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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Excel or Access - which is recommended?

    Hello All,

    I'm a complete and utter newbie when it comes to databases and what is involved in creating them, hence I'm hoping to benefit all ya'lls advice

    I'm working as IT support at a company with approximately 80 users, and we're planning to roll out Windows XP (still on W2K!) in the next month or so and I would like to create a database of our users that contains information such as: Name, Desk Number, OS, Machine Spec, Special software, phone number, etc, etc.

    Now, I know that I could just manually enter all this info into, say, an Excel spreadsheet. However, this just seems very inefficient given that the information will have to be constantly updated (people leaving, hardware upgraded, new software installed, etc).

    What do you recommend I use to try to create a database (so that I can also know which section of the dbforums I can start posting to )? I don't know very much about either Excel or Access, but those are the 2 programs readily accessible to me (and others who may want to view information contained within this database). I was leaning towards Access after playing around with it since it looks like it can generate nice reports, but I'm not sure what learning curve is involved. Excel on the other hand seems easier.. I think. But in terms of efficiency given what I need to use it for, which do you recommend?

    Any suggestions appreciated!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    out on a limb
    if you are 1 month from rollout, and you are familiar with Excel Id stick with Excel.
    Reason: time constraints, to get a fully fucntional application in Access may easily take several weeks /months of full time development if youa re startign from scratch, hwoeverin my view the Access route would be preferable as it gives flexibility and cleaner access to your data for reporting, sumamrising or managing. But then I spend way to much time using Access, and nowhere near enough using other tools, so im very familiar with Access

    Excel isnt a database, and strictly speaking neither is Access (Access is a RAD front end to database(s))

    you could compromise and start off in Excel, and then then transfer to access over time.

    Excel is a powerfull tool, Im not knocking it, however its also easy to screw up the data without realising, its aslo unstructured, unless carefully designed, so if and when you try reporting you can miss simialr data (eg "CPU: 3MHZ" ias not the same as "CPU 3 Mhz".

    if you are doing a computer audits then consider looking at one of the audit tools, most modern networked gear will report itself to SNMP requests, but you may need some other software to do other things (like software licensce management) these come with their own application & data
    I'd rather be riding on the Tiger 800 or the Norton

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    As healdem mentioned, Access is not a real database, however, for the purpose of this discussion let's just assume it is

    I agree with the suggestion that you should simply start gathering your data in Excel, due to time constraints and the learning involved in building your first database.

    As for future development, Access sounds like the way to go IMO. And starting in Access shouldn't be a problem because Access has lovely ways of importing (and exporting!) the data from spreadsheets.

    With the data you are storing, a relational database would appear to be the way forward, and on the scale described, Access should suit you down to the ground.

    However, Access does have some constraints, including concurrent user issues. You will struggle to get more than 5 concurrent users, and if you make 10 (MS say that's the limit) then it'd be a miracle.

    So there you have it - a lot of incoherant rubbish summarised as:
    Start in Excel, consider future development in Access.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Healdem, Georgev,

    Thanks for the responses! It looks like you're recommending to the route of Access in the long run, so I guess I will start trying to read up some on that.

    I did try to play around with it a little yesterday (Access 2003) and managed to create tables (I know, I know, big deal - it's just entering data ) But had no clue where to go beyond there. I tried creating forms, but fudged up on that >_<

    Do you have any suggestions on how to initially start going about preparing for this? I will go ahead and create a thread specifically for this in the Access forum, but if you have any sites you recommend, resources, etc., do please let me know.


    P.S. Congratulations on the engagement Georgev!

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