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If you work with Access then this is the type of book you need to keep handy.

Book Review – Access Data Analysis Cookbook by Ken Bluttman and Wayne S. Freeze.

Access Data Analysis Cookbook is just that, a cookbook that contains a lot of recipes for you to work with your Access databases to the best advantage. The goal is that if you have large quantities of data stored in a Microsoft Access database and you need to study that data, you need tools to help you study it. That is where Access Data Analysis Cookbook comes in. It provides those tools.

Access Data Analysis Cookbook divides out in to ten chapters based on function. While the recipe solutions apply to all versions of Access, the examples and figures represented in the book are from Access 2003 and Access 2007. Each new edition has bells and whistles, but the core factors of SQL, VBA, DAO and ADO have remained the same.

Chapter one, "Query Construction," explains how to develop basic as well as sophisticated queries. Here issues such as use of operators, creating unions and understanding how the differing join types work. Chapter two, "Calculating with Queries" advances chapter one by using queries to find answers to real world problems. Here you will learn how to use aggregate functions, custom functions, regular expressions and crosstabs.

Chapter three, "Action Queries," shows you how to apply queries to perform actions upon the data that is being pulled back. Here you can alter the results set based on the criteria that you provide. Chapter four, "Managing Tables, Fields, Indexes and Queries," will show you how to create each of these items programmatically using code.

Chapter five, "Working with String Data," does just that, it show you how to work with the string data that you pull back from your query. "Chapter six, "Using Programming to Manipulate Data," shows you how to use arrays read, and write to the registry, how to encrypt data, and how to use transaction processing.

Chapter seven, "Importing and Exporting Data," handles the various methods of moving data into and out of Access. You will work with various methods such as the FileSystemObject, XML as well as communicating with SQL Server. Chapter eight, "Date and Time Calculations" shows you various ways of manipulating date and time data.

Chapter nine, "Business and Finance Problems," gives you the tools to solve a wide variety of business-related problems. These include weighted averages, moving averages, calculating depreciation, charting data and finding trends. Finally the last chapter, "Statistics," explores the variety of methods for working with statistics from within Access. These include mean, mode and median as well as variance, correlation permutations and combinations.

As with all of the O'Reilly Cookbooks, if you work with a product like Access, you should have something like Access Data Analysis Cookbook around. First, when you get the book you skim/read through it touching on things that perhaps you have never thought of to do. Then you keep it on your shelf because you will find yourself referring to it constantly when working with large amounts of data within Access.

About T. Michael Testi

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