Microsoft Access (Office) Developer Edition FAQ

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(Updated 2010/09/27)


General Links

Microsoft Office Access 2007 Developer Edition FAQ
Microsoft Access 2000 Developer Edition FAQ
Microsoft Access (Office) Developers Edition (ODE or MOD) Runtime Problems
Microsoft Office Developer Center but it's got a lot more than just Access.
Microsoft Office Developer Office XP and 2000
Microsoft Access (Office) Developer Edition - Random Microsoft Office, MSDN & Knowledge Base Articles
Microsoft Access Developers Edition Service Packs, Release, Patches and Updates

Q: How can I make my Microsoft Access MDB/MDE into an EXE

A: You can't.   However the various Microsoft Access Developer Edition versions allow you to ship your own MDB/MDEs and a runtime version of Access royalty free.  This means the client does not need to own a license for Access.  You can also ship associated files such as OCX/DLLs, help files and other files.  (Note that we strongly discourage using OCXs and DLLs due to the versioning and distribution problems.) If you really want to make an exe out of your MDB/MDE you need to choose a different product.  See Convert Access to Visual Basic, Delphi, Java, ASP or ASP.NET

Q: I get so confused about all the version names.

So do I.  See Microsoft Access Developer Edition versions.

Q: What are the abbreviations in common use?

ADE 2003 or MOD 2003 = Microsoft Office Access 2003 Developer Extensions
MOD XP or MOD 2002 = Microsoft Office XP Developer
ODE 97 = Office Developers Edition 97
ADT 95 = Access Developer's Toolkit 7.0
ADT 2.0 = Microsoft Access (2.0) Developer's Toolkit

Sometimes PDW which means Package & Deployment Wizard.

Q: How can I ensure I have the latest ODE/MOD patches installed?

Note that I'm not discussion the Office patches but patches to the ODE/MOD products installed on you the developers system.  These are not always included as part of the online Microsoft Office Update.  They are also not the same as the Office or Jet patches. See my Microsoft Access Developers Edition Service Packs, Release, Patches and Updates page for details.   Also see Microsoft Office Developer Center Products & Upgrades.

Q: Can I use the MOD 2002 or ADE 2003 to package and ship an Access 2000 MDE?

A: Yes.   I do myself in the Granite Fleet Manager.

Q: How do I start up the MOD/ADE 2003?

It's on the Program Files >> Microsoft Office >> Microsoft Office Access 2003 Developer Extensions >> Package Wizard.

Q: How can I include Office 2003 SP3 and the combo box hotfix in the Access 2003 runtime?

Sascha Trowitzsch, fellow Access MVP went to a lot of work figuring out how to create an Access 2003 runtime with SP3 and the combo box hotfox.  See How to build a deployable Microsoft Access 2003 Runtime with integrated Service Pack 3 which will download a DOC file.

You will likely wish to install the Office 2003 security patches subsequent to SP3 into your runtime using the same techniques as for the hotfix as mentioned in the above document.  While in a test operating system in Virtual PC I ran Microsoft Update and found these extra fixes.  They only added about 20 Kb to the runtime file after SP3 was installed however, using Microsoft Update and the overhead per update it would've been about one Mb per fix.   Painful on dialup.  Also I feel it's much more professional to have things neat and tidy.   

Now in my, so far limited testing, Microsoft Update wanted to pull down the security patches.   I'm going to include the security patches in my runtime anyhow just so I don't leave the clients vulnerable even for the short time until Microsoft Update kicks in.  Also if they are dialup it could be a considerable length of time before the security patches are brought down.

Q. How can I get an older version of the Access/Office Developer Editions?

By Doug Steele, Microsoft Access MVP

Unfortunately Microsoft does not sell previous versions of Office.

One possibility is to check out sites that specialize in old software products, such as Old Software Bought and Sold or Recycled Software.

Another is to look at someplace like eBay to see whether anyone's trying to sell their old versions (Note, though, that products purchased this way aren't always legal...)

Finally, under some circumstances Microsoft will downgrade your current version to a previous version. There are some details about this at Permission: Use of Software and scroll down to Downgrades

Q Can I upgrade my Office <insert your version> Professional to Office Developer?

A: You could for Access 97.  

However Office 2000 and Office 2002 require that you purchase the complete Office Developer version.  This does give you another license for Office Professional as well so it's not an entire waste of money.  Unless, of course, you're a one person shop or similar.

If Office 2003 you can purchase Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System as a separate item.  If you already own a competitive product, which includes ODE 97, MOD 2000 or MOD 2002 then it's a good bargain.   You also get Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Developer Edition and Microsoft Visual Basic .NET.

Q: What about spell checking?

You can't redistribute Microsoft's Spell Checking modules. 

