How to link PowerPoint to a Microsoft Access database? 10With DataPoint, the user can  add new functionality to Microsoft PowerPoint for data driven presentations and update their content when the user open the presentation and while running the slide show. With PowerPoint and DataPoint combined, the user can have some kind of information screen or message board where the user can display messages, news and announcements and update the content from remote. Microsoft Access is mostly used for databases. The user can easily create a new database, design the  database structure, add data, set up queries to filter out information, join multiple tables, enter the data via forms etc. Put this database on a file server and the user can let DataPoint connect to this database in order to read out the data for the presentation. First install PowerPoint and DataPoint on the machine and start PowerPoint. Set up a new presentation based on an empty template or the default company template.

Connect to

First we will set up a data connection to the Microsoft Access database. Click DataPoint in the PowerPoint menu.

open datapoint menu in powerpoint

Then click the List button of the Connections group.

open data connections in datapoint menu

Position on the Microsoft Access node in the provider tree and click Add connection.

go to the microsoft access node in the connections overview form

Add connection

Click the Browse button, navigate to the Microsoft Access database that the user wants to use. In this example, we will connect to the Northwind demo database of Microsoft Access.

browse to select the microsoft access database on your hard disc or network

Click OK to establish a link to the database. Rename the connection to a meaningful name by clicking on the label. The text will be selected and the user can type in another name. Press Enter key to commit.

add a new connection and give it a name

Add table or query

Now with this data connection selected, click Add query. The user will get a list of all the tables and queries that are created in the database. For this example select the Orders table.

list of available data objects of the database, tables and views

Data refresh options

Set the Data refresh rate to Continuous updating and change the interval to a desired value. The default here is 5 seconds. So DataPoint will go back to the database and check for new data. When no updates are detected, DataPoint will not update the data on the slides but whenever new data is detected DataPoint will update the text boxes and tables at once with the new content. Now click OK to add the query to the connection.

set the data refresh options from update once till continuous updates

Preview data

In the connections overview the user will now see a preview of the data that is available now for the presentation. Click OK to close.

preview the data returned by the access database

Now back on the slide the user can add text boxes to the slide and link the text box to a given cell of the data. The user data is presented like a spreadsheet with rows and columns. The columns have a specific meaning like name, birth date, address etc. The rows represents the occurrences of the table. So for the employees table the user will have one row that represents all the data of one employee.

Text box linking

Add a new text box on the slide and click DataPoint and then Text box in the Shapes group. This will bring up the properties of a dynamic text box.

click text box in datapoint menu to set the options

First of all the user can select a data connection from the list. All columns of the chosen connection are now listed in the columns combobox. Select the column that the user wants to display in the text box and change the row number when necessary.

set text box properties to link it to a row and column of the table

Click OK to bind the data connection information to that text box. As of now the user don’t need to enter a text manually anymore at the text box. The text box will update the content with the data of the linked data cell of the Microsoft Access database. Now add more text boxes to the slide and link them all to other columns of the connection.

Slide linked to ms access database

Microsoft Access slide show

Start the slide show and DataPoint will check for data updates and update the slide content continuously. The user can have the information screen or message board running and display the slide show now in full screen. Someone can open the database on another computer, add or modify data, and commit the changes back to the database. The information screen will be updated automatically within the refresh rate interval.

running slide show with microsoft access data live updating

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