The Access Wizard Newsletter Tips, Tricks, and Traps for Access Users and Developers
December 2009

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 down.

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.

In this Issue
  • Tip of the Month - How to Manually Invoke the Spellchecker
  • Database Options
  • How to Shut Off Name AutoCorrect
  • An Important Caveat

  • Database Options

    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 you down.

    How to Shut Off Name AutoCorrect

    From the menu at the top of the screen, choose Tools | Options.

    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 month's 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 application.

    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.

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