One of the major developments of Microsoft's 2010 update to the Office suite is undoubtedly the creation of SharePoint server. With the recent explosion in online project management it is vital to have a product which allows for full collaboration between colleagues and clients, allowing the sharing of files and the consensual updating of data. In turn this advance has transformed Microsoft Access from highly effective yet essentially static database software to a fully interactive, constantly changing project management experience.

The central reason why this is such a major step for Microsoft to take is that it in addition to the standard 'client' forms of the Access of yore the 2010 update introduces 'web' forms that, utilising data macros, allow the standard Access forms to be viewed online within SharePoint.

So how does this work in practice? When a database is published to SharePoint server the files are transferred to the server thus allowing other users with the appropriate level of compatibility and clearance to view, edit and amend the database in real time.

When tables and other data are transferred over to the server links are created to the local copy that 'tie' the original database information into the server. This interconnection means that whenever an Access database is downloaded SharePoint will synchronise and update the data thus safely storing any changes and also improving performance.

Other advantages of linking Access tables to SharePoint server include the interlinking of lookup lists. Each list referenced in the preceding list is also brought up thus creating a Russian doll effect of lists within lists.

When multiple users are working on one database there is the potential for more than one of them to edit or update data at the same time thus causing conflicts within the project. SharePoint can resolve these conflicts thanks to a handy dialog box that highlights the error and provides a list of possible solutions.

However it is worth remembering that structural changes, such as large scale amendments to columns in linked tables, cannot be carried out within Access but must be opened in SharePoint before any editing can take place.

Publishing Access databases to the web is not in itself entirely new. Facilities were in place for previous versions of Access to push apps out online but this was a laborious process involving a number of different stages that proved both time consuming and also costly as Active Server Pages and SQL server required licences.

This union of Microsoft Access and SharePoint server makes the relationship between project manager and their team infinitely more accessible and collaborative. Web based applications are now the most commonly understood form of corporate communication as they provide the opportunity for real time edits and contributions to be made to any given project. To ensure that you do not miss out on the future of database publication it is advisable to enrol on a course that will give you a thorough grounding in how the interrelationship between Microsoft Access 2010 and SharePoint server functions.