How to Use This Book

The initial chapters are written in a tutorial format with detailed examples. True to the Wrox Programmer's Reference standard format, we've included numerous reference appendices with details on the various object models you might use when writing VBA code in Access. We've also included a detailed primer on the Windows Registry and a listing of common API functions you might want to use in your code.

Real world examples will be given for many, if not most, of the programming topics covered in this book. Some typical topics include the following:

□ How to hide fields on a form based on database login information.

□ How to show or hide entire sections of reports based on information entered on a form.

□ How to use VBA to transfer information between Access and other Office programs such as Outlook, Word, and Excel.

□ How to configure custom menus for your Access database applications.

Throughout the book we've also included tips and tricks we've discovered during our programming experiences.

Introductory and Background Material

Chapters 1 through 5 provide some background reference material you'll need if you're new to Access or VBA. After a detailed look at the new features in Access 2002 and 2003, we've provided information on the building blocks of VBA, such as objects, properties, methods, and events. An introduction to the VBA Editor and its various debugging tools follows.

Accessing Data

After the introductory material, Chapters 6 and 7 focus on accessing data by using VBA. Both DAO and ADO provide methods for accessing data in Microsoft Access and other external data sources such as Informix and SQL Server.

Executing and Debugging

Chapters 8 and 9 provide detailed information on executing and debugging VBA code. Every development project needs some debugging, even if you're an expert developer. We'll show you some easy ways to debug your code as well as provide some tips and tricks to make the tedious process of debugging a bit easier.

Working with Access Objects

Two Access objects in particular, Forms and Reports, can make heavy use of VBA (Chapters 10 and 11). You can write VBA code to respond to a variety of events from the controls on a form or even from the form itself. You can write code to show or hide certain sections of a form or report in response to information entered on the form or even the particular user logged on to Windows at the time.

Advanced VBA Programming

The next three chapters (12-14) provide information on creating classes in VBA, using APIs, and using SQL and VBA. They are designed to give you a thorough tutorial on these subjects so you can design your own classes, implement some common APIs in your code, and use SQL to access data.

Miscellaneous Material

Calling Chapters 15 through 20 miscellaneous is not really fair to the extremely thorough content presented. Chapter 15 shows you how to use VBA to transfer information between Access and the other Office programs. You'll learn how to create tasks and e-mail in Outlook, perform a mail merge in Word, and export data to an Excel spreadsheet. We'll even show you how to take information from Access, create a graph, and insert that graph into PowerPoint.

Chapter 16 provides a detailed study in security. It seems every week there's a new security hole in a computer program, which can expose your computer to malicious code. When developing a database, you can implement security in your database to prevent users from seeing the code, or you can even prevent access to certain tables or queries in your database.

Chapter 17 examines working with client/server development and Chapter 18 examines the Windows Registry. Next, we provide an in-depth look at a new set of tools, the Access Developer Extensions. These tools help you automate many common tasks in Access.

Chapter 20 focuses on macro security. Access 2003 introduces some new concerns related to macro security. We'll introduce you to Sandbox mode and let you know how to properly work with these new security features.

Appendices

Appendix A provides information on upgrading to Access 2003 from previous versions. Appendix B shows you how to create and use references within your VBA code. We've provided extensive information on the DAO, ADO, and Access Object Models in Appendices C, D, and E, respectively. Rounding out the mix are appendices on common API calls, proper naming conventions, VBA reserved words, and the Windows Registry. Finally, we've included a wonderful appendix full of tips and tricks you can use to develop professional applications.

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