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MS Access for the Business Environment: MS Access as a Documentation Tool: Display Object Dependencies - Page 3

September 7, 2004

Hands-On Procedure

Having been tasked with a need representative of many that occur in the business world, we will leverage the new MS Office Access 2003 option to view object dependencies. Within this capability, we will find that we can see an inventory list of the objects, consisting of tables, queries, reports and forms that exist within the database. Within the list, we can select a given object, and then have MS Access display a list of all objects that depend upon the object we have selected. In addition, we can produce a similar list that displays the objects upon which our selected object itself depends.

First, we will access the database and discuss the setting I mentioned earlier, in preparation for our hands-on practice with using the valuable new capability to view object dependencies in MS Access.

Preparation

Let's access the Northwind database and make any preparation necessary to satisfy the business need we have outlined above. We will begin by starting MS Access 2003 and taking the following steps:

1.  Go to the Start button on the PC, and then navigate to the Microsoft Access icon, as we did in Create a Calculated Field with the Expression Builder, the first article in my MS Access series.

2.  Click the icon to start MS Access.

MS Access opens, and may display the initial dialog. If so, close it.

3.  Select File -> Open from the top menu, and navigate to the Northwind sample database. (The file might also be accessed from the Open a File menu atop the task pane, if it has not been disabled previously, at the right side of the main window.)

4.  Select Northwind.mdb.

We are greeted with the standard Security Warning dialog, depicted in Illustration 1, indicating that we are about to open a file containing potentially malicious code.


Illustration 1: Security Warning Dialog in MS Access 2003

5.  Click Open.

The splash screen may appear.

NOTE: As we have noted earlier in the series, we can preclude the appearance of the splash screen each time we enter the sample Northwind database by checking the "Don't show this screen again." checkbox. For now, we will leave it unchecked.

6.  Click OK.

The splash screen disappears, and is replaced by the Main Switchboard.

7.  Click the Display Database Window, shown circled in Illustration 2.


Illustration 2: Inside Access, Northwind Main Switchboard

We arrive at the Database Window, which appears as depicted in Illustration 3. Here we can view dependency information for many MS Access objects (we will discuss exclusions shortly) that are open, or that we select in the Database window.


Illustration 3: The Database Window








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