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Attaching or linking external files to a record in a MS Access form

Posted on 2014-01-28
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Is there a way to attach or link to a non-Access file within a specific record on a Access form?  For instance, if I have a record for a customer opened in a form and i want to attach ot link to a PDF that contains a credit bureau report or a market research report, is that possible?  Sort of like how reports and files can be linked or embedded in a MS Word document.
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Question by:mbilicic
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Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE ) earned 500 total points
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Access 2007 introduced the Attachment datatype, which allows you to directly embed items like Excel files, PDF, Images, etc. It's easy to use - just add an Attachment field to your table, then drop that field on your form. Access also have an Attachment "control" that can help you work with the attachments associated with a record:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/access-help/attach-files-and-graphics-to-the-records-in-your-database-HA001213852.aspx

Be aware, however, that Attachment fields cannot be upsized to SQL Server (or any other database, for that matter).

You could also include attachments by including a link to the item and associate that with your record. To do that, you'd add a new table to your database with fields like this:

RecordID (the Primary Key of the record you want to associate)
ItemLink (a Text or Memo field that will contain the full path to your item)

You could then create a subform based on that table, and drop that onto your parent form. You would include code to allow the user to browse and find items, and you'd then store that link in the new table you created. When users need to view that linked item, you could use the FollowHyperlink method to allow them to launch the item in it's native environment.
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by:Don Thomson
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If you are using Access 2003 or lower - just create a field in a table with the Type Hyperlink.
Browse to the File (Any type can be used.

It will most likely work on 2007 and up as well - there are really no restrictions
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by:mbilicic
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I posted a comment, but not sure if it was accepted.  I had one follow up question. . . if there are multipl eusers of the database and user 1 [based in NY] attaches a file, can user 2 [based in chicago] see the attachment?
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If you're using the Attachment datatype, then yes, they would be able to see it.

If you're using the "store the file path" method, then probably not.

How are your remote users running the database? Are you using something like Terminal Services or Citrix?
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