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Combining Text Fields in Access

Posted on 2014-02-24
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Last Modified: 2014-02-24
Hello - Recently asked the following question for Excel (http://www.experts-exchange.com/Database/MS_Access/Q_28370854.html).  The Excel solution was to use Index and Match to create the additional columns ... which worked ... but thought it would probably be much easier to do in Access.  

Basically have a Table with two fields (i.e. ABC and Remarks) and want a query to put all the A remarks together on one line, same with the B's and C's something like below.

Col1   Col2
A       Remark1                                    
A       Remark2               A      Remark1      Remark2      Remark3      
A       Remark3      to     B      Remark4      Remark5            
B       Remark4               C      Remark6      Remark7      Remark8      Remark9
B       Remark5                                    
C       Remark6                                    
C       Remark7                                    
C       Remark8                                    
C       Remark9

Would appreciate some assistance on what would be the best way to go?  Thanks.
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Question by:PhxDB
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Patrick Matthews earned 500 total points
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I address this in my article here: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Database/MS_Access/A_2380-Domain-Aggregate-for-Concatenating-Values-by-Group-in-Microsoft-Access.html

1) Add this code to a new, regular VBA module:

Function DConcat(ConcatColumns As String, Tbl As String, Optional Criteria As String = "", _
    Optional Delimiter1 As String = ", ", Optional Delimiter2 As String = ", ", _
    Optional Distinct As Boolean = True, Optional Sort As String = "", _
    Optional Limit As Long = 0)
    
    ' Function by Patrick G. Matthews, basically embellishing an approach seen in many
    ' incarnations over the years
    
    ' Requires reference to Microsoft DAO library
    
    ' This function is intended as a "domain aggregate" that concatenates (and delimits) the
    ' various values rather than the more usual Count, Sum, Min, Max, etc.  For example:
    '
    '    Select Field1, DConcat("Field2", "SomeTable", "[Field1] = '" & Field1 & "'") AS List
    '    FROM SomeTable
    '    GROUP BY Field1
    '
    ' will return the distinct values of Field1, along with a concatenated list of all the
    ' distinct Field2 values associated with each Field1 value.
    
    ' ConcatColumns is a comma-delimited list of columns to be concatenated (typically just
    '   one column, but the function accommodates multiple).  Place field names in square
    '   brackets if they do not meet the customary rules for naming DB objects
    ' Tbl is the table/query the data are pulled from.  Place table name in square brackets
    '   if they do not meet the customary rules for naming DB objects
    ' Criteria (optional) are the criteria to be applied in the grouping.  Be sure to use And
    '   or Or as needed to build the right logic, and to encase text values in single quotes
    '   and dates in #
    ' Delimiter1 (optional) is the delimiter used in the concatenation (default is ", ").
    '   Delimiter1 is applied to each row in the code query's result set
    ' Delimiter2 (optional) is the delimiter used in concatenating each column in the result
    '   set if ConcatColumns specifies more than one column (default is ", ")
    ' Distinct (optional) determines whether the distinct values are concatenated (True,
    '   default), or whether all values are concatenated (and thus may get repeated)
    ' Sort (optional) indicates whether the concatenated string is sorted, and if so, the
    '   columns used for the sort.  As you would in an ORDER BY clause, use Asc or Desc to
    '   indicate whether the column is sorted ascending or descending.  If Asc/Desc is
    '   omitted, Asc is assumed by the query engine.  Note that if you use any columns
    '   in the Sort argument that are not in the ConcatColumns argument, you must use
    '   False for the Distinct argument
    ' Limit (optional) places a limit on how many items are placed into the concatenated string.
    '   The Limit argument works as a TOP N qualifier in the SELECT clause
    
    Dim rs As DAO.Recordset
    Dim SQL As String
    Dim ThisItem As String
    Dim FieldCounter As Long
    
    On Error GoTo ErrHandler
    
    ' Initialize to Null
    
    DConcat = Null
    
    ' Build up a query to grab the information needed for the concatenation
    
    SQL = "SELECT " & IIf(Distinct, "DISTINCT ", "") & _
            IIf(Limit > 0, "TOP " & Limit & " ", "") & _
            ConcatColumns & " " & _
        "FROM " & Tbl & " " & _
        IIf(Criteria <> "", "WHERE " & Criteria & " ", "") & _
        IIf(Sort <> "", "ORDER BY " & Sort, "")
        
    ' Open the recordset and loop through it:
    ' 1) Concatenate each column in each row of the recordset
    ' 2) Concatenate the resulting concatenated rows in the function's return value
    
    Set rs = DBEngine(0)(0).OpenRecordset(SQL, dbOpenForwardOnly)
    With rs
        Do Until .EOF
            
            ' Initialize variable for this row
            
            ThisItem = ""
            
            ' Concatenate columns on this row
            
            For FieldCounter = 0 To rs.Fields.Count - 1
                ThisItem = ThisItem & Delimiter2 & Nz(rs.Fields(FieldCounter).Value, "")
            Next
            
            ' Trim leading delimiter
            
            ThisItem = Mid(ThisItem, Len(Delimiter2) + 1)
            
            ' Concatenate row result to function return value
            
            DConcat = Nz(DConcat, "") & Delimiter1 & ThisItem
            .MoveNext
        Loop
        .Close
    End With
    
    ' Trim leading delimiter
    
    If Not IsNull(DConcat) Then DConcat = Mid(DConcat, Len(Delimiter1) + 1)
    
    GoTo Cleanup

ErrHandler:
    
    ' Error is most likely an invalid database object name, or bad syntax in the Criteria
    
    DConcat = CVErr(Err.Number)
    
Cleanup:
    Set rs = Nothing
    
End Function

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2) Use it in a query like this:

SELECT [Col1], DConcat("[Col2]", "[SomeTable]", "[Col1] = '" & [Col1] & "'") AS Remarks
FROM [SomeTable]
GROUP BY [Col1]

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by:PhxDB
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Awesome - Thanks!
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