Good Times With Access

Microsoft Access is a brilliant piece of software. Seriously, no-one but Microsoft could so hugely complex yet so rage-inducingly hard to use. The “Find Duplicates Query Wizard” for example. So you’ve combined 17 databases into one only to realise that some of those databases (and you don’t know which ones) are duplicates. “Oh no,” you think to yourself, “this is going to take forever.” So you go to Google and look up the best ways to find duplicates in Access. To your utter amazement you find that Access includes a Find Duplicates Query Wizard which helps you build a complex query through a simple GUI. Wow!

So, you generate your query and Access displays a list of all the duplicated records. “That’s great,” you think to yourself, “now all I’ve got to do is delete them all.” So you do CTRL+A and press delete. Nothing happens. You right click and try to click “delete records” only to find it’s greyed out. “What the fuck, Access?” you shout to the surprise of everyone in the quiet office around you. “What?” says Access, “I found you all the duplicates like I said I would. Now that you know which ones they are you can go through the table and delete them. One at a time. Ahaha! AAaahahaha!! AaaAAAaaaahahahahahahahaaghghahgh!!!! Ow, don’t hit me! Aarghkf;ltnitlion&*^*()^NO CARRIER”.

Update: OK, so I’ve learned something. The table that is returned by that query doesn’t just contain the duplicates, it contains a row with the matching data and an extra column called NumberOfDups which contains the number of rows that match it. This means that if you could delete those rows you’d be deleting all the records that had duplicates as well as the duplicates themselves. Which isn’t what you want. I guess that makes sense but if you’re going to make a tool to find duplicates would it be that hard to extend it so that you can delete those duplicates as well?


About Mr Chimp

I make music, draw pictures, browse the internet, programme, and make sweet, sweet cups of tea until the early hours.
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3 Responses to Good Times With Access

  1. Skilldrick says:

    I had to do TWO joins in an Access database the other day. Microsoft really doesn’t want you to do that! I managed to make it work, but I don’t go near that part of the database anymore, because I only need to look at it for the join to break.

    A SQL query walks into a bar and sees two tables. He walks up to them and says ‘Can I join you?’

  2. Mr Chimp says:


    I think the best tactic is just to not go near access at all.

  3. Skilldrick says:

    I have to say, I much prefer Access to Open Office Base. That’s a real pain in the arse…

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