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Introduction to Microsoft Access 2000 Projects and the MSDE

This content is no longer actively maintained. It is provided as is, for anyone who may still be using these technologies, with no warranties or claims of accuracy with regard to the most recent product version or service release.

Acey Bunch
Microsoft Corporation

June 1999

Summary: This article lists the best sources of detailed information about Microsoft® Access projects (.adp files), which allow you to develop client/server database applications in Access by using either Microsoft SQL Server™ or Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE) as the back-end database (3 printed pages).

What Are Access Projects? What's the MSDE?

With the release of Microsoft Access 2000, an exciting new technology has been introduced—Access projects (.adp files), which allow you to develop true client/server applications from within the Access environment. Creating these project files differs from the traditional file-server development that Access developers have typically used, such as developing a database application with the Microsoft Jet database engine and saving all the database objects in a single .mdb file.

Like an .mdb file, an Access project file also allows you to develop a database application in the Access environment, but instead of using Jet, you're natively using either Microsoft SQL Server or the new Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE) as the back-end database. You can use an Access project to create an entirely new SQL Server or MSDE database, or to connect to an existing database. You then use tools in Access to create or modify the tables, relationships, views, stored procedures, and other database objects that are stored on your server, and create and save the client application objects (forms, reports, macros, and modules) that are stored in the .adp file.

Another cool thing about Access projects is that you can now develop a rich user interface for SQL Server or MSDE databases by using the familiar Access environment. For example, you can create forms, reports, macros, and modules just as with traditional Access applications. However, creating tables is a little different, and relationships are called database diagrams. In addition, there are new database objects that you can use, such as views, stored procedures, and data access pages. For data access, you can use ActiveX® Data Objects (ADO), which is a rich object model for accessing data from a variety of sources.

Where Do I Find More Information About Access Projects and the MSDE?

To start learning about Access projects, see the section "Working with Microsoft Access Projects" in the Contents tab of the Microsoft Access Help window, or go to the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard tab and type client/server.

For the most up-to-date information about Access projects and the MSDE, see the Access Readme file, which is typically located at C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Acread9.txt.

For additional information and resources, see the links in the following table.

The new Office Developer Web site. Check here periodically for the latest information about developing Office applications. page is all about the MSDE. From here you can read white papers, look at sample code, download the MSDE, and even order a CD-ROM that contains the MSDE and SQL Server 7.0 Developer edition. is the Access 2000 Help and How-To page. This page contains links to Access 2000 tutorials, online discussion groups, and many other resources. is the SQL Server Web site. Check here for the latest information about SQL Server and the MSDE. The Visual Basic 6.0 Resource Center: Book Excerpts: Beginning Visual Basic 6 Database Programming, Chapter 11. This chapter looks quickly at the historical background to the development of ADO before moving on to discuss more recent developments in data access technologies. Next,it explores the concepts and components of ADO itself before moving on to create the first pieces of code that will program ADO.
This is the Microsoft Personal Support Center advanced search page. For step 1, select Access 2000; for step 2, select keywords; and for step 3, type MSDE. This query will bring up the latest Knowledge Base articles about using the MSDE. is the home page for Microsoft Press®. Here you can find a multitude of titles covering Access, SQL Server, and Visual Basic® for Applications.