The New Import/Export Specifications UI

As I previously mentioned, we are now exposing Import/Export Specifications (Imex Specs) in the OM in a thorough manner. We also took the time to make importing and exporting less repetitive in the UI.

In the past, to make use of Imex Specs, you had to go through part of the import/export wizard until you could load the Imex Specs and then go through with the loaded settings. It was still required to go through a number of clicks that are, well, pointless since you had already saved all the settings required to execute the Import/Export operation.

In Access 2007, when you go through the Import/Export wizard, you will see a new option in the last page of the wizard. The "Save export steps" (or import for the Import case) will save all your settings in an Import/Export Specification (with the name and description you provide). You are also given the option of creating an Outlook task to remind you of going through this task again when you want to.

You will also notice two new buttons in the "External Data" tab called "Saved Imports" and "Saved Exports" (see screenshot below).

If you click on these buttons, you will see the list of Import/Export Specifications you saved, and you can simply click "Run" to run them or "Delete" to remove them.

If you click on the "Run" button the Import/Export task will be run automatically, so you won't need to go through the entire Import/Export wizard.

You might wonder if this new UI doesn't conflict with the legacy (Access 2003 and earlier) Imex Spec UI. The answer is yes and no.

As I hinted to in my previous post, there are new Import/Export Specifications in Access 2007 that are not backed by the MSysIMEXColumns and MSysIMEXSpecs tables. These new Imex Specs are created through the OM (as explained in my previous post) and through the UI above. They are not visible to previous versions of Access and are stored in the database storage stream - not in tables.

As for Imex Specs created in Access 2003 and earlier, they are not visible to the new OM or UI. They will still run fine though (since the "Advanced" option in the Import/Export Wizard is still made available and is fully functional). I hope this clarifies how the old and new Imex Specs fit into the overall picture.

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