Archive for February, 2010

Feb
26

The Look and Feel of Outlook 2010

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When designing Outlook 2010, we worked hard to ensure that the colors, shapes, and text used within the product provide a pleasant experience and make it easy for you to get work done. We have done this by redesigning parts of the user interface to give Outlook a clean, crisp, high-quality look that is free from distracting visual elements. By simplifying many parts of the user interface, we’ve allowed your e-mail messages and meetings to shine in the foreground better than ever before! Let’s take a look at some examples of how the new visuals improve Outlook.


For instance, in the screenshots below, notice how the new look of the Navigation Pane buttons is simpler. We have removed the glassy blue gradients and bright orange selection color so that the buttons are less distracting and more refined. For more about the changes in the Navigation Pane, see Melissa’s earlier post.












 



Microsoft Office Outlook 2007


Outlook 2010


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The To-Do Bar and Navigation Pane have been darkened in Outlook 2010 – this makes your message list and reading pane pop out from the surface of Outlook so that it is easier to focus on the content that matters – your messages!









 

 

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We also flattened and simplified the Calendar to achieve the same goals as in the Inbox – to make your content easier to focus on.












 

 

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The ribbon has been simplified as well – notice how buttons and groups of buttons no longer have borders.









 

 

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We have also removed unnecessary visual elements (like the Inbox header below) to provide more room on screen to show your messages.









 

 

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The default theme for Outlook 2010 is the Silver theme, as shown in the screenshots above. In addition to the Silver theme, Outlook 2010 includes two more great color themes — Blue and Black.












 



Outlook 2010 Blue Theme


Outlook 2010 Black Theme


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Outlook 2010 Silver Theme
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To change an Office theme, click the File tab, click Options, and then on the General tab, choose a different color scheme.


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I hope you will agree that Outlook 2010 is the best-looking Outlook, ever! Let me know what you think in the comments!


For more about the goals behind the Office 2010 refresh, see Keri’s post on the Office 2010 Blog.


Tom O’Neill
Outlook Program Manager

Feb
24

Does this Presentation Make Me Look Flat?

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All About PowerPoint’s New Picture Presentation feature.

It is not unusual to hear the criticism that Microsoft employees just design features for themselves. It’s not true; we spend an incredible amount of time seeking out feedback and concerns, then analyzing it, and finally figuring out the best mix of features to satisfy specific customer scenarios. The design decisions around features we do, the performance we target, and workflows we define all require a ton of customer-based investigation and justification.

Every now and then we get specific feedback from customers within Microsoft that we think will resonate broadly outside as well. In PowerPoint 2010 the Save as Picture Presentation was just such a feature.

The feature takes any presentation and “flattens” the content to a single picture per slide. Why? Because once your content is a picture, it is harder to modify. While researching work for Office 2010, we reviewed the workflows of a group within Microsoft that creates our executive’s presentations.  We discovered they were doing this process “by hand.” It was a very time consuming process we thought would be easy to turn into a feature. Steven Winard, Microsoft’s Executive Presentations Manager, summed the situation up for us:

  To make Senior Executive presentation content available to customers, partners, or on the web, we needed a way to protect Microsoft’s copyrighted content.  So it was decided that each slide needed to be converted into a “picture.”  This time consuming task was done by saving the presentation as .JPGs.  The .JPGs needed to be placed into a slide and then saved out; if the slide had a complicated animation, each animation would need to be saved separately.

To better understand this situation, let’s look at the average slide. It’s a collection of objects that “sit” on top of the slide background: text, shapes, charts, and other objects. Because they maintain their unique type, each object can be edited throughout the life of the presentation. That’s a key strength of the presentation document.

slidelayers

Slides are composed of multiple objects, each of which maintains its editablitity.

But for those customers who distribute their presentations, it’s also a potential weakness. We’ve had numerous requests over the years to make distribution of a presentation more secure. To prevent recipients from “borrowing” or modifying parts of the slide content, or even misrepresenting the original author’s intent.

Over many versions we’ve provided many levels of this type of security with features like Password Protection and Information Rights Management. For many, these are successful ways of maintaining control. But many customers have told us that those features go beyond their needs, and are too complex for the people receiving the documents. The fact that author needs to separately communicate passwords or the recipient needs to subscribe to identification services to make them work makes it too clumsy or complex. They want a solution with no dialogs, no distribution restrictions. They want the document to be printable and presentable. These are all reasonable requests.

