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Access Developer Extensions
By Richard Rost   Richard Rost on Twitter Richard Rost on LinkedIn Email Richard Rost   14 years ago

Question: I have been looking through your tips and blogs and feel I must have missed these questions somewhere, but here goes. Can you recomend a compiler to create a stand-alone Access program. What about a runtime fee, etc.?

Also, same question for Excel?

Thanks, Jeff

Jeff, good question.

One of the nice things I do like about the new Access 2007 is that the Developer Extensions are FREE. This is a program that you can download and compile your Access database up into a "program" that you can distribute to others free of charge (no licensing, no royalties) and they don't need to have Access. The end users cannot MODIFY your program/database - but then again, you probably don't want them to anyhow.

You can download the free Access 2007 Developer Extensions from Microsoft's Web site.

You can also download just a Runtime version of Access which you can give out to people with your database. You give them the database files and the Runtime. They install the Runtime themselves - good to go. Same thing, just no packaging wizard.

In previous versions of Access, you had to BUY the developer extensions. For Access 2003 they were part of the Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System. There is a free trial version available on the Microsoft Web site so you can evaluate it.

In earlier versions (XP, 2000) you had to buy the Microsoft Access Developer Edition, and in Office 95 and 97, Microsoft had a special Developer Toolkit you had to buy. Same features.

Now for Excel, I know that Microsoft has a Spreadsheet Viewer application that they allow you to download and distribute for free. Here's the Excel Viewer 2003.

Apparently as of right now, there isn't an Excel 2007 viewer available. I did find this interesting article on how to view Word 2007 and Excel 2007 documents using their 2003 viewers. There's also this blog item on the MSDN page.

Hope this answers your question.

Of course, Microsoft wants people to be able to distribute their Access applications. There's a lot of competition from other database programs, and to force Access developers to have to pay hundreds of dollars to distibute their databases doesn't grow their platform any. As far as Word and Excel goes, however, Microsoft wants people to have to buy these programs to modify their documents.

It is on my list to add a tutorial in how to use the Developer Extensions. Seeing as how the 2007 ones are free now, however, I might just wait to show you those! I haven't purchased the 2003 edition (still use XP myself). 2003 was a minor upgrade for Access anyhow.

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Don Wright 
10 years ago
I love the idea and look forward to seeing it happen.  It is exactly the thing I need for work!!

Reply from Richard Rost:

I think a seminar is called for, then. This is one of those things that probably only 5% of Access developers need to know how to do... but it is EXTREMELY useful to know if need to deploy an Access database across a large group of users. The cost savings from not needing to buy multiple copies of Access alone is worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Read More...
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Bob Lilly 
10 years ago
Thank you, that would be fantastic if you coud do that in the Future.
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10 years ago
From what I've been able to tell from Microsoft's web site, the Access 2007 Runtime Extensions will work with Access 2010 databases. The database FORMAT is the same between both versions. I couldn't find a separate download page for 2010, but here is the download page for 2007. If anyone has more information, please post here.
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