How to edit reports using Microsoft Access with the ShoWorks Companion

Article ID: 113020
Category: Reporting
Date Added: 8/4/1999
Date Updated: 10/14/2021


To edit a report created in ShoWorks, click the "Edit w/ShoWorks" button while viewing the report.  This will engage the ShoWorks Custom Report Wizard.  For a complete and more flexible reporting option, you may choose to modify the report outside of ShoWorks using Microsoft Access.  To modify reports using Microsoft Access, use the "ShoWorks Access Companion" icon.  This icon is only installed if a licensed copy of Microsoft Access or newer was installed prior to installing ShoWorks.


You must use the appropriate version of Microsoft Access with the related version of ShoWorks.  For example, ShoWorks 2020 requires Microsoft Access 2013 or newer. More information about the interrelations of versions of ShoWorks and Access may be found here: Understanding versions of ShoWorks and Microsoft Access

More information:

ShoWorks is actually a Microsoft Access database however, it runs as a stand-alone database application on Microsoft's developer platform (a run-time version of the Access engine is used). Microsoft does not release a report designer for this, but you can use Microsoft Access (found in versions of Microsoft Office) to further edit your reports in ShoWorks. You can even go a step further and not only edit them, but create even more powerful reports using Access.  This applies to both preset reports and custom reports created with the ShoWorks Report Wizard.

Once you modify a custom report with Microsoft Access that was originally created with the ShoWorks Custom Report Wizard, you can no longer use the ShoWorks Custom Report Wizard to modify the same report.

For more information on how to edit reports in Access, please see the Access User Guide which comes with Access or one of the many resources available such as books and web sites on Microsoft Access. Gladstone does not provide technical assistance on how to use Microsoft Access.


Gladstone provides a service of creating/editing custom reports for your fair should Microsoft Access not be an option for you. Please see the following for more information: http://fairsoftware.com/services.aspx

To use Microsoft Access to edit any report in ShoWorks (both preset and custom reports):

Important: Gladstone does not provide technical assistance on how to use Microsoft Access. Please see the Microsoft Access documentation for support of this product and the bottom of this article for further explanation.

  1. Close down all applications including ShoWorks.
  2. Run the ShoWorks Companion by selecting Start>All Programs>ShoWorks 2020>ShoWorks Access Companion

Tips for avoiding problems when using Microsoft Access and the ShoWorks Access Companion

Errors may be encountered as a result of making changes to reports and queries when using Microsoft Access. This is often caused when code from ShoWorks is expecting an object (such as a text box, label, graphic, logo, etc.) that a user has deleted. While Gladstone does not support modifications outside of ShoWorks (see the bottom of this article for further explanation), the following are some tips to avoid this when using Microsoft Access to modify parts of ShoWorks:

  1. Do not modify any preset reports or queries but rather duplicate them and modify these duplicates. This way you will not have to reinstall should you make mistakes and can instead just duplicate the original again and try again.
  2. If you do modify a preset report or query in an way that it will no longer function properly, run the latest update patch (located at fairsoftware.com) to restore the preset reports and queries to their original state. Your custom reports and queries will be preserved and not lost. Should you not see them upon restarting ShoWorks, use the following support article to restore the custom reports and objects: http://fairsoftware.com/articledetail.aspx?AID=113017
  3. When modifying or creating a report using Access, always preview your report before saving it. As you make changes in design view, make only one or two changes at a time and then preview the report to make sure that changes you made did not affect any code that might be needed to run the report. If the report can be successfully viewed (and filtered if needed), then you can close the report and save it. Then continue making changes, a little at a time. If you reach a point where you encounter an error when trying to preview or filter the report, close it without saving and resume where you left off before the error occurred.
  4. Avoid deleting objects in a report that are original (exist prior to you modifying the report). If an object such as a label, text field, or logo is undesirable and needs to be hidden, consider hiding the object by either setting its Visible property to False, covering the object with a white box, setting the font to white, or resizing the object to a very small size.

Why does Gladstone not provide assistance and support of Microsoft Access?

The result of the errors in reports is usually from making modifications using Access. If the error exist from opening one of our preset reports, then running the update patch will restore the report to its original state and the error will not occur. If the error exists on a report that is not a preset report (regardless if the report was originally one of the preset reports before you modifed it in Access), and has been modified in Access, we are unable to assist as the cause of the error is a result of manipulation with Access is beyond the scope of ShoWorks support.

Unlike most other commercial programs, we allow the user to open up ShoWorks outside its runtime environment to make modifications using another application. We have no control at this point, of the many possibilities that a user could change which would result in an error due to code in ShoWorks that encounters these unexpected changes.

Though we try to have every possible report listed in ShoWorks, we understand that many fairs will need a degree of customization of ShoWorks that is not broadly used by the mainstream of users. For this reason, we have (since the first version in 1994) allowed the thousands of users access to the inner workings of the program to make such modifications by using a third party application - Microsoft Access, by which support is directed to Microsoft or a Microsoft Access consultant. If this is not a viable option, we can contract out with the fair to provide custom programming services for a reasonable fee. More information about these services can be found here: http://fairsoftware.com/services.aspx

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