Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What's New in Access 12:
Build Better Looking Forms and Reports Faster

MSDN Blogger, Erik Rucker, in posts this month has highlighted some cool new tools that will be available in Access 2007:

AutoFormatting - 25 New Themes

Better Image Support - If you want to store images directly in the database the new attachment data-type is a god-send. In the past you would use the OLE Object data type, and because of how OLE worked, there were bloat issues as Access had to store a preview of the file along with the OLE data. Attachments are a new complex data-type that stores multiple attachments to a record in a binary field in a hidden table, and Access compresses the file when it is added if it isn’t already a compressed file type.

WYSIWYG Form and Report Authoring - new forms authoring tools allow you to see live data at design time.

Working with Layouts - Access 12 introduces a new control-grouping concept called Layouts that provide control flow. Using Layouts, when you move controls around they can snap into position and the other controls can reflow because the controls are all aware of their relationship to one another.

Multiple Item Forms - Multi-item forms can be created in one click, and also use Layouts for control positioning. Building a multi-item form creates a datasheet that can be edited, and with a "new item" row at the bottom that can be used to add new records.

Rich Text In Access Forms - Better late than ever: Access 2003 dropped support for the "unsafe" VB6 RichText Control. Access 12 now provides a native rich text control, and allows users to both display and edit rich text at runtime. Rich text support can be turned on through the property sheet or rich text fields can be added to a form through the Add Field task pane.
Sidebar: How about native controls that replace all MS Common Controls, such as the TreeView amd ListItem controls?

Color Pickers - More colors that can be set by using the Access theme color picker that is available from the ribbon and builds on color properties in the property sheet.

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