In reviewing the Executive Presentations scenario we decided that we could provide the same base document they were crafting by hand through the Save As dialog. There would be obvious limits to the feature. Animation would become static and media would not play. However, the creation process would be reduced to seconds, and we could add more functionality to the picture based document that was not available otherwise. The new feature could create a document that preserved transitions and document properties. Many presentations would be much smaller, easier to mail or download. We also take special measures to make sure you can’t save the Picture Presentation back over your original document, which would typically be a very bad thing as you’d lose the possibility of editing the content in the future.

The success of a feature is gauged by the user feedback. Again, Steven Winard:

  In PowerPoint 2010 with the new save as “PowerPoint Picture Presentation,” it’s now as easy as save as, and in less than a minute you are done!  Complex animations still need to be saved manually. Average time spent with this process was 3-5 minutes.

The sample presentation below was created by Save as Picture Presentation using a development build of PowerPoint 2010. It was posted to the Microsoft News Center on October 22nd, 2009, shortly after the Windows 7 launch event. The original presentation was 22mb while the picture presentation is about 1.4mb, making it a much faster download.

10-22Windows7 So, does it look flat?

So, our internal group was satisfied. Still, it’s important to hear from you as well… how well did we do? You can judge for yourself. Download the full presentation here.  You view it with any version of PowerPoint, the PowerPoint Web App on SkyDrive,or the PowerPoint Viewer.

Sure, it’s not a format we expect everyone to use every day. It’s not supposed replace the standard way you save your work. Like many features in PowerPoint, Save as Picture Presentation is a handy tool to have ready when you need it.

Ric Bretschneider
Senior Program Manager
Microsoft PowerPoint

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Update:


We have heard that some Microsoft Outlook 2010 Beta users are experiencing crashes when trying to use the new Outlook Social Connector (OSC) Beta (February Update) that was released today along with the LinkedIn Provider for Outlook.


The OSC that was included with the Outlook 2010 Beta must be uninstalled before installing the new OSC Beta (February Update). After the February OSC update is installed, the LinkedIn Provider for Outlook can then be installed.


This information is included on our Download Center page for the OSC Beta (February Update). 


If you have installed the OSC Beta (February Update) and Outlook is crashing, follow the steps outlined on this page. As a reminder, only 32-bit Outlook is supported right now.  64-bit support for the OSC will be available soon.


 


In November 2009, we announced both the beta of Microsoft Office 2010 as well as the Outlook Social Connector. The Outlook Social Connector brings together communications history, contact information, and professional and social networking information into the Outlook experience.


We are continuing to deliver on that vision today with two new announcements. First, we’re proud to announce the public beta of LinkedIn for Outlook, which will enable our millions of Office 2010 Beta users to connect the OSC to a public network for the first time. Second, we’re excited to announce partnerships with Facebook — the most popular social Web site in the world, and MySpace — a leading social platform connecting people through expression, content, and culture.



LinkedIn for Outlook brings together the most popular professional network with the world’s leading professional Inbox. Here are some of the things you can do today by downloading the beta:



  • Connect to your LinkedIn account to view your colleagues’ status updates and photos next to an e-mail message they sent you.

  • Your colleagues’ latest contact information from LinkedIn automatically updates his or her Outlook contact. Whenever someone changes a phone number, e-mail address, or other contact details, it’s automatically updated in Outlook — you are always up to date.

  • Synchronize your mobile phone with Outlook to stay up-to-date — you don’t have to worry about keeping track of new phone numbers and contact info — contacts’ information from the Web is synchronized to your mobile phone.

  • Grow your professional network directly from within your Inbox — add colleagues with one click.

We are proud to continue partnering with LinkedIn and we want to congratulate them on a job well done. With this beta, our customers are able to stay connected to their network without leaving the Outlook Inbox.


Our vision for Outlook (and the OSC) is to provide a communications hub that is vital to both professional and personal communications; by integrating with both Facebook and MySpace, Outlook 2010 enables you to connect not only to co-workers and colleagues, but with all of your friends and family within your Outlook Inbox.


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You can view friends’ activities, photos, and status updates within Outlook — as well as grow your network by adding friends from the same view. Both Facebook for Outlook and MySpace for Outlook will be available later this year as our official release of Office 2010 approaches.


