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Access 2010 lets you easily share data with other users, whether or not they have Access on their computers. One of the easiest ways to share a table or report is saving the data using the Portable Document Format or PDF, or as a XPS file. A PDF file can be opened on any computer using the free Acrobat Reader. XPS files, on the other hand, open in any browser. To save this Customers by Region report as a PDF or XPS, we'll simply click External Data tab on the ribbon and then we'll choose PDF or XPS in the Export group, but while we're here, notice that we could also save this as an Excel spreadsheet, as a text file, as an XML file or we could E-Mail it using any of these formats, but we'll choose PDF or XPS to open the publish as PDF or XPS dialog box.
We'll choose a file type here. I am going to stay with PDF. You can change this name. This is whatever name the report has and click Publish. Notice that the Customers by Region PDF is created very quickly and is displayed here on the right-hand side of the screen. I'm going to close this PDF file, because Access has some other options available for us. We are being prompted to save this group of settings as export steps, basically the report, the name for the file, the file location, and file type, so that we could easily run this export again.
But we can use the choices in this dialog box to be even more proactive about distributing reports in our organization. For example, we get many requests for this Customers by Region's report. Instead of responding to individual emails requesting the report, we could publish this report every week in any shared location, a network share or on a SharePoint site and then we could send an email to all the sales staff letting them know that the current version of the report will always be available in that location.
Let's save our export steps. We can choose this name or another. This is the Weekly report for sales staff and then let's an let's create an Outlook task that will remind us to update this report every week. Click Save export and let's switch to Microsoft Outlook. Here's our task that we just created. The first thing we need to do is we need to set a Recurrence for this. So let's do it every week on Wednesday, good day of the week most people are available on Wednesday if they're in that week.
Notice that this task has a Run Export button built-in right here, so when this task pops up every Wednesday, I can simply open it up, click the Run Export button that asks me "Do I want to run that export operation that we just saved in the "database?" And I can say OK and it will automatically create that Acrobat document again in the saved location. But while I'm here, I should spend a moment thinking about whether I'm the best person to actually run this report.
This as a sales report and perhaps it would make the most sense to turn the control of this report and accountability for making sure it's published on a weekly basis over to someone in the sales department. So I can click Assign Task and easily assign the task of running this report to someone else while I'm here in Microsoft Outlook. Back in Access, I don't need to wait until Wednesday to run this report. Anytime I wish to run this report, I can click on the Saved exports icon, choose the report, and run it.
I'm prompted to replace the document that already exists, say Yes, and create a brand-new update with all of the new customer data. With a bit of strategy, this new PDF and XPS feature, as well as the Saved export functionality, can help you save a lot of time distributing frequently used reports and other Access data within your organization.
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