Access with a server and mobile device

Copper Contributor

Hi everyone. We are a company who currently uses Access for a lot of our reports and setting up and tracking jobs. All of our office computers are setup on a central server (we are not cloud based). We are looking into the possibility of adding tablets to our crews so they can do reports onsite (eliminating paper and double work). I know Access is only on desktops/laptop and we are looking into using Surface Pros, from my understanding Access is on the SP. 


Would we have to create a web-based app for them to access the database while offsite or will the full database be available while offsite and when they return to the office, they will have to upload it to the server.


I apologize if this is unclear, I am not an IT person and am just starting to really learn my way around access. Any insight will be much appreciated. 

3 Replies
You can setup **VPN access** for your Windows tablets and place the Access database file on a **shared folder** to enable multi-user Access up to 255 simultaneous connections (though practically the max number of simultaneous users you want is likely to be less, depending on usage).

Any Windows tablet or PC should work well for multi-user remote Access database use. Surface Pro should work well. Just avoid the old failed non-Pro surfaces with ARM cellphone CPUs.

I would highly suggest going for Office 365 as every other version now, even Office 2019, is far behind and will remain so with many major features excluded from it too. I would also suggest Windows 10 to use latest versions of Office.

You can opt for good wireless card and 4GB+ of RAM for better performance, and can use Ethernet cable connections for even better performance with VPN / shared folder access when feasible (though not required).

An alternative to VPN would be RemoteApp. This is a form of Remote Desktop which only shows the app window and therefore scales very well compared to standard RDP and without every showing the desktop or needing to launch the app. You can use this to enable access from any client (or even web browser) such as even an iPad, with a RDP client app installed.

However VPN is suggested over RemoteApp for performance in many cases. In all cases, you can directly use the full-featured Forms, Macros, Queries and even VBA Macros you built in Microsoft Access and without the restrictions of non-discontinued Access Web App development or the order of magnitude higher cost of web app UI development.

You might also want to consider using the PowerAccess All-in-One Toolset & Framework for Microsoft Access (for which you can subscribe at for early access) to develop to your Access solution.

PowerAccess provides tools for enabling RemoteApp use (even for use on iPads, browsers and Macs) to even be hosted with unlimited connections from a single Windows (not just Windows Server) workstation PC, among dozens of other new tools and hundreds of other new features for MS Access.

I hope that proves helpful.


Dan Moorehead
Founder of PowerAccess — All-in-One Toolset & Framework for Microsoft Access


Does that answer your questions?

You can read more in my post about RemoteApp vs. VPN and alternatives for mobile / cloud / Mac / web / multi-user use of Microsoft Acce.... I hope those tips help.




Dan Moorehead

Founder, PowerAccess

:backhand_index_pointing_right: Subscribe to Empower Microsoft Access & Excel with:

  ● PowerAccess (All-in-One Toolset | Framework for Access)
  ● (AI for Finance | Fuzzy Match | Dedupe | Excel)

  ● PowerVBA (COM-free C# / VB.NET for Access / Excel / Office)

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  ● PowerAccess2SQL (Access to SQL Server – AI-automated | optimized)

Thank you, yes your response did provide answers. The next step for us is to decide which route we want to go for the company. Access and in essence 365 is a VERY powerful tool and I feel we are only using a very small percentage of their capabilities! I also looked into poweraccess and it was very intriguing (I saw you are a developer in in it, and appreciate the honest answers and not just a sales pitch). 


As far as developing with poweraccess how would that work? I am guessing it would all be off site, we say what we want and go from there? Potentially we will be looking into using access for all of our accounting/payroll system to link with our already established database. A system like this would be beyond what we would be capable of doing in house. 


Like I said before we are a small company starting to look into taking our next step forward to maximize the tech. we have available....