Finally, its important to mention that with multiple professional and social networks available for the Outlook Social Connector, the design of the OSC is such that your privacy and permissions settings on each of the networks you use are represented and respected within this experience. For example, if your profile photo and job title are publicly listed on a given network, then OSC users will see your photo and job title when receiving an e-mail from you (if they use that same network). Similarly, if you choose to restrict profile access on a given network, the OSC will respect that privacy. The goal of the OSC is not to create another social network or set of privacy settings for you to manage, but rather to bring the networks you already value and use to the Outlook experience.


To recap, here is what you can do today to get started with the Outlook Social Connector.



  1. Download the Office 2010 Beta at www.Office.com/beta

  2. Update to the latest version of the Outlook Social Connector using the instructions on the Microsoft Download Center.

  3. Get the LinkedIn download for the Outlook Social Connector at www.LinkedIn.com/outlook.

  4. Keep watching the Outlook team blog for availability of the Facebook and MySpace download for the Outlook Social Connector at http://blogs.msdn.com/outlook/.

Note To use LinkedIn for Outlook requires the latest version of the Outlook Social Connector, which supports the 32-bit English version of the official Microsoft Office 2010 Beta. The beta of the Outlook Social Connector is provided as-is, is subject to change without notice, and does not include formal product support from Microsoft.


We are thrilled to reach this significant milestone with LinkedIn and to welcome both Facebook and MySpace to the Outlook Social Connector ecosystem. Stay tuned to this blog for more information from the Outlook team as we get closer to the launch of Office 2010!


Dev Balasubramanian – Outlook Product Manager


Michael Affronti – Outlook Program Manager

Feb
15

Smart Guides in PowerPoint 2010

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In PowerPoint 2010 there is a new way to align shapes we call Smart Guides.  First, a bit of background…

Aligning shapes is a very common task.  We’ve always had an array of tools to ease this process, such as those found under the Arrange button on the Home Tab:image 

These commands do the job, but they are all three clicks away.  There is also a grid on your PowerPoint slides which is spaced at 1/12 of an inch by default.  To shift a shape by one pixel with the grid enabled, you must use the nudge command (arrow keys) or hold down the Alt key to toggle the grid off while dragging the shape. 

The grid can be disabled altogether in the “Grid Settings…” dialog which is found under the “Align” menu shown above.  Just click on the “Snap objects to grid” checkbox:

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You probably also noticed the “Snap to other objects” checkbox.  This functionality has been around in previous versions, and it is the basis of Smart Guides.  The main difference is that for Smart Guides we draw indicator lines when objects snap to each other.  Now that we have them, it is less likely that you’ll need the “Snap to other objects” option.

Just below the grid spacing and visibility settings, there are two checkboxes related to Guides…

The Drawing Guides are stationary, and they can be strategically placed to achieve a specific design goal (hold the Ctrl key while dragging to create a new guide).  When they are off, they will have no effect on your drawing or alignment experience.  When they are on, objects will snap to these lines when dragged within a threshold of a few pixels:

       
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Drawing Guides

The Grid

Smart Guides, in contrast, appear only when two or more shapes are in alignment with each other.  Best of all, there are no clicks necessary, they just show up to indicate that your shapes are in spatial agreement:

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Smart Guides

They will show up when aligning shapes of various sizes and rotations, and even on custom shapes:

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Now you can perform alignment on the fly. 

I first encountered this concept a few years ago while building research applications at Brown University using Microsoft Visual Studio interface editor to create .NET applications.  It’s a great feeling to know for sure that objects are on the right axis. 

We found the feeling so great in PowerPoint that we also enabled it for inserted pictures, textboxes, and media in the upcoming PowerPoint 2010 RTM release:

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This is one of those features that you won’t really ever have to think about; it will just come in handy when you need it most.

-Christopher Maloney

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Recently, we posted information on the Outlook blog about a bug in the Microsoft Office 2010 Beta that increases the message size of some e-mails messages sent from the Microsoft Outlook 2010 Beta. The Office team has been hard at work building a fix for this issue, which is available immediately.


Download Outlook 2010 Beta fix for 32-bit Office 2010


Download Outlook 2010 Beta fix for 64-bit Office 2010


This fix prevents future messages from consuming unnecessary space, but doesn’t resize existing messages. If you reply or forward an existing message that is affected by this bug, it remains enlarged. To help reduce the impact of large messages on your Inbox and mailbox storage quota, you can also run Conversation Cleanup (new feature in Outlook 2010) on large folders. On the Home tab, in the Delete group, click Clean Up. Also, consider starting new message conversations or threads when possible.