Packaging an Access 97 runtime with SageKey/Wise will allow Spell Check to be called from Office 97, if present, and if the runtime is Access 2002, Spell Check can be utilized from Office 2000 or XP, if present.  This may work for the Microsoft Runtime but I wouldn't count on this approach for either situation.

The only third party utility mentioned in the newsgroups is WinterTree Software Sentry Spelling Checker Windows SDK. Spellex Corporation might work as it is DLL based.

FMS Inc did have a spell checker but their Total Access Speller was only redistributable with Access 2.0.

Q. How can I tell if my app is running under a developer edition?

A: SysCmd(acSysCmdRuntime)

Q: How can I test what the runtime user will see on my own system?

Use the /runtime command line argument (switch) by creating a shortcut where the target reads: "C:\Program Files\Office\MSACCESS.EXE" "C:\Database\database.mde" /runtime It's not perfect but it will help testing startup, menus and right click items.  This is not enough testing if you are going to distribution third party controls, OCXs, DLLs or other files.

Q: What differences are users going to see with the runtime?

See the KB articles below.

Q: What versions of Windows will my Access <insert version> runtime work on?

The same as for the full version of Microsoft Office.   See  Office XP System Requirements for details and links to the older versions.  To summarize :
Office 2007 will run on Windows XP or newer
Office 2003 will run on Windows 2000 SP3 or newer but not Windows 98 or ME or NT 4.0
Office 2002/XP will run on Windows 98, ME, NT 4.0 with SP6, or Windows 2000 or newer;
Office 2000 and Office 97 will run on Windows 95 and newer.

Note that while you can install Access 2003 runtime on Windows 98 or NT 4.0 you will get a highly misleading message when you attempt to execute the runtime.  I don't recall the message right now or I'd document it here.

Q: How can I test my distribution package?

A: You really, really want to test your distribution package if you are shipping any OCXs or DLLs with your app.   You can avoid the use of many of the Microsoft OCX/DLLs by visiting Common Microsoft Access OCX replacements.

One option is to have another PC with various OSs installed on it.  However this becomes cumbersome and wastes a lot of time when you need to setup an new clean system.   Unless you use some disk imaging software.

Creating a clean system using VMWare or Virtual PC comes in very handy for this kind of thing.  Rather than having to allocate a removable hard drive for each OS and waste time rebooting and pulling things in and out you just copy a hard drive image.  Granted the image is one or two GB in size but I can live with that.

Q: How can I distribute different Access version runtimes on one CD?

See Microsoft Access Runtime Setup Switcher utility. 

Q: Do I need anything specific for Terminal Server?

Yes, for distributing the Access 2000 runtime you need the Access 2000 Runtime Transform for Terminal Server.  This isn't required for Access 2002/XP or newer.

Q: In Access 2000 how can I
allow a data path to be specified for a Front End/Back End installation.
allow a shortcut icon to be specified.
allow a working directory

See Microsoft Access 2000 Package and Deployment Wizard Setup Modifications

Q: How can I set the application or shortcut icon?

By Chris Mills

Application Icon:
This can be set through Tools, Startup, Application Icon

Shortcut Icon:
This depends on which version of Access you have:
 - MOD2000, the Icon cannot be set.
 - MOD2002, there is a screen that allows you to set up the icons.

If you are referring to MOD2000, please refer also to Distributing Custom Icons with Your Microsoft Office 2000 Applications

Q: In MOD2002 I get a "Invalid Procedure Call or Argument" message during setup.


Error was caused by adding quote marks around the path to the mdb in the command line of the icon configuration in the PDW setup
This causes the setup error: "$(ARTFolder)\MSAccess.exe" "$(AppPath)\MyDb.mde" The following works: "$(ARTFolder)\MSAccess.exe" $(AppPath)\MyDb.mde Quote marks around the path to the Access.exe appear to be acceptable but not around the mdb path..!!

Cost me a whole day :-[

Q: The installation stops with "language not found" error.
Visual Basic 6.0 Setup toolkit:
The Office System Pack cannot be installed on this system because the languages are not the same. Install the Office System Pack for the appropriate language on your computer.

1) Change the regional settings to English US.

2) Manually run "osp.msi" which is included in the runtime directory of the deployment cd. This effectively upgrades the users machine in the same way that the installation routine should. After the osp.msi file has installed, you can then run the setup routine again and the fault will not occur.

Also see Type mismatch error while installing a localized MS-Access 2000 application

Q: Can I use the Winzip Self Extractor to distribute my Access runtime package?

A: Not recommended for the Access runtime.    If you use the Software Installation option when setting up the Winzip Self Extractor this works until you go to uninstall the runtime.  Then the MSI logic in the Control Panel can't find the original install file as it was in the Windows temp folder (which is likely in C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Local Settings\Temp).  If however you do need to uninstall the routine then you can use the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility.

I'm still thinking about this option so I might just figure out some means of running a little utility program which does the registry cleanup myself.

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