Microsoft offers runtime versions of Microsoft Access so you can create database applications in MS Access and distribute them to non-Access owners. The runtime version allows your users to use your databases without purchasing their own license of Access/Office.
The Microsoft Access Runtime version differs from the retail version in several ways:
Because users of the runtime version do not have the design surfaces, it's important that any MS Access application you distribute with the runtime has a robust global error handler in place for all procedures. Otherwise, unexpected errors will cause your application without recourse. The Debug dialog is not available with a runtime deployment.
For more details on error handling read our papers on:
In earlier versions of Microsoft Access, you needed to purchase a special developer version of Access to receive the runtime version and other related resources. Since MS Access 2007, Microsoft has distributed the runtime versions for free. You can download them from here:
The runtime versions of Access 2003 and earlier were not free.
Given the deprecation of many features in Microsoft Access 2013, we recommend distributing the Microsoft Access 2010 runtime rather than 2013 in most cases.
As the developer, you have the full version of Microsoft Access to create your database application. Rather than have a different machine to test how your application behaves with the runtime version, Microsoft offers a way to run MS Access in runtime mode. Read our paper for more details:
Launching Microsoft Access with your database is similar to the way you would do so with the regular version of Access. Simply launch the msaccess.exe followed by the name of your database. Your database should launch with an Autoexec macro or have a startup form defined. Without it, nothing will appear as the runtime version does not expose the database container to users.
Here's a history of all the Microsoft Access major version releases, service packs, and recent updates with a summary of enhancements, deprecated features and other changes.
In conjunction with our Total Access Startup program, application deployment can be managed and updated centrally.
We also have experience using Terminal Services and RemoteApp to support users over the Internet to run Access applications without having to install Access on their local machines. By hosting the Access application in a secure data center, Mac users and other non-traditional Access users can run your Microsoft Access application from their device.
Contact our Professional Solutions Group for details.