By this point, you've learned the major concepts that comprise the core of Microsoft Access. In this final segment, we'll look at three features that greatly enhance the usability and flexibility of this database platform: reports, web integration and SQL Server integration.
Reports provide the capability to quickly produce attractively formatted summaries of the data contained in one or more tables and/or queries. Through the use of wizards, database users can create reports in literally a matter of minutes. As an example, let's return to our Northwind database. In this case, suppose that our company wishes to produce a catalog to share our product information with current and prospective clients. In previous sections, we learned that this sort of information could be retrieved from our database through the judicious use of queries. However, recall that this information was presented in a tabular form -- not exactly the most attractive marketing material! Reports allow the inclusion of graphics, attractive formatting and pagination. Take a look at the sample report in the illustration below:
Microsoft Access also provides native support for the World Wide Web. Posting data to the web is a breeze. If you have a formatted report that you would like to share with Internet or Intranet users, you can simply export it to an HTML file and publish it to your organization's web server. For those with more complex tastes, the advanced features of Access 2000 provide interactive data manipulation capabilities to web users.
Finally, no discussion of Microsoft Access is complete without mentioning it's capability to tightly integrate with SQL Server, Microsoft's professional database server product. If you're in an organization that utilizes SQL Server, you'll be pleased to learn that you can retrieve, manipulate and work with the data stored on your organization's database server within the Microsoft Access environment. For more on this, view Microsoft's page on SQL Server/Office integration.