So recently at work someone had been asking if SharePoint is able to become usable for data entry from both MS Access and SharePoint. One of his reasons was that they are scattered across the nation and accessing a shared drive Access database is not a good use of bandwidth. I’ve done a few things extensively with SharePoint where I append data INTO SharePoint, where I’ve extracted Data FROM SharePoint but I hadn’t really tried using a live list where I could manage my data living ON a list from both Access and SharePoint.
Part of the challenges as I remember was they want the users to be be able to request and add a record (via SharePoint) because manually they’ll send info in an email and it would get put into their team’s Access Database and some things would be extracted from it and some beautiful reports ran.
My thought was, “Why should this be a manual process for the person getting the requests? Why not just put this into SharePoint?” The problem we were running into was the fear there was whether or not the list would behave oddly if it was accepting data from two points because they wanted to still be able to insert data via MS Access DB, not just from the SharePoint UI.
Well, it turns out you can. I’m kind of impressed by it. I played around with my Office365 Team Site and was seemingly able to do both. So someone comfortable enough with MS Access and simply linking a SharePoint List to a MS Database should be able to accomplish what they exactly want by simply creating a form from the Linked SharePoint List and a few buttons (Add, Delete, etc) and they have a data entry form on MS Access to a list that is now hosted on SharePoint.
In a follow-up how to post, I’ll explain the details on linking a SharePoint list to a MS Access Database. Something every Information Worker/Power User should know. In my world, I’m not able to outside sources and stuck with my basic tools. Access is one of my most powerful basic tools.