With Microsoft Office 2013 set for release very soon (and after our look at the new mobile excel apps), we thought we'd take a look at some of the new features to be added to its Access software.
The database powerhouse has undergone an overhaul and not just aesthetically. More app-focused, easily shareable and with a revised back-end, Access 2013 is set to build and develop upon the now three year old incumbent, Access 2010.
If you'd like to learn how to use Access from scratch, come on our Beginner's Access Training Course or if you have some experience but would like to brush up on your skills, try our 1 day Advanced Access Workshop.
So what exactly is different about Access 2013 compared to previous versions? And will these differences make the user experience better or worse?
The biggest new feature to be brought in with Access 2013 is the focus on a more app-based system.
What with the introduction of Windows 8 and Sharepoint's development into a realistic competitor to Google Drive and Dropbox, it's unsurprising that Access 2013 has such a focus.
In Access 2013 you'll be able to create an app (which can effectively be anything, but we'll assume an Access file!), upload it to Sharepoint and then allow access to anyone you like.
No extra login details are required; just those of the business'/users' Sharepoint account.
Even without Access installed on the device being used, you can still use the app (with limited functionality obviously).
The intention is to create a faster, more multi-user and multi-device friendly Access experience. This is also reflected in the next big change:
All of the above would not really be possible without cloud hosting, and while such a function was available in the previous version of Access, it is in Access 2013 that it really comes into its own.
So long as you have Sharepoint on 365, you have your data stored in the cloud.
It's as simple as that! There are no complex setups or transferring of important data required - something that makes it an attractive option for both businesses and individuals.
If you aren't convinced though, there is still the option to host it on your own network via Sharepoint and SQL Server.
Whilst it certainly isn't a change that will heavily impact functionality, the new look Access 2013 is sporting does again play into the Windows 8/app-centric direction.
With a much simpler, slicker design than in previous versions it looks like it's been made with tablets and mobiles in mind. The creation of data-sheets, lists and other forms of visual displays of data can be done automatically but the whole program still retains it's popular customisable ethos.
As Microsoft themselves say this is "one of the biggest improvements in Access 2013 (but) is one you may not even notice". Saving a database to Sharepoint will also create a full SQL server to store the data.
For the general day to day user, all this really means is faster and more accessible data management but for those familiar with SQL servers they will be able to link it up so that analytics-style reports can be made easily (those not familiar should read our Introduction to SQL).
Access 2013 will certainly be an improvement on 2010 in many ways. Interestingly, the joint revamp of both the front and back-end will mean that this version
will feel almost brand new and not just like a minor update.
The only potential downside is the lack of pivot tables and charts (as was the case with the previous version) which with the new focus on display and shareability, would have been a useful and pleasant touch.
Overall though, we can't wait to get access to Access 2013!