An Access database is a collection of different objects stored together and in some cases related to each other to emulate logical workflows that end users simply take for granted.
How many times as a database developer or administrator have you been given an Access database and carry out an audit to understand the structure of it? There are several tools to help analyse this information but one in particular is Microsoft Access dependencies or correctly named Object Dependencies pane.
The key use that I use this tool for is to make sure that if for example I want to remove a query that I believe is now redundant and is simply taking up unwanted space, I can use the object dependencies pane view to check for a chosen object and verify where this object is being used.
- In the navigation pane select the object you want to track (but you don’t need to open it).
- Look in the object dependencies pane (which is switched via the Database Tools tab and click the ‘Refresh’ hyperlink.
- Now you have one of two views to look into; ‘Objects that depend on me’ and ‘Objects that I depend on’. Switch between the two view and see the structure for the selected object.
- Click on another object and refresh again to view it’s structural relationship.
In order to use this tool you must first enable the AutoCorrect feature where you are prompted when clicking the Access dependencies icon.
What this utility doesn’t really cover or things to avoid are listed below:
- If you can view an object in design view (database is not opened in read only mode).
- No macro or module objects are included in this utility and therefore cannot be tracked.
- Other objects are of course available but certain queries are still excluded and include the Action queries, SQL specific query view and sub queries.
- Any Look up fields in tables and sub datasheet views are not included too.
Therefore, this tool could be approved but at least you know the level of Access dependencies and it still has value as without it you may have to keep dipping into the archive to restore a previous session.