Although Office 2010 is in Beta and is not final, we are both excited and humbled by the fact that more than 2.5 million people have downloaded and used the Beta. We want to make sure you have a great experience with Office 2010. If you are using the Office 2010 Beta, take a moment to download this important fix.

Feb
08

Union Query: Part 2

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More Union Queries
Last time in Union Queries: Part 1, I discussed simple Union queries and some of their uses. This time I want to talk about some advanced topics, starting with Union All.

Union Vs. Union All

As you remember from last time, a Union query takes the result of one query and “appends” it to another. At the same time, it removes duplicates and orders the records on the first field in the field list.

The Union All does the same thing as the Union, but without removing the duplicates or sorting the resultset, so:

SELECT * FROM TableA
UNION ALL
SELECT * FROM TableB

Would return:

CustomerID CreditLimit
———- ———–
1001       $500
1010       $350
1017       $375
1020       $425
1017       $375
1008       $600

The order is not determined by the base tables. The result has no order, so the records could be returned in any order.

Sorting Union Queries

So what if you want to sort your Union All or want a different sort order for your Union? Like any Select query, you can add an Order By clause to the end.

SELECT CustomerID, CreditLimit
FROM TableA
UNION ALL
SELECT CustomerID, CreditLimit
FROM TableB
ORDER BY CustomerID;

Will return:

CustomerID CreditLimit
———- ———–
1001       $500
1008       $600
1010       $350
1020       $425
1017       $375
1017       $375

The Order By applies to the entire result. If the column names are different between queries (which, you’ll remember, I said was allowable), the column names from the *first* query must be used. Order By clauses in any of the other component queries will be ignored. Only the last one will be applied.

Restricting Rows

Like any other Select query, you can restrict rows from the resultset with a Where clause. Unlike the Order By, however, each component query can have its own criteria. If you put a Where clause on the last query, it will apply to ONLY the results of the last query. So this:

SELECT CustomerID, CreditLimit
FROM TableA
UNION
SELECT CustomerID, CreditLimit
FROM TableB
WHERE CreditLimit > 500

Produces this:

CustomerID CreditLimit
———- ———–
1001       $500
1008       $600
1010       $350
1017       $375

Since 1010 and 1017 are in TableA, they can be less than 500, whereas 1020 is in TableB, so it is restricted. If you want a Where to apply to the entire resultset, you have to put it in each query.

SELECT CustomerID, CreditLimit
FROM TableA
WHERE CreditLimit > 500
UNION
SELECT CustomerID, CreditLimit
FROM TableB
WHERE CreditLimit > 500

Tables With Unequal Numbers Of Columns

As I said, the individual queries don’t have to have the same column names, nor do they have to be the same datatype, but the *number* of columns in the field list must be equal.

What if your tables have unequal columns? In that case, you need to create false columns with an alias.

So suppose you have two tables which hold much the same data, but have slightly different structures.*

TABLE A
CustomerID CreditLimit
———- ———–
1001       $500
1010       $350
1017       $375

TABLE B
CustomerNum Credit Active
———- —— ——
1008       $600   Y
1017       $375   Y
1020       $425   Y

*Please Note: I am not advocating this as a good database design. In a properly designed database, you would never have two tables which stored the same type of data. However, you may find yourself in this situation if you are fixing a poorly designed database or if you are merging separate databases.

If I don’t know the value of “Active” for TableA, I can leave the value NULL.

SELECT CustomerID, CreditLimit, NULL AS Active
FROM TableA
UNION
SELECT CustomerNum, Credit, Active
FROM TableB;

CustomerID CreditLimit Active
———- ———– ——
1001       $500
1008       $600        Y
1010       $350
1017       $375        Y
1020       $425        Y

However, if I assume all of the customers in TableA are active

SELECT CustomerID, CreditLimit, “Y” AS Active
FROM TableA
UNION
SELECT CustomerNum, Credit, Active
FROM TableB;

CustomerID CreditLimit Active
———- ———– ——
1001       $500        Y
1008       $600        Y
1010       $350        Y
1017       $375        Y
1020       $425        Y

Because Union Queries cannot be viewed in the Query Builder, they are often over looked by Access novices, but they are a powerful tool to have in your SQL arsenal.

.

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Feb
06

Better IMAP in Outlook 2010

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One of the things we have improved in Outlook 2010 is IMAP accounts. IMAP is a protocol that is used by many e-mail services, including Gmail and AOL. If your e-mail service supports IMAP, you can use Outlook to access your e-mail.

Here are some of the IMAP improvements in Outlook 2010:

Automatic configuration

If you have an e-mail account that supports IMAP, your account can be automatically configured in Outlook 2010. All you need to set up your account in Outlook 2010 is your e-mail address and password. Outlook uses the Sent Items and Deleted Items folders on the e-mail server automatically so that you can view items in those folders from other computers and devices.

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Better deleting

In prior versions of Outlook, a deleted IMAP message appeared in the message list with a strikethrough to indicate that the message was marked for delete. To delete the message from the mail server required a purge command. In Outlook 2010, when you delete a message it moves to the Deleted Items folder — the same behavior as with other account types.

(For you IMAP experts out there — if your server supports UIDPLUS, the message is immediately purged from the source folder using UID EXPUNGE. Without UIDPLUS support, the message is marked for delete, hidden from view, and then purged automatically the next time you exit Outlook or switch folders.)

Full messages

Instead of initially downloading only message headers, in Outlook 2010, full messages are downloaded by default. This enables you to work with all of your mail items, even when a connection to the mail server isn’t available. For performance reasons, headers are downloaded immediately, and full messages are downloaded every 30 minutes.

Better performance

We have heard loud and clear that you want a quicker, snappier IMAP experience in Outlook. We improved IMAP performance in Outlook 2010 in several ways.  For example, if you click a message header, Outlook remains responsive while the full message is downloaded.  We have also optimized scenarios like marking messages as read.

We are proud of our IMAP improvements in Outlook 2010, and we want to hear what you think. If you have been using the Outlook 2010 Beta with IMAP, how has your experience been?

Andy Brauninger
Outlook Program Manager

At the end of 2009, there was an issue with the Microsoft Outlook Calendar Sharing service, which enables Publish to Office Online in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. This issue delayed or prevented customers from publishing a calendar to the service.

The problem was resolved in early January and we are implementing procedures to prevent a similar reoccurrence. We want to share some background on why this outage occurred.

As part of preparing the Microsoft Outlook 2010 version of the Calendar Sharing service, a configuration error was introduced on December 21, 2009, on the pre-production version of the 2010 Calendar Sharing service. An unintended side effect of this change also affected the production service. This prevented some Outlook 2007 customers from being able to login through Outlook and publish a new calendar or update existing ones.

Although customers immediately reported the issue through our support forums on TechNet, the automated monitoring system we use to determine if the service is up and working failed to detect this outage. This delayed our ability to find and resolve the issue in a timely manner.

By January 3, 2010, the issue was resolved for all customers. Everyone should be able to successfully publish calendars to the Calendar Sharing service.

Moving forward, we are taking steps to improve our automated monitoring to ensure that this specific scenario is detected. We are also reviewing other potential areas where our monitoring might be inadequate to detect outages in the service.

We are also changing our internal testing and deployment process for the service to ensure that changes for a new version of the service do not affect existing customers.

We apologize for any inconvenience this service outage might have caused.

Ryan Gregg, Outlook Lead Program Manager
Darrin Hatakeda, Internet Platform Operations Group Program Manager

PowerPoint has a lot of great preset shapes, but sometimes what you really need is a custom shape tailored-made for your presentation. If you’re looking to go beyond the Freeform Tool to create more complex custom shapes, we’ve created a new feature in PowerPoint 2010 called Combine Shapes to help you do just that! Using the principles of Boolean Geometry, the Combine Shapes tool allows you to create new shapes by combining multiple shapes in one of four ways: Union, Combine, Subtract, or Intersect.  
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This is a relatively advanced feature, so it doesn’t appear by default on the Ribbon. To enable Combine Shapes, add it to your Ribbon via the PowerPoint Options dialog: PowerPoint Options > Customize Ribbon > Commands Not in the Ribbon  > Shape Combine, Intersect, Subtract, Union. (For more information on how to add items and customize your Ribbon and QAT, see this post).



In just a few clicks, you can quickly and easily create intricate and unique geometries by combining simple shapes in various ways. Here’s an example where we create a key shape using only ovals, rectangles, and triangles.
Step 1: Draw the silhouette of a key using several basic shapes, and merge them using “Shape Union” to create the body of the key:


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Step 2: Draw shapes to represent the negative areas (i.e. the “holes” in the key). Select the body of the key first, then select the “holes”, and use “Shape Subtract” to cut them out:


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Want even more control over the shape’s geometry? Custom shapes created using the Combine Shapes tool are freeforms, so you can take advantage of the Edit Points feature to further fine-tune your shape:

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Add a gradient fill and some 3D effects to turn your custom shape into an eye-popping graphic!



