Microsoft Access 2016 Makes Room for Large Numbers

Microsoft Access gains "BigInt" support, which means users can create database applications with fields that support larger numbers and allow them import data from more diverse sources.

microsoft access 2016

Microsoft Access 2016, the database management system that is often bundled with Office, now supports the BigInt data type, enabling users to incorporate more external data sources into their Access applications.

"Large Number (BigInt)—now a supported data type—provides additional analytical capability and deepens the integration experience when users are importing/linking BigInt data," explained the Microsoft Access team in a March 6 announcement.

"When creating new local tables or editing existing ones, Access now allows users to add fields that store BigInt numbers." The upgrade, which adds a Large Number option to the Click to Add menu used when adding a new field to local tables, opens up new possibilities, allowing users to work with SQL data and other external data sources that use BigInt.

Users also gain the ability to turn BigInt support on and off for a current database. "Turning Large Number support on allows users to import from and link to tables with BigInt columns, and have them represented in Access in a Large Number format," continued the Microsoft staffers.

BigInt support in Access 2016 is first being rolled out to members of the Office Insider early-access program. All Office 365 subscribers, both consumer and commercial, will receive the upgrade later.

In November 2016, Microsoft added Access to the Office 365 Business and Business Premium plans, extending its availability to small and midsized business customers. The company also expanded the number of data sources available to subscribers with Office 365 ProPlus, E3 and E5 plans. New enterprise data connectors include Amazon Redshift, Dynamics CRM, OData Feed and Salesforce.

Late last summer, the company announced that following an outpouring of feedback, support for the venerable dBASE file format would return for Office 365 customers. "One of the leading requests for Access was to see renewed support for dBASE (.dbf), and quite a few of you—particularly those in the Geographic Information System (GIS) community—made a compelling case to do so," stated the company in a Sept. 7, 2016 blog post.

Access isn't the only Office 365 component to receive recent updates.

Last week, Microsoft flipped the switch on its new Office 365 Service Health dashboard, allowing customers to keep a closer eye on their setups. To help administrators better focus their attention on the issues that matter, the dashboard now splits incidents into two categories, Incidents for critical outages and advisories for other, lower-grade problems.

Other new features include brief, two-sentence summaries of incidents and advisories and user-friendly impact statements. A feedback mechanism allows administrators to grade Microsoft on the quality of the information posted to the dashboard.

If history is any guide, Microsoft's new Office 365 Service Health dashboard will occasionally b put to the test. Just today, Office 365 suffered an hours-long outage affecting the service in Western Europe and the East Coast in the U.S., reported Reuters. According to Microsoft, the issue has been resolved as of 9:30 a.m. ET on March 7.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...