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on 12 October 2015
Unlike earlier editions of this book, the 2013 version of Access Inside-Out is a positively slimline ~800 pages. So how, you might be wondering, did MS Press manage to cram in all the extra new features of Access 2013 into such a slimline tome? The answer is: they didn't bother. Instead, fully 75% [the first 600 pages] are spent entirely on discussing the Sharepoint/Web integration that comes as a new feature in Access 2013. From a desktop user's perspective, the book scrapes by with 3 chapters: one on the user interface, one on designing tables and one on modifying table design. The paper edition covers nothing of value on macros, writing applications, queries, reports or any of the multitude other features that Access supports.

However, these aspects of the book (Chapters 12 through 27) are included in "PDF Only" format, which you can get via download from the MS Press web site when you register your copy of the book [personal email details required]. As another example of the web-driven bias of the book, the "sample" files offered have to be uploaded to a Sharepoint site to work... Fine if you work for a company or want to be dependent on a net connection and the Microsoft Cloud, useless for anything else. The is a needless dependency, likely designed to encourage people to adopt the MS Cloud service, but forcing it into the book seems pointless.

The real issue from my perspective, however, is that unlike previous copies of the Inside Out series, the 2013 edition does not provide a complete copy of the book in PDF form as an enclosed CD with the paper copy. If you want this you have to *buy* a second copy of the book, for the delightful sum of an extra $39.99 [plus the currency conversion charges levied if you are not a US citizen]. The reasoning for this is hinted at within the MS Press web site itself, where it explains that if you do purchase an "eBook copy" [i.e. complete PDF] then your copy will be "personalised" with your own name embedded in it as a watermark. This strongly suggests that Microsoft have done this because people were buying and sharing the PDF copies of the book. Well, OK, but why charge another £39.99 for something that up until this release was free? That's just blatant profiteering...

So: Access 2013 Inside Out is likely to be of interest for anyone wanting to use Access to Develop complex web applications they plan to host via Sharepoint. It does have another 900 pages of "traditional" Access content available via download only [no CD] and if you'd like an electronic copy of the portion that *is* provided on paper, that will cost you another $39.99...

1. Good introduction to "Access for the Web" and Sharepoint integraiton

1. The traditional use of databases has been relegated to chapters carried only in a downloadable, watermarked, PDF
2. The fonts size of the paper book remains offensively small at 4 point [18 characters to the inch]. Most books publish at 10 point [12 characters to the inch] and good ones at 12 point [10 characters to the inch].
3. If you want to work with a purely electronic copy [i.e. to avoid going blind thanks to the stupidly small print size], you will have to pay out another $40... [if this was your intent then don't buy the paper edition - go direct to the MS Press web site and get the eBook version].

On balance, even if you're in need of a book covering the integration from Access to Sharepoint, I'd have to recommend that you look somewhere else. This publication does not deserve your patronage.
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on 28 November 2013
Finally a book with a focus on the web-based Access 2013. Other Access 2013 books (including the not-too-bad Access 2013: The Hidden Manual) focus instead on the desktop features of Access 2013, with only a small chapter about the web features. This one starts immediately with the extraordinary capacities of the web features, and it does it brilliantly, combining simple explanations with powerful macros and examples. Note that you can easily start by buying a cheap Microsoft Office 365 subscription for yourself.
I haven't gone through all the example databases available but they all look very impressive. It is clearly a thorough book. It is self-explained and without jargon.
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on 13 November 2013
The book has a lot of useful stuff in it - I have bee using MS Access since the late 90s, but there is more to learn with each new version of Access, and this book has certainly helped me to get up to speed with the new features of Access 2013 which I need to know about. However, a large proportion of the more advanced material provided by the book is contained in downloadable documents rather than the printed book itself. This would be OK if there were a comprehensive TOC and index, but unless I am mistaken these do not exist.

Colin Bright
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on 28 December 2013
I purchased this book to update myself on Access as until recently I was operating Access 2003. A change of computer gave me Access 2013 and I felt I had a lot to catch up on.

I'm a bit disappointed with the book as it seems to concentrate on developing web site applications. There is the opportunity to download further chapters with what is described as desktop applications but this was not clear when I purchased the book.

It is not the books fault but the screenshots are the "wishy- washy" pale grey of the latest versions of Office and are not the easiest to read therefore.

To sum up, a good detailed book for developing a web based database, but not what I thought was "on the tin"
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on 31 December 2015
Terrible Product.
1. Only covers web side of developing Access Applications. Only 12 out of the 27 chapters of this book are in the printed version. 9 of these are about the web aspect. 3 then are devoted to Desktop Apps.
2. Print quality is appalling. Font is small, pictures are very poorly printed, to the extent of being illegible.

I have the 2003 version of this book which is about as comprehensive as they get. Obviously, it's fairly out of date now, and I wanted a comprehensive 'Inside Out' manual for the current version of the software. Fair enough, you get access to the online content...... IF I'D WANTED AN EBOOK I WOULDN'T HAVE BOUGHT THE BOOK!!!!
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on 5 October 2013
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author, though not specifically for the purpose of doing a review.

Jeff Conrad knows his stuff and is very able at explaining how to best use Access 2013. I am an Access developer and hence have concentrated on those things which are most important for me in my job, but it seems to me that the book will be very useful for those only just starting to use Access.

Access 2013 has no extra functionality on the "old", non-web side of things and the effort has been put into making Access 2013 able to create good web databases. Jeff Conrad does an excellent job of explaining clearly how to get the best out of the stuff Access 2013, while still explaining desktop functionality in Part II of the book. The book has some companion material which provides examples.

Microsoft documentation for Access 2013 is severely lacking, i.e. almost non-existent, and this book takes you carefully through the new functionality, which is very different from that of Access 2010 on the web side of things. Along the way are sidebars and notes which contain some gems of information.

I have used the Kindle version of this book, which I find particularly useful since I have two screens with my PC. This allows me to have the book open on one screen while I work on the other. Having an e-book version also makes it extremely easy to search the book for items.

Jeff Conrad is part of the Access development team at Microsoft so it is not surprising he understands it well. However, he also has the ability to explain things well and that is what makes this book so useful. If you haven't started to use Access 2013 yet, it would help you greatly to go through the relevant parts of this book before you start trying to use Access 2013. I would think you will save yourself a great deal of time if you do.

One question I have though. Access 2013's web design functionality is capable of being updated significantly as time goes by and without having to wait for the next version of Access. It has already had "cascading comboxes" added (something which should really have been in the original release). I'll be interested to see if this book is updated in a similar manner (or, at least, the e-book versions).
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