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Chapter 10: Using Additional Tools

(This is section 1 of 5 in this chapter)

In many ways, Access is more than just a plain database manager. One of the biggest evidences of this is the additional tools that Microsoft chose to include with Access. These tools are not necessarily related to making your data easier to use, but to making it easier to create. Thus, the tools can be viewed as helping you improve the validity of your data by making it more correct than it would be without the use of the tools.

By the time you finish this chapter, you will understand the following key concepts:

Using the Spell Checker

Although Access can be viewed as an individual program, in reality it is part of the Office 2000 suite of products. As such, it shares several tools in common with other Office products. One of these tools is the spell checker, which allows you to check the spelling of words in your database.

The spell-checking program used in Microsoft Office (and therefore in Access) does not just allow you to check the spelling in a table. You can, in addition, check the spelling of any database object that is ultimately based on a table. Thus, you can check the spelling of a table, query, view, or form.

The next couple of sections describe how to utilize this tool.

Spell Checking Your Data

Before you can check the spelling of your data, you must first select the database object that you want to spell check. For instance, if you want to check the spelling of data in a particular table, you must first select the table. You can select the object at the Database window, or you can open the object before starting the spell checker.

If you want to only spell check a particular portion of your data, you can also select the rows or columns before initiating the spell checker. This, obviously, is best done when viewing the Datasheet for a table or query.

Once you have selected what you want checked, there are three ways you can start to use the spell checker. Any of the following will do the trick:

Regardless of the method you choose, Access begins to compare the text of the data in your database object to its built-in list of words. If Access finds an error, it highlights the word in the Datasheet or form, displays the Spelling dialog box, and waits for your response. Figure 10-1 shows an example of what you would see if you started to spell check the My Friends table developed in earlier chapters of this book.

Figure 10-1 Access includes a full-featured spell checker.

The Spelling dialog box shows you the word Access suspects as being incorrect, along with any suggestions for changing. The buttons in the dialog box provide several different ways for you to proceed:

Most often you will select one of the proffered suggestions and then click your mouse on Change, or you will simply click your mouse on the Ignore button. The Ignore All button is another commonly used button; it is great for commonly recurring names, which are easily flagged as being misspelled. After clicking your mouse on a button, Access continues on its quest for misspelled words. If any other problems are found, you are given the same opportunity to make changes.

Adding Custom Words

Chances are good that your individual use of Access will be somewhat different than the way in which other people use the program. This is nowhere more evident than in the use of the spell checker. You may use words in your data that are unique to your work or circle of friends. Fortunately, Access provides a way you can easily build your own dictionary of custom words.

Take a look back at the Spelling dialog box in Figure 10-1. Notice that there is an Add button in the dialog box. If you click your mouse on this button when Access is suggesting a spelling correction, the word that Access thought was incorrect is added to your custom dictionary. You will not be asked again if the word is incorrect.

It is a good idea to add words to the custom dictionary as necessary. In this way you can force Access to match your spelling needs without requiring you to always ignore errors that Access thinks it has found.

Note: Any words you add to your custom dictionary are automatically remembered and used by other Office 2000 applications. Thus, any words you add to the custom dictionary in Access will also be available in Word, and vice versa.

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