MS Access -- analytics (graphing) addins?

Hi all -- I'm taking a quick straw-poll of tools that can be easily integrated into MS Access to provide better on-the-fly graphing capabilities. I'm OK with buying a license for something but it needs to be launchable/controllable from within Access, and it needs to work really well -- e.g., produce some nice-looking graphs and pie charts. If the graphs are clickable to show details, that's a bonus. For those of you who've been down this path before, what's your go-to and why? Oh, yeah -- I'm not considering Excel as an answer, either...! :)
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Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareCommented:
There are very, very few controls which can be embedded in Access, and especially ones that have high end graphing capabilities.

Have you looked into PowerBI ( While it cannot be embedded in Access, you could perhaps launch it from an Access form.
DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
As Scott noted ... PBI does not yet ( :-) ) integrate directly with Access.
On the flip side, Power BI can easily connect to an Access db (I've done it).

More than 10 years ago, I used ChartFX ( ) within Access. Even at that time, the CFX object model was stellar, as was the documentation (killer examples, etc.) and tech support.  So, I can only imagine how it has evolved.
Pretty sure it's kind of pricey, but something you might look into,
Jeffrey CoachmanMIS LiasonCommented:
easily integrated into
Some graphic packages can "Connect to" Access data, Not really Integrate within it...

on-the-fly graphing capabilities
By this, do you mean "quickly"?

As Scott stated, ...there is not that much out there developed for Access/VBA.

A lot of the newer stuff is "web based".
For example: Dundas
In some of these packages, pay for "seats", ...
In other words, don't just buy the software once and use it forever.
Also, ...if you go the web based route, ...note that your "Visualizations" are stored with the company, ...not you.
Meaning that, yes you can save a graph as a PDF, ...but you still have to log onto the site to make another one, ...or update an existing one.
Not sure what the pricing was, ...all I heard from accounting was that it was "too much".

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Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareCommented:
I've used ChartFX as well (in a VB project), but their COM object (which is what you'd have to use in Access) won't work on Win10 machines according to their requirements. The COM object seems to be designed more for ASP pages than anything else.

Not to say you can't try it, but don't be surprised if this control (and others) give you fits when you deploy it (assuming, of course, that you must deploy it).

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alfamikefoxtrotAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the tips, guys. It blows me away that MS hasn't considered an add-in to Access for better analytics -- it seems like such a natural fit. I'm looking at the ChartFX stuff now and I'm hopeful that they can cut me a deal on something I can integrate into Access now if I let them in on some .NET stuff I'm working on in December. We'll see. In the meantime (and I know I said I wouldn't consider this), what's the success rate of launching the Excel charts API from within Access? This might be a good interim solution, especially if the ChartFX doesn't pan out.
Scott McDaniel (Microsoft Access MVP - EE MVE )Infotrakker SoftwareCommented:
It blows me away that MS hasn't considered an add-in to Access for better analytics -- it seems like such a natural fit.
Excel (and now PowerBI) are their analytics platforms, and the codebases are "owned" by different teams within Microsoft. Suffice it to say that getting those teams to work together to integrate those products would be ... difficult ... at best. Their view is that they already HAVE analytics products, so what's the point of introducing more?

Access was never intended to be used to produce those types of things (charts, graphs, etc). It was intended as a desktop database where users could easily and quickly enter data and produce reports. We (the Access development community) have made Access much, much broader than MSFT ever intended.
DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
" It blows me away that MS hasn't considered an add-in to Access for better analytics "
Stay hopeful. I can't elaborate ... but .....  :-)
alfamikefoxtrotAuthor Commented:
Joe -- sounds enticing. I'm definitely hopeful -- ! (I'd be even more hopeful if something were coming out in the next couple of months -- just in time for Christmas, harhar) :)

In the meantime, I figured out how to bootstrap some Excel functionality to at least give some one-way analytics capability -- pivot charts and some other basics. Not pretty but it does the trick for my prototype. I'll close the question and dispense some points shortly for everyone's great comments and feedback. Thanks guys -- !

alfamikefoxtrotAuthor Commented:
Thanks, y'all, for the assistance on this one. I did take a look at ChartFX but they no longer provide any in-platform support to Access. You can get some pretty charts with outbound data through ODBC but the connection is basically one-way and by then, you're out of Access. Ironically, I did end up eating some crow on this one. I finally ended up using (yep, you guessed it) an Excel instance to get the charts I need. It's still a shade kludgy (good enough for a prototype and about 80% of where I need to be) but I'm actually really pleasantly surprised at the level of control I have from within Access to programmatically create nice-looking pivot charts with a little elbow grease. Looking forward to a next-generation of Access that supports a full-on analytics solution. :)
DatabaseMX (Joe Anderson - Microsoft Access MVP)Database Architect / Systems AnalystCommented:
I'm surprised the CFX does not supply an object model that Access can tap into via VBA.  That is truly sad.
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