Microsoft Access is a database management system from Microsoft, packaged with Office which combines the Jet relational database engine with a graphical interface intended to make it possible for relatively unskilled programmers and non-programmer "power users" to build sophisticated "front-ends" to complex databases.
One of the major benefits of Access from a programmer perspective is its relative compatibility with SQL—queries may be viewed and edited as SQL statements. Otherwise, it uses VBA for programming forms and logic. The report writer in Access is similar to the other popular database report writer - Crystal Reports but the two products are vastly different in their approach. MSDE (Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine) 2000, a cut-down version of MS SQL Server 2000, is included with the developer edition of Office XP and may be used with Access as an alternative to the Jet Database Engine.
Access is commonly used by small businesses and hobby programmers to create customised systems for handling small tasks (Microsoft Access Development). Its cut and paste functionality can also make it a useful tool for connecting between other databases (for example, Oracle and SQL Server) during data or database conversions.
Unlike complete RDBMSs it lacks triggers and stored procedures.
See also: Microsoft Office
Microsoft Access was also the name of a communications program from Microsoft, meant to compete with ProComm and other programs. It proved a failure and was dropped. Years later they reused the name for their database.
Part of this article was originally based on material from FOLDOC, used with permission. Update as needed.