Most of your tech support personnel work offsite. They call in or fax their hours to the HR department, and then someone manually enters the hours into the Payroll database. Access 2007 can shorten this long and error-prone process with its new Collect Data Through Outlook E-mail feature.

For this feature to work, you will need to configure Outlook 2007 to receive e-mail from either your internal Exchange server or from Internet e-mail. You will also need a table in your Access database to store data sent to you through Outlook. For this example, create a table called Hours Worked For November, which includes three fields: Employee ID, Week Ending, and Hours Worked. To create the e-mail for each tech support person to collect his or her data for the month of November, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Employees Database.
  2. Click on the Hours Worked For November table in the Navigation pane.
  3. Click the External Data tab.
  4. Click Create E-mail in the Collect Data Group.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Click the >> button.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Click to select Automatically Process Replies And Add Data To Hours Worked For November 2007.
  9. Click Next three times.
  10. Click Create.
  11. Add the e-mail address of the first employee to the To: field.
  12. Click Send.

When the employee receives the e-mail, he or she clicks the Reply button, fills in the data for the three fields, and then clicks the Send button. When Outlook receives the e-mail, it stores it in its Access Data Collection Replies folder. The next time you open Outlook, Access will automatically add the data from each e-mail to the Hours Worked For November table.

If you wish, you can update the table manually (rather than have Access update it) by right-clicking an e-mail message in the Access Data Collection Replies folder and selecting Export To Access Table.

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