking at Access. We have about 10 employees, but we don't have enough money to have everyone get a copy of the software for their computer. I am looking for a cost-effective way to have every employee be able to view and query the data, and it would be good if they could even change the data (like a wiki), but this is not necessary. Is it possible to do this with one version of Access by publishing dynamic web pages or by layering a wiki software over it? Or is there a cheaper database software that works well?"

Do you have any advice for Karen? Interested in answers to the same question? Join the discussion in our forum!
October 7, 2007 at 3:16 pm
(1) Kascadiac says:

Buy 1 copy of Access 2003. Create your Database. Download Open Office 2.3.0 (free), install and then query the Access database using Base, the included database software.

October 14, 2007 at 12:38 pm
(2) Darrell says:

MySQL is free.

July 28, 2008 at 6:43 pm
(3) Matt says:

Try Database Oasis

December 10, 2009 at 1:35 pm
(4) idcj says:

Have you tried LyteRAD its lightweight and you can build such custom applications with zero code, theres a free edition too. hhtp://www.lytecube.com/lyterad

(I know this is an old post, but if somebody stumbles on this make sure you check out what I said)

April 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm
(5) Philip Owen says:

IBM Lotus Approach (available as part of Smartsuite) is much cheaper than Microsoft Access. It is much easier to learn and apply but at least as powerful. It runs on Windows 7 and subscribers to IBM’s update service still get patches although I haven’t had one for years without problems.

May 1, 2011 at 10:08 am
(6) julie says:

Hi Philip, I was really interested to see your comments about Lotus Approach. I also have used it for years but have recently bought a new pc which runs on Windows 7 but unfortunately Smartsuite will not install on it. Do you have any more info on this? Many thanks.

May 1, 2011 at 9:31 pm
(7) Muhammed says:

Try the Inventory Based Accounting and Billing Software available for free download at http://www.icebergo.com

May 12, 2011 at 4:48 am
(8) Ksantosh says:

I can create a small software as per your requirment……
In Ms Access with MSQL and Proper logic We can make small database softwares….

April 4, 2012 at 10:03 am
(9) skydiver says:

You may also try Infoline custom database software.
It has both free and trial versions.

May 22, 2012 at 8:44 am
(10) Philip Owen says:


I know that there is a fix fr Windows 7 but I haven’t needed to use it because we are still running XP Pro. Try the IBM Smartsuite site for help. I remember some discussion there.

November 11, 2012 at 9:48 am
(11) Guid Esperoza says:

Try CentriQS. Looks like it should meet your requirements both in features and price:

March 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm
(12) Paul S says:

Re Lotus Smartsuite and Lotus Approach I’ve been a dedicated user for years as well. To install for Win7, browse the disk and right click “setup.exe”. Then “run as adminstrator” It says there are issues in WIn 7, but it has worked very well for me.

June 7, 2013 at 5:35 am
(13) Dan Whiteman says:

The open office suite is very good http://www.openoffice.org its basically a free version of Microsoft office. Owned by Oracle these days I believe.

If you need any CRM/Business data cleaning up then maybe we can help too http://www.oblonguk.com

Hope that is useful.

February 24, 2014 at 12:05 pm
(14) Stu says:

Lotus Approach opens for me on Windows 7 Ultimate after using it on my Computer with XP Pro. My problem is that I have used a great program I bought for about £27 called Toplevel – Complete Works which frankly is a lot simpler and quicker than Approach and was introduced back in 1996. I’ve run it on ’98, Millenium and XP Pro but I CANT run it on windows 7 Ultimate as its a 32 bit program. I have downloaded Virtual XP Pro onto my other Computer but its slow to load and switching between it and Approach is just hopeless. BTW I have Openoffice but it wont open DBase as it says Java is not installed and despite repeatedly uninstalling and re-installing it just wont run the Database on 7 Ultimate. Regret XP Pro is shortly to die without windows support.

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