Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a Microsoft Access based tool that lacks the reporting capability I need. The tool is able to extract extract each table from its relational database as a separate CSV file. These files aren't too easily read by humans, since you need to cross reference the IDs from each file.

I need to create something that will allow my team to generate periodic reports - usually with the same format and information, and I will not be there to help them in future. There seems to be two options: (1) Create an Excel spreadsheet that uses many complex nested formulas to combine the CSV files, or (2) use MS Access, a tool I'm unfamiliar with, to generate Excel reports.

What would you recommend?

In particular, is it possible to create something with MS Access that will allow anyone to then generate Excel reports, even if they only have the free MS Access Runtimes rather than an expensive full copy of MS Access?

share|improve this question
Access has a built-in reports module. You said the source data is in the relational database. Why can't you just build a report in Access that they can run? It's so much easier to build a report in something that has knowledge of the database schema than to use something like Excel. And yes, Access Runtime should be enough, if you do it right. – allquixotic Feb 21 '13 at 22:55
Also, you may be able to load up the Access database in OpenOffice Base as a data source and create your reports there. OpenOffice is free. – allquixotic Feb 21 '13 at 22:57
@allquixotic double upvoted you know your stuff. Thanks for helping inform the community with spot on clear and concise answers. – Griffin Feb 21 '13 at 23:18

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.