Using an iPad to Run Microsof Access

Posted on 2012-08-23
Last Modified: 2012-08-27
I want to use a small tablet (iPad or Android) to take data and make sketches in the field.

The data will ultimately go into an access database.

Does anybody have a suggestion for an application(s) that make this work.

In particular, I want to be able to use a stylus tom make notes and either a stylus or my finger to check boxes.

Question by:rogerdjr
    LVL 89

    Assisted Solution

    by:John Hurst
    I do not have any experience with this, but I suggest you read through the following thread to get started.

    ... Thinkpads_User
    LVL 19

    Assisted Solution

    Hi rogerdjr,

    ipad = Apple
    MsAccess = Microsoft

    This pretty much says it all.  Even on the new Windows devices (Surface) with Office 2013 it is not clear how Access will work and the programming language used VBA will not work on them with office.

    This all means you are in difficult territory.

    I imagine you are not a programmer so I will not get too complicated for you.

    Did you know there is an Access app in iTunes?  I dont think this is going to help you though.

    Keeping with the assumption that you are not a programmer here is a few things to think about.  

    The above linked App allows you to see the tables in your Access files.  I doubt you will be able to see any forms and I doubt if you will ever be able to see a MSAaccess form in an iPad.  The reason being is that that form needs the MS Operating System and many little library's to show itself.

    So if MSAccess will not fully work on the ipad what are the alternatives.  The alternative is a native iOS app (or web app).  This app would be designed for iOS and it would need to read and write the data back to your database.  The app itself should be no problem, but the communication with the MSAccess tables will be.  As far as I know there is no program that helps an App communicate with the tables in MSAccess (there could be some in development).  

    So now you are saying well how do all the apps talk to databases then.  Well in the MS world they usually use a technology called WCF.  WCF is like a program in between the database (not MSAccess but a SQL Server database) and the iOS app. When an iOS app wants information it sends a request in text form (XML) over the internet to the WCF program.  The WCF program translates this into database language and gets the information front he database.  Then WCF translates it from database language back into text and sends it over the internet to your iOS app.

    My summary of this paragraph is - its complicated.

    Once again assuming you are not a programmer looking to write your own app.  Do you know about noteshelf in iTunes. This is an app for doing your drawings.  

    I was not impressed with my iPad / Stylus experience but I will leave that up to you.  Historically the reason an iPad exists is that Steve Jobs wanted to make a device that did NOT need a stylus.  So in my opinion using a stylus on an ipad is like driving you boat down the main street.  Or smoking with your foot.

    Getting these drawings into Msaccess.  You could have a dropbox account and upload the files from your iPad to dropbox.  If you have dropbox installed on your PC then you will have a dropbox folder where these will be.  From this folder you could do a little bit of MSAccess VBA programming to get these files then into your database.  If you really want to be fancy and know some MSAccess programming.  You MSAccess database could check this dropbox folder for new files every couple of minutes and if a new file is there then it could add it to your database.
    LVL 31

    Assisted Solution

    GoToAssist recently released an iPad app, and I tried it -- it works fine, though if you are connecting to a computer with a large monitor, it can be awkward because of the tiny size.  Also, you have to use finger taps instead of the mouse.  But it can be done.  This requires you to have the regular GoToAssist app, which I recommend in any case -- it is the best remote app I have found for supporting people on other computers.
    LVL 19

    Accepted Solution

    I was wondering there for a second that there was another Access app.

    GoToAssist just shows a computer screen on an iPad.  There are many of these types of apps.

    I am guessing that you would need a pretty good connection like WLAN to be able to draw from an ipad screen onto the screen of the PC.
    LVL 74

    Expert Comment

    by:Jeffrey Coachman
    As you can see, this will not be easy.
    ...Especially if your goal is to: Make a sketch, and click a "Send to Database" button...

    From the Access side, the difficulties are:
    1. You cannot just "put" an image into an Access database remotely.
    You must be "In" the database to do this.
    2. What Field datatype is the image being stored in? (Attachment, OLE, BLOB, ...etc)
    3. What format is the image in? (bmp, jpg, gif, png, ...etc)
    4. Will you want to view the image In the database, over the tablet? (what App is associated with the image format)
    5. What is the data structure of the images database?  One image per record?, multiple images per record? will your tablet determine "where" in the database the image gets stored?

    The bottom line is that we have may different technologies here (Android OS, IPad (Apple) OS,  MS Access (Which needs Windows to run), ...etc)

    So unless someone builds a "App" for this, you may be out of luck here for a "simple" solution.

    Finally it is not known if this Access database even exits yet.
    You say you want to make a sketch (something that must be done "Outside" of Access), ...but you also say that you want to "Check Boxes" (something that must be done "inside" Access)
    Access is meant for the desktop, not really for a tablet.
    So it is not clear if this database is designed with the appropriate "Touch screen" technology built in...?


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