Archive for August, 2010

Microsoft Office 2010: The best new features in Access

August 22, 2010

[tweetmeme source=”LANSystems” only_single=false]If you have never used a relational database because you felt it was just too complicated, give a look at Access.  Access 2010 has simplified database functions and added ready-to-go templates to get you started. Information stored in spreadsheets and documents can be easier to understand and less time consuming to manage in a relational database model.  Not only can you save time, but you can make your data more meaningful and perform more meaningful analysis.  And if you are using a product that uses Access to store your data, you will be able to better understand the tables, reports and relationships.

Fast, easy database creation

Ready-to-go Templates – Use the available templates to create a marketing list or sales pipeline without being a database expert.  The templates are designed to give you the structure you need to get started and let you expand as you become more familiar with using Access.

Use modular components – These prebuilt components allow you to build the most common tasks into your database.  Go to Create – Application Parts after making your selection, the wizard will guide you through the setup and make your choices obvious.  There are on-demand help videos that explain how to use Access. The videos are surprisingly easy to follow with clear language and demos that take you through the screens step-by-step.

  Application Parts provide modular components for your Access databases 

Forms and reports with realistic, targeted analysis  

Conditional formatting – Use data bars to manage your rules and create professional reports that are understandable and informative. Rather than trying to “crowbar” your data into available formats, you can customize the presentation and make your data mean more to organization.  Stay focused at your sales and marketing meetings by using reports that everyone will recognize and appreciate.

Conditional formatting now supports data bars 

Office themes – Choose themes with fonts, colors and designs that match your other Microsoft Office products that demonstrate consistency and branding.

Backstage – The Microsoft Office Backstage view replaces the traditional file menu with an ergonomic approach that uses In and Out features for efficiency.  The improved Ribbon lets you access your favorite commands quickly and create custom tabs to personalize the way you work.

Developer quality without writing code

Expression Builder – Enhanced functionality with IntelliSense to greatly simplify formula and expression building. With these intuitive tools you will spend less time troubleshooting relationship errors and more time building a valuable database.

Make your databases available on the Internet with new Web databases 

Macro Designer – Add basic logic to your database, quickly and easily even if you are not familiar with databases. If you’re an experienced Access user, you’ll find the enhancements allow you to use the complex logic move efficiently than ever. Extend your database application with increased performance and confidence.

The revamped Macro Designer makes easier for you to add basic logic to your database

Work from anywhere

Online – Post your database online and then access, view, and edit them from the Web. Users without an Access client can open Web forms and reports via a browser and their changes are automatically synchronized.

You acn post your databases online and then access, view, and edit them from the Web

For organizations of all types and sizes, Access 2010 allows you to be more productive, flexible and cost-effective. You can combine tasks in Access that previously required several programs and labor intensive analysis to make better decisions for your business.

For more technical notes and information go to: 

If you have any questions or need help with the instructions, email me at:


A non-technical post: My tomato garden

August 20, 2010

Tomato Garden[tweetmeme source=”LANSystems” only_single=false]Usually, I write about computer and engineering topics but today it’s all about my tomato garden.

I’m not a great gardener, but I have good luck with tomatoes. For years, Early Girl, Big Boy, Beefsteak and Parks Whoppers (my favorite) have given us tomato sandwiches, tomato pies and ratatouille.  It’s not just a tomato garden but has eggplant, maybe some squash and cucumbers.

Even though Georgia has been droughty for several years, my tomatoes have been well watered and have flourished. We like big tomatoes where one slice gives you the perfect sandwich and cucumbers fresh off the vine. Over the years, the tomatoes have become tastier and tastier.  We don’t buy those tasteless, hot house grown tomatoes and even at a restaurant the tomatoes are disappointing.

My husband is from South Georgia and insists that you have to put your tomatoes in on Good Friday for the best crop.  This year I was late in planting, over a month late, so I bought some 3 and 5 gallon tomatoes to make up for my tardiness.  Some of the plants even had little tomatoes on them.  I carefully planted and tended them knowing I was going to have the best harvest ever.

