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Changes made to the main Office applications from Office 2016 up to May 2019
Part three of a seven-part series of blogs

To prepare the way for the start of a monthly Office update on this website, this long blog lists the changes made to Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word between the release of Office 2016 and May 2019.

  1. Office 365/Office 2019 updates up to May 2019
  2. General new features between Office 2016 and May 2019
  3. New features in Access between 2016 and May 2019 (this blog)
  4. New features in Excel between 2016 and May 2019
  5. New features in Outlook between 2016 and May 2019
  6. New features in PowerPoint between 2016 and May 2019
  7. New features in Word between 2016 and May 2019

Posted by Andy Brown on 10 May 2019

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New features in Access between 2016 and May 2019

As you might expect, the improvements to Access over the last 3 years or so have been mostly token changes.

Adding charts 

You can now insert charts into Access forms:

Inserting a chart

On an Access form, on the Design tab of the ribbon choose to insert a chart.


You can then associate your chart with a table or query:

Chart data settings

Here we're showing the number of subcodes by code (whatever this may mean for the database in question!).


Here's the chart that this would initially yield:

The initial chart

It looked even worse in design view!

You could then play about with your formatting:

The Format tab

The Format tab for the chart allows you to change how it looks.


It seems early days for this new feature (which is quite primitive), and it seems odd to this owl that Microsoft are investing in such a niche part of Access.

Improved linked table manager

You can display the linked table manager as below, to show which tables you're linking to within your database from other data sources:

The linked table manager

Choose this option to show the Linked Table Manager dialog box.


So here's what the Microsoft website says the new linked table manager should look like:

New linked table manager

This would indeed be different!

Here's what the linked table manager actually looks like on my laptop:

Old linked table manager

Nothing appears to have changed!

This is strange because I've checked my updates:

Update version

As you can see, I've updated to Access version 1808, build 10730.20334.

Here's the version that should work:

The correct version

The minimum requirement is an earlier build version.

So why can't I see the new linked table manager?  At least the dialog box above shows what it should look like ...

Associating controls with labels

In the diagram below, the text box on the right is associated with the label on the left:

Labels and text boxes

Assume the labels are called Label1, Label2 and Label3, in that order.

You can now easily tell Access that the text box should be associated with a different label:

New label

Type in the name of the label you want to associate with the text box. The label name must exist (it's sloppy programming on Microsoft's part that a drop list doesn't appear for the property).


The new association is made!  No more cutting and pasting of controls to get this to happen:

New label

The textbox will now move with the 3rd label, not the first one.

Sorting properties 

You can now choose to view an object's properties sorted alphabetically:

Sorting properties

Whatever subset of properties you're looking at, you can click on this icon to sort them into alphabetical order (or remove sorting).


Making it easier to edit value lists 

If you have a combo box based on a list of values, you can ask Access to allow editing of the underlying values:

Value list

You can press Ctrl + E or click on the icon shown to edit the items in the list.


This will bring up this form (you can specify your own custom form instead, it appears):

Adding value items

Time to add some additional genders?


Here's the property which allows users to edit value lists: 

Allow Value List Edits

Turn this property on to let your users edit value lists.


A nice new feature, if a tad niche.


In addition to all of the above changes there are various small improvements which aren't worth separate mentions (for example, it's now easier to resize objects in some views, and Access will retry failed ODBC connections automatically).

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