February 13th, 2012

Menlo WWL

No Thanks to Microsoft

I have spent much of today trying to get Microsoft Access graphs (technically, PivotChart objects) to behave similarly to their MS Excel report cousins. Specifically, I've been challenged by formatting the Y axis so it doesn't display unnecessary decimal places (by default it wants to use 0.00 format) and relabeling chart legends so that it doesn't put "Sum of" in front of the category names, which is what it wants to do by default. In Excel, you'd right-click on the things in question. It doesn't work like that in Access, and it's fiendishly difficult to figure out where it's changed.

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This stuff isn't documented in any sane way, in my opinion. It took hours of searching around and trial and error before I figured it out. Normally my Google-fu is pretty good, but this was like pulling teeth. And judging from the questions I found (few of which had answers), I'm not the only person who is trying to figure this out. It's nowhere near the user interface standard used in Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, or for that matter in other parts of Access. It's only the Chart object that behaves so stupidly. Madness.