Microsoft Access, often abbreviated “MS Access,” is a popular database application for Windows. Access allows users to create custom databases that store information in an organized structure. The program also provides a visual interface for creating custom forms, tables, and SQL queries. Data can be entered into an Access database using either visual forms or a basic spreadsheet interface. The information stored within an Access database can be browsed, searched, and accessed from other programs, including Web services.
While Access is a proprietary database management system (DBMS), it is compatible with other database programs since it supports Open Database Connectivity (ODBC). This allows data to be sent to and from other database programs, such as MS SQL, FoxPro, Filemaker Pro, and Oracle databases. This compatibility also enables Access to serve as the back end for a database-driven website. In fact, Microsoft FrontPage and Expression Web, as well as ASP.NET have built-in support for Access databases. For this reason, websites hosted on Microsoft Windows servers often use Access databases for generating dynamic content.