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Access Naming Oddity

MIniBikeAs a design principle, I apply a naming convention when creating new database objects. For example, field names begin with a lowercase letter. Recently, I was putting together a small application in Access 2010 beta so that  I could gain a little familiarity with the new Access version that will be released later this year. In a weak moment, I accidentally named some of the fields in a new table with uppercase first letters.

In the grand scheme of things, this is not a particularly serious problem but inconsistently formed names lend an unprofessional look to an application. When I tried to correct the names I discovered an inconvenient quirk. After replacing the first letter of each field name with its lowercase equivalent, saving and closing the table and then re-opening it again in design view, I found that the first letter of each field name had changed back to uppercase.

No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the lower-case letter to ‘stick.’ That’s when I turned to my favourite forum for help. Thanks to UtterAccess VIP member (and Access MVP) datAdrenaline, I quickly had a reasonably workable solution.

Quote of the Day

I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people who are convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference after another.

– Ellen Goodman

All I had to do is change the first letter of each field name I wanted to modify, save and close the table, re-open the table and replace whatever I had entered as the first letter of the temporary field name back to the lowercase letter with which I wanted to start the name. Step by step this is the method I applied:

  • open the table in design view
  • pre-fix each field name with a single letter
  • delete and replace the original uppercased letter
  • save and close the table
  • reopen the table in design view
  • remove the leading character for each field to correct name
  • save and close the table

This problem occurred specifically in Access 2010 beta so it may be a non-issue when the new version is released but if you run into similar situations perhaps a similar approach will help you out of a bind “when all else fails.”

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