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Excel or Access, which is better to use

Discussion in 'Medical Devices (21 CFR Part 820)' started by Dave14867, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. Dave14867

    Dave14867 New Member

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    Hello all,

    I have a generic question. Which is better to use for keeping track of things like calibration and lot tracking purposes in a FDA environment, Excel or Access?

    I personally favor Access because of the legacy data it can maintain and be easily reported out, sorted, etc.

    There are others that prefer Excel, I can only believe that this is due to the fact that more people are familiar with Excel.

    I have a specific application for a "Calibration" file that has historically been maintained as just a flat file and when a new event is placed into the row for the data, of course the old data is overwritten, thus historical data is lost, except in manual records that are maintained.

    With an Access file, the historical records are maintained, and a simple request for the Tool history provides a report with the historical dates all nicely reported out.

    What are your thoughts?


    Thanks

    Dave
     
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    For calibration? Get a proper, off the shelf database like GageTrak or similar.
     
  3. Dave14867

    Dave14867 New Member

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    Andy,

    Yes I am familiar with GageTrak, but that doesn't directly answer my question, although maybe it does in a round about way.
     
    Andy Nichols likes this.
  4. RoxaneB

    RoxaneB Moderator Staff Member

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    The usage of any means to stay on top of calibration - be it Access, Excel, GageTrak, or a binder of paper - is really dependent upon the user (i.e., knowledge of how to make the most out of it). There is a way to stay on top of a tool's calibration history in Excel without losing the historical data - create a new row and then pivot table it.

    At the end of the day, it's about what works for your organization and what has the ability to meet the requirements for maintaining such a history.
     
  5. Bev D

    Bev D Moderator Staff Member

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    I echo Andy’s advice.
    Using EXCEL or ACCESS is usually a short sided ‘cost savings’ move. But both are limited in their abilities to keep up with something like calibration in teh long run. ACCESS is often not backwards compatible with major revisions and can require full time maintenance by someone with ‘special skills’. EXCEL is way to open to someone altering records intentionally or unintentionally and can get unwieldy. If you are working at a really small company (<100 people) and you are a MS Office expert, then I’d recommend EXCEL as it is simpler. But really, purchase an off the shelf package...
     
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  6. Dave14867

    Dave14867 New Member

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    RoxaneB
    I had never thought of a Pivot table but will look into that.

    Bev D,

    While not a MS Office Expert, I do know Access and Excel, I believe GageTrak is built on Access. I believe Access is backwards compatable. I am using Access 2010 on my home system and I can open a database written in any previous versions, although some functionality (security that I know of) won't function because the methods are no longer supported but there are other ways of accomplishing the same thing, just needs some different code.
     

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