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Hack 1. Help Users Find the Objects They Need

Hack 1. Help Users Find the Objects They Need

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Ofcourse,youcangettoalltheobjectsyouneedfromhere:

clicktheQueriestabtofindthequeriesyouwanttorun,or

clicktheReportstabtofindthereportsyouwanttorun.But

youcanavoidthisdrudgery.Onegreatthingaboutthe

databasewindowistheabilitytomakeyourowngroups.In

fact,itisclearthatthedatabasewindowdoesseparateobjects

fromgroups.InFigure1-1,ontheleftsideofthedatabase

window,youcanseeacleardistinctionofgroupsinthebottom

halfofthewindow.



1.2.2.UsingGroups

Bydefault,thereisoneFavoritesgroup,inwhichyoucanplace

shortcutstoobjects.It'seasytodo;justfindtheobject

whereveritexistswithinthevarioustabs,andthenclickand

dragittotheFavoritesgroup.Figure1-2showstheresultof

doingjustthat.TheFavoritesgrouphasbeenfilledwith

shortcutstosomeofthedatabaseobjects.Notethattheseare

shortcuts.Theoriginalobjectsarestillwheretheybelongwithin

theobjectcollections.YoucandeleteashortcutintheFavorites



group,andtheoriginalobjectremains.



Figure1-2.PlacingshortcutsintheFavorites

group



Clearly,usingtheFavoritesgroupletsyoufocususeractivity!

However,youcanalsogoastepfurtherbyaddingadditional

groupsforevenbetterorganization.Howaboutagroupfor

eachuserortypeofuser?Forexample,dataentryoperators

andsupervisorsmightusethesamedatabaseapplication,but

withdifferentobjects;thedataentryoperatorsmightuse

certainforms,andsupervisorsormanagersmightusequeries

andreportstoseeoverallactivity.

It'seasytoaddanewgroup.Justright-clickintheGroups

area,selectNewGroupfromthelistofoptions,andgivethe



groupaname.Atthispointyoucandragobjectstothenew

group.Figure1-3showshowtwonewgroupshavebeenadded

totheapplication.Eachhasitsownlistofshortcuts.

Anothergoodpointaboutgroupsisthatthesameobjectscan

resideinmorethanonegroup.Ifyouhaveareasontoplacea

shortcuttoaparticularreportinthreedifferentgroups,Access

won'tholdyouback.Infact,youcanevencopyshortcutsfrom

onegrouptoanother.



Figure1-3.Creatingandusingacustomgroup



Hack2.PersonalizeYourAccessApplication



Buildpersonalizationfunctionalitysothatuserscanset

uptheapplicationinwaysthatworkbestforthem.

ThereisnoreasontolimitalluserstousinganAccess

applicationinthesameway.It'seasytooverlookthiscapability

becauseAccessallowsyoutodesignateonlyoneopeningform

initsstartupoptionsthatis,unlessyoutapintoitsdatabaseopeningevents.Then,youcanchoosewhichformwillopen,

whatitspropertiesare,andmore.Youcaneffectivelymakeall

facetsoftheapplicationuniquetoaparticularindividualor

profile.Hereareafewitemsyoucantailorthisway:



Forms

Specifytheopeningform,howit'sdisplayed,andwhat

functionalityitincludes



Datasources

Specifywhichpersonalizationtables,internalorexternal,

areneededforeachuser'stasks



Reports

Showorhidedetails

ThishackshowsyouhowtousetheAutoExecmacrotorunan



openingfunctionthatdeliversapersonalizedinterfacetothe

user.Forthistowork,youmustfirstcreateadatabasetableto

storeuserpreferences,andthen,whenthedatabasestartsup,

youmustbeabletoidentifytheusertothedatabase.Youcan

dothisinanumberofways:forinstance,apop-upinputbox

canaskforanameorinitials(possiblywithapassword),a

command-lineswitchcanprovidetheuseridentity,or,ifthe

Accesssecuritymodelisinuse,theuserIDcanbemade

availablethroughtheCurrentUserproperty.



1.3.1.StoringPreferences

Userpreferencesarestoredinatablethathasafieldforeach

personalizationfacet.Youdeterminewhichfeaturesto

personalize.Forexample,aLongdatatypefieldcanstorethe

preferredbackgroundcolor,atextfieldcanstorethenameof

thepreferredopeningform,andsoon.Figure1-4showssucha

table,aptlynamedCustomized,withafewpreferencesfilledin.

Thefieldnameindicatesthepreference,andtheactualvaluein

thefieldisthesetting.



Figure1-4.Atabletoholdsingleuserpreferences



Thistableisperfectfordatabasesthataredistributedtolocal

clientmachines.Inthisconfiguration,onlyoneuserusesan

instanceofthedatabase.Therefore,thetableisstructuredto



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Hack 1. Help Users Find the Objects They Need

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