Compacting data

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During use, data files can become fragmented, increasing their size and slowing the rate at which information can be found. Use the Compact option to regularly compact the current user data file to improve the efficiency with which data is stored. To compact the data file, click the Compact button and follow the instructions.


When should data be compacted?


The frequency with which you need to compact your data file varies with its usage pattern. If you use the system intensively, it may be wise to compact each time you start up or just before you close down. If you use the system infrequently, you may find a monthly or six monthly compact is sufficient. You can get a hint as to how effective it is by looking at how much the file size shrinks when the compact is done. This is displayed immediately after the compact process is completed. File size is not the only determinant, however, since compacting re-aligns indexes and make the data file more efficient and data retrieval faster. If the system is behaving erratically in any way, compacting may help to fix it.


If you use the automatic backup function you should never need to perform a manual compact function. This is because the backup process compacts the current data file into the backup file, then uses the newly-compacted backup file, while keeping the original uncompacted file as the backup. This is not the case for manual backups because the current data file is not itself compacted, only the destination backup file. (If you can understand that, you're doing better than most!)


Occasionally it has been reported that the sorting order of the List of Accounts screen is not what would be expected. That is, the accounts are not listed in account number order when the screen is first opened. Compacting the database has corrected this problem in some cases.


Note        Don't confuse the Compact function with file compression. This process in not like using PKZip or Winzip. It simply stores the data more efficiently in the standard Microsoft Access format. (During backups, data is automatically compacted in the destination file.)