b ACCESS FREE

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This utility allows you to work with Microsoft® Access® without macro alerts for your known Database files that contain macros, while maintaining the highest virus security level settings for all others Database files, thus increasing Access security and productivity. Other features include the ability to specify Access startup and Database file open options. Supported Access Startup Options: the Access version (where more than one Access version is installed), whether to start as a new instance, and the startup window style (normal, maximized, minimized or hidden). Supported Database File Open Options: exclusive mode and password to open. This is a useful tool for all Access users, from a normal user thought to power users and script programmers.

Please Note the term Database File implies any type of Access File (.adp, .mdb, .mde, .accdb or .accde)

Basically, Access Free is a small, single file standalone executable that doesn’t need installation. It’s flexible in its application (the way it can be used) and does not change any Access or Windows settings, unless you specify the optional file extension association. The idea is quite simple, instead of directly starting Msaccess.exe (directly or by file association), AccFree.exe is used to start and control the boot-up process of Access.exe and your Database file.

When AccFree.exe is started, it first looks in the command line for a Database filename and if present will immediately open it without any macro alerts. If AccFree.exe has been renamed it will look for a Database file with the same name and open it without any macro alerts. If no file name is specified, AccFree.exe will then either act on any command line argument switches or simply start a dialog box allowing you specify options or a Database filename.

To specify an Access version, if there is more than one installed, and configure its start, keep the Shift key pushed while the AccFree.exe is loading. An alert and then a form are shown with available options. The settings that you specify will be saved in an .INI file in the same folder as AccFree.exe, thus you can have different AccFree.exe copies on your computer with different Access versions and different start settings. You can also specify with priority the Access version and a start setting thru arguments in the command line.

Access Free is flexible, thus you can open a Database file without macro alert of four ways depending on your specific needs:

1 - Renaming the executable AccFree.exe to the Database file name

2 - Put the Database file name as argument in the command line in scripts and Windows shortcuts

3 - Associating file extensions

4 - Through the Access standard open file dialog box

1 - Renaming the executable AccFree.exe to the Database file name

Copy AccFree.exe to the folder where the Database file is located and simply rename AccFree.EXE to the Database file name (keeping .EXE file extension). When you launch the renamed executable, Access Free will recognize that its name has been changed and will look for and opens the Database file with the same name.

For example: For YourDatabase.mdb in C:\MyDocuments, the AccFree.exe would be copied to C:\MyDocuments and renamed to YourDatabase.exe. When this renamed exe is launched, YourDatabase.mdb will be immediately opened in the Access without any macro alert.

Other example: If you as a developer start your application through of a file of name MyApp.adp containing macros. You may rename the AccFree.exe file to MyApp.exe, put it in the same folder of MyApp.adp and create a shortcut on Windows Start Menu for MyApp.exe, when clicked, will open immediately the MyApp.adp file on Access without any macro alerts and also optionally, with a different version of Access and or start settings other than the defaults as set in the windows registry.

Special Names: AccFree.exe has two special names that change the behavior of way Access Free searches for a matching Database file. These names are “Setup.exe” and “Install.exe”, once AccFree.exe has been renamed to either one of these, the matching Database file name criteria will look for the first part matching only. In other words, an exact Database file name match is not required, only the first part need match. Example; AccFree.exe is renamed to Setup.exe and in the same folder there is Database file called SetupApplication.MDB, The Special filename mode will recognize SetupApplication.MDB as a matching file and launch it.

All of the above features allow you to use a Windows short cut to control the launching and environment of a Database file in Access. This can also be very useful in the creation of Autorun CD’s or Zip VBA installer packages. See Autorun CD and Zip Installer Package below.

