Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Access Data Types
stores the files you add to an attachment field as part of your table, embedded inside
your database file.
The Attachment data type is a good choice if you need to insert a picture for a
record, a short sound file, or even a document from another Office application like
Word or Excel. You could create a People table with a picture of each person in your
contact list, or a product catalog with pictures of the wares you’re selling. In these
cases, attachments have an obvious benefit—because they’re stored inside your
database file, you never lose track of them.
However, attachments aren’t as graceful with large files, or files you need to modify
frequently. If you place a frequently modified document into an Access database, it
isn’t available on your hard drive for quick editing, printing, and searching. Instead,
you need to fire up Access, and then find the corresponding record before you can
open your document. If you want to make changes, then you also need to keep
Access open so it can take the revised file and insert it back into the database.
Tip: Think twice before you go wild with attachments. As you’ve already learned, an Access database
is limited to two gigabytes of space. If you start storing large files in your tables, you just may run out
of room. Instead, store large documents in separate files, and then record the file name in a text or
When you use the Attachment data type, make sure you set the Caption field
property, which determines the text that appears in the column header for that field. (Of-
ten, you’ll use the field name as the caption.) If you don’t set a caption, the column
header shows a paper clip but no text.
You’ll recognize an attachment field in the datasheet because it has a paper-clip icon
next to it (Figure 26-17).
Attachments are flagged with a
paper-clip icon and a number
in brackets, which tells you how
many files are attached. In this
example, all the values in the Picture
attachment field are empty except
Count Chocula, which has two.
To attach a file or review the list of attached files, double-click the paper-clip icon.
You’ll see the Attachments dialog box (see Figure 26-18).