When Things Slow Down, What Should You Do?
We're approaching the darkest days of winter. The
days are getting shorter and shorter. The weather has
turned distinctly cold, especially here in New England.
People start to close up their houses tightly to keep
the cold air out. They cover their outside bushes in
preparation for the coming snow. They generally
batten down the hatches. It's a time when life slows
When our lives slow down, it can be a good thing. It's
a chance to relax, regenerate, and recharge our
batteries. Occasionally, when you're working with
access databases, you'll find that things have slowed
down as well.
When working with Access though, it is almost never a
good thing to be looking at an hourglass after you've
given a command. That's a sign that you have a
problem someplace in your system that is causing a
lot of work behind the scenes and frustration to you
and your user. This month, we'll take a look at
something very easy to do that can dramatically speed
up your application.
Have you ever noticed that when you're typing a form
and misspell a word, Access will correct your spelling
error? This can be both a very good and a very bad
thing. If you are a poor typist, like I am, this can be a
lifesaver. This feature is especially helpful in
applications like Microsoft Word, which primarily deals
with words. In Access, however, the primary focus is
on data not words.
There is a feature in Access that, by default, performs
this spell-check function. It's called auto correct. It's
the feature that automatically checks your spelling as
you type. However, it can chew up a lot of resources.
If you don't have much going on with your machine, or
you have a very powerful machine, then you might not
notice the problem. If you are a multi-tasker and have
several programs open doing a lot of work in the
background, the AutoCorrect feature may be slowing
|How to Shut Off Name AutoCorrect
From the menu at the top of the screen, choose Tools
This will bring you to a screeen where you can set
application-wide options. If you click on the general
tab, you'll see a picture
similar to the one below. Depending upon your
version of Access, your picture may be slightly different.
Name AutoCorrect is on the right hand side. Unclick
the "Track name AutoCorrect" box. This will deactivate
that feature, and speed things up. Whether or not the
pickup in speed is perceptible depends on how
large a performance problem you had.
|An Important Caveat
There is a very important downside though: From this
point on, if you make a spelling error, Access will
neither detect nor correct it.
So you must be careful and check your spelling. There
are ways to get around this drawback, see this
Tip of the Month for a suggestion.
Tip of the Month - How to Manually Invoke the Spellchecker
If you're a heavy user of Microsoft Word, you're used to
hitting the F7 key when you want to check your
spelling. That feature is available across all the Office
products - including Microsoft Access.
If you have turned off the automatic spellchecker, as
we have done in this month's Wizard, or if you need to
recheck something that you previously entered, you
can invoke the spelling engine that comes with Office
by pressing the F7 key if you are in a form, a table, or a
query that allows record updating. Note that it will only
detect the data you're working with, not your entire
Be aware, of course, the spellchecker may object to
many legitimate things. That is to be expected, since
you're working in a database, not a word-centric
document. However, it is nice check to avoid those
embarrassing spelling errers.