The End User

The new look and feel of Access has an instant appeal to end users, especially if they are familiar with Excel or other Office programs. New users can hit the ground running by selecting from a growing list of templates that provide ready-to-use, customizable solutions. And the combination of the new navigation pane and the Ribbon make it easy to find and use the tools that are germane to the current task. The user interface is context sensitive, displays relevant commands and options, and requires few dropdown menus. It's a dramatic change, so expect to need some time to get used to it. Once you become adept with the new UI, the payoffs make it worth the effort.

In Access 2007, both forms and reports offer WYSIWYG design changes. Split forms enable users to scroll thorough lists in Datasheet view and simultaneously see the details of a selected record in a form. The new column summary allows users to quickly show calculated fields and includes such options as the sum or the minimum or maximum value—no VBA required. And finally, Access has built-in filter, find, and sort capabilities comparable to those found in Excel. With Office 2007, the filtering options change according to the field type, so dates can be filtered for factors such as Yesterday, Last Week, and Next Month.

Report Layout view is probably the biggest change. With a new interface, users see exactly how the report will print as they add and move the fields. Report Browse enables users to click controls and drill into the data—yes, that means that reports are interactive (and are covered in detail in Chapter 11).

Then there's the capability to link to SharePoint sites with just one click. It won't be long before a novice begins to collect data from e-mail and a myriad of other tasks that used to require custom interfaces. End users will initiate processes that previously required assistance from developers.

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