What Is a Microsoft Access Switchboard?

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What Is a Microsoft Access Switchboard?
Microsoft Access Switchboard (digital background image by Kit Wai Chan from Fotolia.com)

A systems administrator creates and customises a Microsoft Access Switchboard form to allow users to identify and perform tasks in the Access database by clicking on graphical buttons and other objects. The administrator assigns functions to these objects using commands, macros (pre-recorded commands) and specialised code. From this form, users can select tasks they want to perform without the need to search around menus or other screens.

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Function

The Microsoft Access Switchboard provides an on-screen form for you to work with data in Access, without your needing to be an expert on the concepts of objects such as the underlying tables, queries, reports and relationship building between tables. You can use the wizards in Access to set up these objects to enter, edit, sort data and print reports. Doing these tasks on a routine basis involves repetitive actions, which Switchboard simplifies.

Examples

Printing a monthly sales report: Instead of retrieving and opening the report manually, which involves searching the database for the report, opening and viewing the report to ensure you have the correct one, and sending the report to print, you will need only to click on a graphical button on the Switchboard form to open the precise report you want and then print it.

Closing the Access database: Microsoft Access Switchboard allows you to assign a button to close the database with one click.

Creating Your Switchboard

In planning your Switchboard, consider the repetitive tasks you perform in your database. Opening and closing reports can be done with a click of a button. Proper planning ensures that you assign the right tasks to Switchboard items. Access uses a wizard, which prompts you through the steps needed to create the Switchboard, and then you create your graphical buttons, links and other items, assigning the corresponding functions.

Restrictions

You can use the Microsoft Access Switchboard to restrict users' access to certain areas of the Access database. You can put as many or as few items as you choose on the Switchboard.

Considerations

If you have Microsoft Access 2007, you may find it unnecessary to create a Switchboard. The new navigation pane in Access 2007 displays the objects (tables, queries, reports) in your database. If you have no other users on your system, you may prefer to use the navigation pane instead of performing the extra steps to create a Switchboard.

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