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Weekly Computer Tip # 107
9 April 2005

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Finding and organising data using filters (Microsoft Access)

This week's tip was featured earlier this week in my monthly column in the Cambridge Evening News business section. But following requests from my weekly tip subscribers (hi, dad!) I'll share the tip with you via this medium. The tip describes how you can find and organise your data in Access using filters. If you're not sure about queries, creating a filter is a quick, simple method to view - and work with - only specific records in a table.

Here's how:

  1. Find one of the records containing the value or text you want to match and place your cursor anywhere in that field. To help you locate the particular record Access provides a Find feature and can be used as follows:
  2. Choose the Edit, Find command, or click on the Find button on the toolbar.
  3. In the Find and Replace dialog box enter the value or text you're looking for.
  4. Optionally, choose any necessary search options such as select the table from the Look In box to search through all fields in all records or select the Any Part of Field Match option.
  5. Click on the Find Next button.
  6. Click on the Cancel button to close the dialog box.
  7. With the cursor located in the field you want to match, click on the Filter By Selection button on the toolbar.

That's all! The records are filtered, and the selected records are displayed and can be modified as normal. To remove the filter, click on the Remove Filter button on the toolbar.

Cannot find the buttons or don't like using buttons? Well, as you are no doubt aware Microsoft seems determined to prove the saying that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Being the cat lover that I am, I don't think you should skin them, but if you prefer a different method you might want to have a look at the Records, Filter, Filter By Selection command. Which reminds me of another way of filtering records ... Filter Excluding Selection, which is the opposite of Filter By Selection as it displays all records except those containing a specific entry. And for those of you who love right mouse clicks ... clicking the right mouse button in a Y/N check box will allow you to filter fields containing true or false data.

Finally, if your filter must satisfy multiple conditions, check out the Filter By Form button. Or to go back to that old saying ... choose the Records, Filter, Filter By Form command.

Oh, and by the way, a filter is saved with a table and can't be reused unless you save it as a query. How? ... With the filter displayed in the Filter By Form window or the Advanced Filter/Sort window, click the Save As Query button on the toolbar. (Or to prove that saying one more time ... choose the File, Save As Query command.)

Until next week.

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April 2005