Microsoft Access Features And Functionality: What Has Been Discontinued Or Modified In Access 2013

Microsoft Access Features And Functionality: What Has Been Discontinued Or Modified In Access 2013

Teaching and migrating to version 2013 has thrown up some Microsoft Access features which have since been dropped (or deprecated as we call it). Perhaps we should re-title this post as “Microsoft Access: Mind The Gaps!”

Not all the features I will list below in this post have completely gone; just been modified which is of course a good thing providing you are not too emotionally attached to the older style features of course.

microsoft access features

For me, as seems to be the case for the vast majority of developers and users I’ve spoken to, that they feel the ugly ‘flat’ look and feel is a step backwards making it look like an animated version with a slight hint of colour to a beta piece of software at pre-launch!

But Microsoft in their wisdom felt it needed freshening up with a more up to date version (albeit only three years) and we either stick with an earlier version or make the transition.

—Don’t get me started on Windows 8!

Microsoft Access Features And Functionality: What Has Been Discontinued Or Modified In Access 2013

So here we go, a list of the changes to Access 2013 from version 2010…

Access database on the web – With the introduction of web creation services in Access 2010 using SharePoint 2010, you can still open and edit this version in 2013 but you will not be able to create any new databases and instead must use the 2013 SharePoint (or Office 365 variants) for either an SQL Server database or Azure SQL database.

Access Database projects (ADP) – Ever used ADP? This was the way you scaled up to larger more robust database engines over and above JET. In essence, it was a small version of SQL Server and now this has been dropped in favour of using the 2013 SQL Server database instead. Most of the features will be replaced and you can quickly view the changes in Access 2013.

How old can you be? With JET (the database engine for Access), version 3.x is now finished which means you will not be able to open an Access 97 (or earlier) database file. This also includes any linked tables to this engine and will need to upgrade to the .ACCDB file format with either versions 2007 or 2010 first. You can still open .MDB files to versions 2000, XP and 2003.

Pivot Tables and Charts – This is a big decision for those who did adopt pivot tables and charts in the past. This has now been dropped altogether as the components are no longer supported. To be fair, most developers used Excel Pivots for their reporting and summary data outputs and this seems to be thinking here going forward as Microsoft Excel does provide richer tools and can connect to Access very easily indeed.

Have Data Types changed? Only by name! There are some subtle differences but what was formerly known as ‘Text‘ is now called ‘Short Text‘ which still holds up to 255 characters (up to 4000 for a web app) and ‘Memo‘ is now called ‘Long Text‘ holding a very large number of characters indeed.

dBASE support is gone – This was an older proprietary database format which is passed its use by date and will not be able to link with this format.

Smart Tag property – This was a surprise to me as it is no longer available to Access 2013. If you want to know more about Smart Tags, I wrote a recent post about Smart Tags for Access 2010 and there seems to be no official reason given for the removal of this feature!

Menus and Toolbars – are now gone for good. At one time, you could bypass the Ribbon Bar and still have used the older pre 2007 menus and toolbars in the later versions but now they will appear in the Add-Ins tab on the Ribbon Bar.

Any Replication for MDB – have now completely gone and will not be able to load an .MDB file expecting to see the options as in Access 2007/2010.

Upsizing Wizard Tool – has completely gone as you now use SQL Server (and their management tools) to scale up database and migrations or create a web based version from scratch.

Did you ever distribute your database? – The Access Package Solution Wizard has been replaced with a newer method to distribute your database package. Again, we are talking about Access for the web app approach and the run-time is handled online. If you do want to use the desktop database approach (and there are good justified reason for this too), then you can still download the Access 2013 run-time.

So there you have it, Microsoft Access features are now up to date. You may feel a little aggrieved if you had deployed Replication or wanted to maintain Pivot Charts and this may be a justified reason why you are sticking with a previous version. However, over time, support and licencing may force you down this route and could be an opportunity to clean up and restructure your database processes especially when considering getting online with as an Access web app as most mobile devices will only be able to use this approach.

I would love to hear your first and perhaps last impressions on Access 2013 in the reply box below.

This entry was posted in Database Theory, MS Access and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Confirm you are human.