This year my garden had big problems. Most of my tomato plants drooped away or dried up.  Those little tomatoes already on the vine died and even my Parks Whoppers have only average size fruit.  We had a few red tomatoes early and I taught my granddaughter to pick them, but when we ran out of red ones, she started picking the green.  Any other year, she would have had loads of tomatoes to pick and wash.  But not this year.

Usually, I start with seedlings, so I don’t know if the problems this year are the larger plants or the weather. It is disappointing especially now that we are at the peak of the season and it doesn’t look like a bumper crop.  But it’s not all bad – haven’t had many bugs this year!

My tomato troubles this year, made me realize that there is more skill and technology to tomato farming than I thought.  I am looking for advice and am going to find some blogs for tomato growers.

For technical notes and information go to: 

If you have suggestions or advice, email me at:

August 2010 Puzzle – This month a Riddle

August 9, 2010

This thing all things devours
Birds, beasts, trees, flower,

Gnaws iron, bites steel,
Grinds hard stones to meal,

Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down!

What is this thing?

On a scale of effortless to diabolical, this rates special literary knowledge!

Send your answer to  All correct answers will be entered

Microsoft Office 2010: The best new features in Excel

August 2, 2010

[tweetmeme source=”LANSystems” only_single=false]Excel is arguably the most under-utilized Microsoft Office product when it comes to advanced features.  Ask people what features they most like in Excel and they usually describe the spreadsheet and graphing tools.  But that is just a very small part of the capabilities built into Excel.  From tools for statistical, engineering and financial functions, to pivot tables, to Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) programming, you can use Excel for simple to complex data analysis and display with easy to read graphs and charts. 

If you haven’t used the advanced tools in Excel, start by trying the new features to get the most from your software investment. Analyze your data to discover patterns or trends, then display with graphs and charts that illuminate the best course of action.  With a little practice, you will improve your ability to study large data sets and make the most informed decisions. 

Make fast, effective comparisons 

Sparklines – Use sparklines to graphically display data in a single cell.  You can display data in line, column or win/loss format to highlight trends. On the Insert tab, choose the type of Sparkline and your data range.  Customize your sparklines for optimum effect by selecting the sparkline and choosing the Design tab. 






Slicer – Slicers are filtering components that allow you to slice-and-dice your data without having to open drop down lists.  Slicers make it easier to segment and filter data in PivotTables for high powered business intelligence. 

Step up your analysis


Search Filter – Use the new Search Filter to quickly and easily narrow your search in tables, PivotTable, and PivotChart views. You can instantly sort through a million or more items.


PowerPivot (formerly called Project “Gemini”) Add-In – Groundbreaking technology that allows you streamlined integration of data from multiple sources and lightning-fast manipulation of large data sets with up to millions of rows. Effortlessly publish and share analysis through Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and have other users enjoy the same Slicer and fast-query capabilities when working on their Excel Services report.




Backstage – The Microsoft Office Backstage view replaces the traditional file menu with an ergonomic approach that uses In and Out features for efficiency.  The improved Ribbon lets you access your favorite commands quickly and create custom tabs to personalize the way you work.


Jazz up your data presentations

Conditional Formatting – Excel 2010 adds sophistication to conditional formatting.  Give your document a professional look by adding eye-catching formats.  You have more choices and control over styles and icons, improved data bars, and the ability to highlight specific items in a few clicks. You can also display data bars for negative values and use color for effect.

Work from anywhere

Online – Post your spreadsheets online and work on them from virtually anywhere from the Web or your Windows Mobile-based Smartphone. With Excel 2010, you can take advantage of a best-in-class spreadsheet experience across multiple locations and devices.

Excel Web App – Extend your Office experience to the Web, and view and edit your spreadsheets through the Excel Web App when you’re away.

Excel Mobile 2010 – Stay up-to-the-minute and communicate on-demand by using a mobile version of Excel specifically suited to your Smartphone.

For other interesting features and functions, try Goal Seek to give you a what-if analysis to test your scenarios, experiment with linear regression to understand relationships in your data or just play with the new formatting tools. But once you uncover the “hidden” features in Excel, you will be enthusiastically hooked.

For more technical notes and information go to: 

If you have any questions or need help with the instructions, email me at: