Microsoft Access: Applications and Utilities

Provided by Allen Browne, June 2006. Last updated: 8 May 2010

Database Issue Checker Utility

This free utility (160 KB zipped) reports on potential issues with the structure of Access databases. It makes no changes to the databases you examine.

The utility is intended for developers to check their application during design, and consultants who examine others' databases.

Some of the issues it identifies may be irrelevant - even intended - in your application. For example, null foreign keys can be a very useful design technique, and spaces in a field name will not cause problems beyond slowing development. The utility merely reports the facts, and you decide what is relevant. You can therefore configure it to skip particular words or characters, and ignore issues.

What it does

Issues identified:

  1. Reserved words and other problem words used as the names of tables, fields, and queries. (View the list of 2500+ words.)
  2. Problem characters in the names of tables, fields, and queries.
  3. Tables that cannot be opened (e.g. attached tables with bad links.)
  4. Tables without a primary key.
  5. Relationships without referential integrity enforced.
  6. Foreign key fields that are not required (permitting orphan records.)
  7. Name Autocorrect options set (confusing/corrupting the database.)
  8. Datasheet Schema option set (users can change the structure in a datasheet - Access 2007 and later.)
  9. Tables with Subdatasheet Name set (performance issue.)
  10. Fields with Allow Zero Length property set (performance and integrity issue.)
  11. Fields of type Decimal (Access bugs.)
  12. Complex data fields (applicable to accdb and accdt files, not mdb.)
  13. Record too wide (too many characters in a table/query if all fields were filled.)
  14. Layout view permitted (Forms and reports allow changes with data - Access 2007 and later.)
  15. Calculated table fields found (Access 2010.) new
  16. Table requires later version of Access to read (Access 2010, not deselectable.) new


Using the utility

To use:

  1. Download and unzip DbIssueChecker.mdb.
  2. Open with Microsoft Access. The main form opens.
  3. Click the Folder button to select the file you wish to examine.
  4. Check the boxes for the issues to test for.
  5. Click the Examine button, and read the report.

Configuring the utility

Configure the utility to skip certain checks, avoid checking for particular words and characters, and add your own words/characters to the lists:


Main screen of the utility:


Behind the scenes

If you want to trace the logic behind how it works:

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