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With PowerPoint 2010, you no longer have to worry about not being able to find the perfect shape or Clip Art… if you can’t find one, create one yourself! Here are a few more examples of custom graphics created by PowerPoint’s Product Planner, Tal Krzypow, using the Combine Shapes tool:


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Download the Office 2010 Beta today and try your hand at creating your own custom shapes. We’d love to hear what you think!


Chris Doan
Program Manager, Office Graphics


Updated (Feb 2): Changed the instructions to reflect the location of this feature in the PowerPoint 2010 Beta. Originally we posted instructions on how to find this feature in the released version.

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Feb
01

Union Query: Part 1

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Simple Union Query

Introduction

In Microsoft Access, a Union Query is an SQL Specific query, which means it can only be written in SQL. It cannot be created or edited in the Access Query Builder. Novices often confuse UNIONS with JOINS.

Joins (see What is a Join: Part 1 and subsequent posts) combine two (or more) tables row-wise, that is, the results of matching information will be displayed on a single row.

Unions, on the other hand, combine tables column-wise, that is, the results of one SQL statement will be “appended” to the results of another as additional rows. In essence, a Union sticks the results of one query on to the bottom of another.

The structure of a Union Query is very simple. It is two or more queries with the UNION keyword in between. For instance:

SELECT Field1, Field2 FROM Table1
UNION
SELECT FieldA, FieldB FROM Table2

As you can see from the example, the field names do not need to be the same. The column name in the result will come from the first query. The fields don’t even need to be the same datatype. In the query above, Field1 could be an integer, Field2 a date/time, FieldA a text field, and FieldB a currency field.

The only real requirement is that there must be an equal number of columns in each of the component SQL statements. If there are different numbers of fields in the field lists, an error will occur.

One important thing to remember about the Union is that it is non-updateable (for more on this see: (This Recordset Is Not Updateable. Why?). As a result, Unions are useful for displaying data, but not for entering or editing it.

Union Example

One of the most common uses for a Union query is to consolidate tables.
For example, imagine a situation where you have similar datasets from 2 different sources, and you want to consolidate/synchronize/merge them:

TABLE A

CustomerID CreditLimit
———- ———–
1001       $500
1010       $350
1017       $375

TABLE B

CustomerID CreditLimit
———- ———–
1008       $600
1017       $375
1020       $425

This query:

SELECT CustomerID, CreditLimit FROM TableA
UNION
SELECT CustomerID, CreditLimit FROM TableB

Will produce this result:

CustomerID CreditLimit
———- ———–
1001       $500
1008       $600
1010       $350
1017       $375
1020       $425

The Union combines the two tables, while at the same time removing the duplicate records. The Union also sorts the recordset on the first column, in this case CustomerID.

Since TableA and TableB have the same number of fields, I could also have done this:

SELECT * FROM TableA
UNION
SELECT * FROM TableB

To actually consolidate the tables into a single table, save the query (say, CustomerUnion), then use it as the table in a Make-Table query.

SELECT * INTO TableC FROM CustomerUnion;

Or use the Union Query in the “From” clause of the Make-Table:

SELECT * INTO TableC
FROM
(SELECT * FROM TableA
UNION
SELECT * FROM TableB)
AS CustomerUnion;

(I’ll discuss using a query in the From clause in more detail in a later post.)

Other Uses

There are many applications for the Union Query. One is in the Access implementation of a Full Outer Join (which I will address in a later post). But one very common use is in the Row Source of Combo Boxes.

Suppose I have a combo box to filter records on a form by Customer Name.

My Row Source for the combo could look like this:

SELECT CustomerID, CustomerName FROM Customer;

But suppose I want the combo to have an option to choose all records.

I can use a Union query in the Row Source to add artificial records to the drop down list:

SELECT “*” as CustomerID, “All” as CustomerName FROM Customer
UNION
SELECT CustomerID, CustomerName FROM Customer;

This will produce a result of

CustomerID CustomerName
———- ———–
*          All
1010       Carlson
1017       Smith

With CustomerID as the bound column in the combo box, I can use a query like:

SELECT * FROM TableA
WHERE CustomerID Like ‘” & Combo1 & “‘”

to filter my form.

Next time, I’ll look at some advanced topics with Union Queries.

.

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