Total Access Detective
from the DAAUG March Newsletter
By Tom Cryan
Total Access Detective is a third party add in by FMS designed to compare
differences between any two Microsoft Access Databases or Objects.
Total Access Detective automates the tedious, time consuming chore of
finding differences or changes between tables, queries, forms, reports
macros, modules or command bars within the same database or between two
different databases. It has an easy to use interface with clear, concise
pull down list boxes that makes comparison or finding differences as easy as
pointing and clicking.
Total Access Detective is easy to install and use. The manual was clear,
concise and easy to use and understand. Installation was a snap, just
install the diskettes and run setup. Installation screens had good
explanations as to your choices and their results. The manual gets into
details on how the program works and is easy to use and understand.
I was impressed with the help system, it was well written, used very
clear screen shots and the descriptions and explanations were easy to read
and understand. It uses context sensitive help and also help command buttons
throughout the program, it was easy to get the information and answers I
needed, it was a breeze using the program.
Technically, Total Access Detective is an Access add in which uses
familiar Access forms, datasheet views, etc., and has full reporting and
printing capabilities. When comparing objects (Tables, Queries, Modules,
etc.) within the same database Total Access Detective uses a Library database
to store the results of the comparison. When comparing two different
databases the program uses a number of linked databases to store the
information about the various forms, program files, comparison data, etc.
The creation and maintenance of these databases is done in the background,
transparent to the user. The user also has access to these databases, which
allows the user to edit data and make changes based on the results of the
I compared a couple of small databases and the program performed at a
fast clip. As you move to comparing very large databases performance could
slow down in proportion to the larger size; however, it is not an issue as
the program automates the comparison task and results in a huge time and
effort savings when comparing large databases.
Total Access Detective is valuable for those times when you have two or
more versions or copies of the same database and you are not sure which one
is the latest version. This program is a must have for those times when you
have two or more people working on the same project, it takes the confusion
out of trying to determine which changes or updates are the correct ones.
The comparisons do include the date and time the objects were last
created or updated so you will know which copy is the latest. One can
compare Table data, Field Properties, Relationships, References such as VBA
library references, Permissions and Forms and Report Modules, (includes the
code behind the forms or reports).
The Module and Macro Options lets the user compare source code; the user
has the option to determine whether indentation differences constitute code
differences. The reports generated in Total Access Detective include
comparisons for Object Differences, Data Differences, Macro/Module
Differences, Macro/Module Source Code, Objects in Both Databases, Objects
Not in One Database and Errors.
Priced at $199, Total Access Detective is well worth every penny, it will
quickly pay for itself through savings in time and effort. It can be ordered
through FMS's Web Site.