2 - Put the Database file name as argument in the command line in scripts and Windows shortcuts

In the AccFree.exe command line in a Windows shortcut or in a script (bat, vbs, vba etc.) put the Database file full path & name after a space. For example:

...\AccFree.exe C:\MyDocuments\YourDatabase.mdb

The AccFree.ini file together the AccFree.exe will define the Access version (if there is more than one installed), and its start setting, but you can still force a different version and start settings by putting arguments before the Database file name which also supports * and ? wildcard characters and criteria via / Wfc:n argument to filter a single file, if more than one file meets the wildcards. For example, to open the latest saved YourDatabase*.mdb from C:\MyDocuments\ folder on Access 9.0 (2000) in a maximized window the command line would be:

 ...\AccFree.exe /V09 /WSmx /Wfc:4 C:\MyDocuments\YourDatabase*.mdb

The possible command line arguments here are as follows:

/V08 - Open in Access 97, if installed

/V09 - Open in Access 2000, if installed

/V10 - Open in Access 2002 (XP), if installed

/V11 - Open in Access 2003, if installed

/V12 - Open in Access 2007, if installed

/V14 - Open in Access 2010, if installed

/V15 - Open in Access 2013, if installed

/V16 - Open in Access 2016, if installed

/VExe:"name of the Msaccess.exe file here" - Path and name of an Msaccess.exe file in an active drive to be used directly. If you specify just the file name or a partial path, the Access Free will search the file completing the path. First, it attempts to complete from the folder where it is and then from the root of each active drive on the current computer, using immediately the first found (Quotation marks are required if the path and name contain any spaces)

/WSmx - Open with Access window in maximized style

/WSn - Open with Access window in normal style

/WSMi - Open with Access window in minimized style

/WSh - Open with Access window in hidden style

/NewI - Open always in new Access instance

/Psw:"your password here" - Password to open the Database file (Quotation marks are required if the password contains any spaces)

/Excl - Open in exclusive mode

/Wfc:n - Criteria to filter a single file when using * and ? wildcards and more than one name satisfy. Where n can be:

0 - To filter the first returned by the VB Dir() function without sorting (random)

1 - To filter the first, if ordered 0-1, A-Z. E.g. abc2010-12-20.mdb, if abc2010-12-20.mdb, abc2010-12-21.mdb, and abc2010-12-22.mdb

2 - To filter the last, if ordered 0-1, A-Z. E.g. abc2010-12-22.xls, if abc2010-12-20.mdb, abc2010-12-21.mdb, and abc2010-12-22.mdb

3 - To filter the oldest, if ordered by last modified date saved

4 - To filter the latest, if ordered by last modified date saved

5 - To filter the largest, if ordered by size in Kb on the disc

6 - To filter the smallest, if ordered by size in Kb on the disk.

3 - Associating file extensions

You can associate the *.adpf, *.mdbf and *.mdef file extensions to the AccFree.exe application. Then you rename or save your desired alert free Database file(s) with one of these extensions.

Example: YourDatabase.mdb could be renamed or saved as YourDatabase.mdbf

The association is registered in the Windows Register and there are two ways to make or un-make the file association, method 1 is via the AccFree.exe dialog box and method 2 is via the command line.

Method 1, using the dialog box: Launch AccFree.exe and from the dialog box, click the Associate or UnAssociate button to register or unregister the association.

Method 2, using command line arguments:

/RegF - Associate the file extensions to AccFree.exe in the Windows register

/UnregF - Unsassociate the extensions from AccFree.exe in the Windows register

/S - Make in silence.

Example: C:\Apps\AccFree.exe /RegF /S

The Association will be made to the path & name of the AccFree.exe application. Be careful not to make the association when AccFree.exe is localized in unreliable location such as a CD, removable drive or over a network.

4 - Opening files through the Access standard open file dialog box

As it was briefly explained above, when AccFree.exe is launched, it obeys the following priority sequence to open files in the Access:

(1) Search for a file name passed as argument in the command line

(2) Search for a file in its folder that has same name of its .exe but with  .adp ou (3) .mdb, (4) .mde, (5) .accdb or (6) .accde extension

(7) Finally, if no file name be found in the above sequence, it shows a dialog box. Click the “Open in Access” button to launch Access with its standard open file dialog box ready to locate a file to be opened without macro alert

Any Access version can be used at any security level (Low, Medium or High).

Download:

Tested with the Microsoft Access for Windows,  versions 97 (See Note), 2000, 2002(XP), 2003, 2007, 2010 (32 and 64-bit), 2013 (32 and 64-bit), and 2016 (32 and 64-bit) in MSI-based and Click-To-Run installations of Office 365™ cloud-based services.

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Download the English version here   
You also can download from this mirror site   
Last update: 02/20/2017 - 66.2kb   
Freeware based in this License Agreement   

See also Excel Free for Microsoft Excel®, PowerPoint Free for Microsoft PowerPoint®, and Word Free for Microsoft Word.

And see also DBtoEXE which has some similar features, but with different approach and targets.

Increasing Access Security and Productivity

Macros are the key for extracting the true power of Access, taking it to an extremely useful work tool capable of powerful interactive and interfacing features with unlimited amounts several data type crunching capability, and unfortunately at the same time open an avenue for malicious software to be hidden in seemingly innocent Database files.

Many users turn the Access security to the highest level to protect themselves, losing the true power of Access, others use a medium or low level of security to allow these powerful features, however with one careless click of the mouse, the user runs a significant risk of opening a file containing malicious macros.

This is where Access Free comes into play; Access Free can be used to significantly increase the security level of your environment by allowing Access to have the absolute Highest Level of Security Set, disabling all macros from unknown files, while at the same time allowing selected Database files to run powerful macros seamlessly.

Instead of Access Free, you could use the Access security features to set trusted locations or register trusted macro publishers, however these solutions are not simple or suitable for immediate use. They may require administrative rights and appropriate security levels, and can end up accumulating many Windows Registrations that are no longer required.

Autorun CD

Access Free features make it easy to create Autorun CDs such that, when the CD is inserted, it will open automatically a Database file in Access without macro alert.

Suppose that you want to make a CD that opens your Database file automatically; in this case MyApp.adp. Follow these three steps:

1 - Copy the AccFree.exe and rename it to MyApp.EXE

2 - Using Windows Notepad, create a text file and save it as AUTORUN.INF with these two lines:

[autorun]

OPEN=MyApp.EXE

3 - Burn the CD with these files on the root:

MyApp.adp

MyApp.EXE

AUTORUN.INF

Optionally you can also have your own application Icon by adding the ICON name to the AUTORUN.INI and adding the MyApp.ico icon file to the CD’s root directory.

[autorun]

OPEN=MyApp.EXE

ICON=MyApp.ico

Icon files can be created by an icon application like Microangelo (www.impactsoft.com).

Zip Installer Package

Access Free features make it easy to create Zip installer package totally programmed in VBA such that, when Setup.exe (Setup.exe or Install.exe) is clicked in a Zip package, Zip will automatically extract all the files to a temporary folder, runs the Setup program and, after this completed, delete the temporary installation files and folder.

This process requires a VBA project in Database file to run the actual installation process.

The steps required to create a package are;

1 - Create a new folder (for the installation files) eg “\MyApp”

2 - Copy to this folder all the files required for the installation

3 - Also copy the Database file with the VBA project to run the actual Installation process and with the name properly started by 'Setup' or 'Install' or still 'Instl_' e.g. Setup_MyApp.MDB

4 - Copy AccFree.exe to this folder and rename it to Setup.exe

5 - Start Setup.exe while holding down the ‘Shift’ key and click OK to the alert – This will bring up the Access Free options form. Make any appropriate changes, and then click ‘Open in Access’. This will create the Setup.INI file and still test the package launching the Setup_MyApp.MDB

6 - Right click the folder (“\MyApp”) and ask the Winzip to create a zip of it.

That’s it. Remember you can use either Setup.exe or Install.exe and have to make the Database file name equal or started by 'Setup' or 'Install' or still 'Instl_'. If you want to avoid that the Database file is opened in the Access when clicking inside the Zip, protect it with a password or change its extension to ADPf, MDBf, or MDEf.

In this site, you can see some examples of Zip packages using Access Free like the AccessCalendar.zip. Indeed, all COM add-ins for Access available on the site have their installers and uninstallers fully programmed in VBA in MDB files that are packaged with other required files in two ways: converting to EXE using DBtoEXE or zipping using Access Free. This zip package is always available as a second alternative for those who cannot download executables or for those advanced users who want to open zip packages with more options and installation control, but with similar functionality of the EXE package:

Active Teach Ribbon for Microsoft® Access®

Popup Spell Number for Microsoft® Access®

Popup Calendar for Microsoft® Access®

Popup Calculator for Microsoft® Access®

 

Acknowledgements

I would to thank the assistance of Peter Kowald from Australia. He really improved this Access Free document with great texts and insights.

 

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