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OST - 20.03 Creating a Microsoft Access Database

Views: 2769 Last Updated: 07/24/2023 02:03 pm 100 Rating/ 1 Voters
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Creating a new database is easy - the software does most of the work for you, and if you use Microsoft Access-type databases, you don't need anything other than OST to create a new database. Microsoft Access database are the default database type - they are perfect for most individual users. If you need a bigger database or need to share a database with other users, flip to the next article and read about using Microsoft SQL type databases.

By default, Access databases are stored at "C:\OCS Documents\OST" although this location may be changed by setting a new "Database Folder" location in Tools > Options > Folders.

Access databases must not be shared (opened by more than one person at a time) or stored on a network drive.  To share data with other users, use an SQL database.  See the next article for instruction on creating a Microsoft SQL Database.

Create an Access Database

On-Screen Takeoff makes creating new databases very easy.  The program does all the hard work for you.

  • Click File > New > Database, or
  • Click the New icon drop down then click Database, or
  • Right-click anywhere within the Bids Tab and select New > Database from the Context Menu

The New Database Type dialog opens

OST New Database Type Selector pop-up

  • Select "Microsoft Access Database (Most Users)" - the Database Properties (Access) dialog box opens

OST Database Properties dialog box (MS Access)

  • To create the database in the default location just type in the name in the File Name box
  • To create the database in a location other than the default location, click the Lookup button and browse to the desired location and enter a file name for the database - the full file location pathway is displayed in the File name field

Database names must not contain special characters such as the following symbols: \ / : * ? ’ ; < > ";  only standard alpha-numeric English characters should be used. 

See CLS - File Path and File Name Character Limitations for more information.

The "Requires login" option is only available after the database is created.  To make the database password protected, follow these steps to create it, add appropriate Estimators to the database,  then come back to Database Properties and check the box for this feature.  See the articles that follow for more information about securing your databases.

  • In the Measure mode field, select either Imperial or Metric as the system of measurement to use.  All UOM boxes in the application are based on this setting.  Do not mix Imperial and Metric Bids in the same database and do not connect an Imperial OST database to a Metric Quick Bid database (and vice versa).
  • Select how often the Auto-backup utility should make a backup copy of the database and indicate the number of backups to retain.  At the scheduled time, performs the auto-backup upon application close.  See the articles that follow for more information on backing up and restoring databases.
  • Set the number of backup copies of the database to be stored in the No. of Backups field - once this number is reached, the program begins overwriting the oldest backup copy of the database. The Default Backup settings only backup your database once a week and only store the two (2) most recent copies of the database. You may want to increase the frequency and number of backups.
  • Select how often the Auto-Compress utility should compress the contents of the database to save hard disk space.  (This is not a substitute for performing routine maintenance on your database, see Related Articles for details on maintaining your databases.)
  • Click OK

The database is created and shown on the Bids Tab.

Connecting to a Microsoft SQL Database Creating a Microsoft SQL Database

Product documentation (user guides) describes functionality in the latest version of each major release and may not match the functionality in the version you are using. Please check the Product Information and Downloads pages by clicking one of the product buttons above.

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