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Using Access Online Help

new 158icon01 Access 2007 and other Office 2007 members share a common online help system that differs markedly from that of earlier releases. Access 2007's sizable Access Help window consists of a Table of Contents pane with a treeview list and, when you first click the Help button, the default Browse Access Help list in the right (content) pane (see Figure 3.33).

Figure 3.33

Figure 3.33 The Access Help window opens in normal (resizable) window mode and occupies the entire display by default. The Search menu lets you select the scope of a keyword search.

Unless you clear the Search Microsoft Office Online for Help Content When I'm Connected to the Internet check box on the Trust Center's Privacy Options page, help content from Office Online supplements the local computer's help files.

Searching for a Phrase

Typing a phrase without enclosing it between double quotes causes the help system to return topics with any of the words present. For example, typing Attachment data type in the Search text box and clicking the Search button returns more than 100 topics (see Figure 3.34). Many are obviously unrelated topics, such as "Enter or edit data in a control or column that supports rich text" and "Type ¢, £, ¥, ®, and other characters not on the keyboard." Clicking the link to open the topic in the right pane, pressing Ctrl+F to open IE 7's Find dialog, typing Attachment in the Find text box, and clicking Next or Previous returns no hits. Figure 3.34's Searched for: "Attachment data type" header incorrectly indicates that the search was for an exact phrase, despite missing quotes in the search expression.

Figure 3.34

Figure 3.34 Searching for multiple words quotes the Searched For expression, which erroneously indicates searches for a phrase.

Enclosing the search term in double quotes returns the four topics shown in Figure 3.35, which contain the exact phrase, as shown for the "Which file format should I use in Access 2007?" topic in Figure 3.36.

Figure 3.35

Figure 3.35 Searching for a quoted phrase in the text box wraps the Searched For expression in pairs of double quotes.

Figure 3.36

Figure 3.36 The text of the first topic shown in Figure 3.35 contains the expected "Attachment data type" phrase.

Searching Other Sources

Clicking the All of Microsoft Office Online link in the results page (refer to Figure 3.35) returns a web page with five topics; the additional topic is for InfoPath's "Insert a file attachment control" topic. An All of Office Online search doesn't restrict the scope to Access 2007 or any Access version.

Clicking the Get Answers from Other Access Users link opens a web form that requests you to type a question of 4 to 10 words. Typing How do I use Access's Attachment data type? in the text box and clicking Go returned the thread from the microsoft.public.access.modulesdaovba newsgroup whose header is shown in Figure 3.37. The thread contains very detailed answers to the question.

Figure 3.37

Figure 3.37 Microsoft newsgroups, such as microsoft.public.access.modulesdaovba and its siblings, supplement local help files and online help.

Clicking the Support Knowledge Base link executes a Knowledge Base search with Access 2007 as the search product and the quoted phrase as the search term. The first search results page contains Show Me links for Access 2007 and Access. Clicking Access 2007 opens the page shown in Figure 3.38, which adds Need More Help? and Recent KB Articles links.

Figure 3.38

Figure 3.38 Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) articles are another good source of information on Access bugs, issues, and anomalies.

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