Helen Feddema's Website

Office interaction

A source of information on Microsoft Office data exchange           

Access Archon        Books        Links        Bibliography        Code Samples        Downloads

Helen Feddema has been working with Word since v. 1.1, Access since the beta of v. 1.0, and Outlook since the beta of v. 8.0 (that's where Outlook started its version numbering).  In the early days, DDE was the only way to exchange data among Office applications, and it was cumbersome, cryptic and unreliable.  When OLE Automation came along, it made data exchange much easier, and since Office 97, all the major Office applications support OLE (now called just Automation) as both clients and servers, so it is possible to control one Office application from any other, providing you know the syntax for doing Automation in the dialect of VB used by that application (VBA for most, VBScript for Outlook forms).

This page is dedicated to making it easier to learn how to control one Office application from another, with White Papers and a book list to give you the information you need, downloads of crucial files you may need,  code samples to show you how to exchange data in a number of ways, and my Access Archon columns.

"Real stuff for real people" -- Christopher Fennell, Access user

Helen Feddema's email If you need someone to develop or modify an Access database, upgrade your 15-year-old database that just won't work any more, or do Office integration (Access-Word-Outlook-Excel), send me an email at the link to the left.

My recent Access books and Access Archon articles are listed below


The 4rd edition of my Working with Word ebook shows you many different ways to put your Access data into Word documents.

New!  Fourth edition
including code, templates and sample databases
for Office 2013, Office 2010, Office 2007 and Office 2003.

Letters, Lists, Labels and more

Fully explained examples for many types of 'Access to Word' projects (with samples included for you to use):

  • Single Letter
  • One-off Letters without a template
  • Multiple Letters - various mail merge methods
  • Lists
  • Labels
  • Emails
  • Invoices
  • Reports with Table of Contents
  • Word documents saved to customer folders
  • Embedded templates a special technique you can use to make it super-easy for others to create Word documents from templates, without having to install templates or select folder paths

Plus a chapter on importing data from Word form fields/content controls to Access, and getting data.

There are five methods of getting Access data into Word documents, Access Archon: Working with Word (fourth edition) goes through all five of them discussing the advantages and disadvantages.

Working with Word 3rd edition

New Access Archon #244 (Crosstab Reports, Part 1) uploaded 8-Oct-2015; Access Archon #245 (Listing Used Word Document Properties) uploaded 20-Mar-2016; Access Archon #246 (Crosstab Reports, Part 2) uploaded 22-Mar-2016; Access Archon #247 (SpinButton Control for Selecting Time) uploaded 14-May-2014; Code Sample #29 uploaded 14-May-2016 (fixed problems when running the Time & Expense Slips app in 64-bit Windows 10 -- v. 4.0 of Slip custom Outlook form is in the Office 2010 zip); Access Archon #248 (Filter by Form with Row Source Queries) uploaded 19-Jun-2016; Access Archon #249 (Copy a Record with Calc ID), Access Archon #250 (Copy a Record with AutoNumber ID) and Access Archon #251 (Delete Records in Linked Tables) uploaded 6-Aug-2016.


Access 2013:  The Real Startup Guide (Office-Watch, 2013) ISBN 0-9757363-8-0
 This book tells you what is really going on in Access 2013, concentrating on the new and improved Web apps, with full information on how to connect an Access 2013 desktop database with a read/write connection to the SQL Server tables in your Web apps.

For Kindle DX owners, the PDF works great on the DX.

Access 2013 Startup Guide cover

Working with Excel (Office-Watch, 2011) ISBN 978-0-9806465-3-5
This book has information about all the ways you can exchange data between Access and Excel, with sample databases and Excel workbooks and templates in both Office XP/2003 and 2007/2010 format. The information includes some updated material from various code samples and books, but is mostly brand-new material. For Kindle DX owners, the PDF works great on the DX.
Working with Excel cover
Access 2007 VBA Bible For Data-Centric Microsoft Applications (Wiley, 2007) ISBN 0-4700-4702-X
As long-time AW readers know, data exchange among Office applications has always been one of my main interests, and that is the topic of this book. It covers using Access 2007 for data storage, entering, editing and printing data where Access does the job best, and exporting data to other Office applications (Word, Excel and Outlook) where they are best.
One of the sample databases for this book finally achieves a long-time goal of mine: two-way synchronizing of Outlook and Access contacts, where the contact information is stored in a set of properly normalized, linked tables in Access. This lets you store all the information you need (or want) to store in Access tables - say, 30 phone numbers for Microsoft, or five addresses for a wealthy friend - while using the convenient and attractive Outlook interface to work with contacts. You can add or edit contact data in Access or Outlook, and synchronize contacts as needed (for those fields that are supported in Outlook), which gives you the best of both applications.
The book also covers writing add-ins of several types (Access, VB 6, and Visual Studio), with tips on how to get them to work in Vista (more info on this topic was presented in Access Archon #162, based on information I got after the book went to press).
Access 2007 VBA Bible cover
Expert One-on-One Microsoft Access Application Development (Wrox, 2003) ISBN 0-7645-5904-4
This book is written for experienced Access users, who know how to create tables, queries, forms and other Access objects, and have some familiarity with writing Access VBA code, but need help in making the transition from an experienced and competent Access user who can create databases for personal use, to an Access developer who can make a living developing applications for clients. The book concentrates on this book writing VBA code to connect the components of a database into a functioning, coherent application. Access Application Development cover
Access 2002 Inside-Out (Microsoft Press, 2001) ISBN 0-7356-1283-8

My new book on Access (Access 2002 Inside-Out, from Microsoft Press) is intended to help Access users who want to go beyond the basics and learn how to get the most out of Access (both in the interface and when writing VBA code).  But the book isn't just a feature walk-through, because not all features are created equal.

I devote more time to the Access features that will let you create great (which means both useful and attractive) databases and connect to other Office applications. You find out how to avoid wasting time on less useful features like macros or not yet finished features (some might call them marketing fluff) like data access pages. (At present, posting Access data to Web pages is only practical if you own your own server, and even then you'll need more advanced tools to do the job).

Of course, I start by covering the basics.  You'll learn how to set up your tables with proper normalized relationships (and what that means), and create efficient and attractive forms and reports, and well-designed queries to filter, sort and summarize data.

Access 2002 has some great new features -- I devote an entire chapter to PivotTables and PivotCharts, and the new Printer object is covered in the VBA chapter (anyone who has struggled with the obscure PrtDevMode property will love this new object, which makes it much easier to control printers from Access VBA).

Exchanging data between Office applications is important but not always obvious, so I spend two whole chapters on showing you how to export Access data to Word, Excel and Outlook, and how to import Word, Excel and Outlook data into Access.

For real Access code mavens I also discuss customizing Access, both in the interface and using VBA code, including extensive code samples illustrating how to create your own custom toolbars and menus, with custom controls that you can only create from code.  You'll learn how to create your own Access add-ins and COM add-ins, with samples of both on the book's CD.

Access 2002 Inside-out has been many months in the writing and testing.  It's based on the final version of Access 2002, not the incomplete pre-release versions.   Feedback from the thousands of Woody's Access Watch readers has also helped make the book a practical hands-on guide to how Access really works best, not just a tutorial on how things should work according to Microsoft.

If you have found my Access Archon columns useful, or the code samples on my Web site, you'll love this book, because it is packed with step-by-step instructions and code samples, with supporting databases and a sampling of my add-ins on the accompanying CD.

Access 2002 Inside-Out