BigInt not recognized in an Access 2007 ADP

Anyone who has read my blog or twitter feed, or worked with me, or drank with me, or been in the same room with me for longer that ten minutes, all know that I do not approve of using Access as a business-class development platform.  The technical debt that it creates is not worth the effort, and you end up depending on a software package that is better suited to tracking your recipes than your HR paperwork.

That said, there are some solutions that are well suited for Access, and one of them is form-filling.  In this example, we have an HR department that is required to fill out a form that uses some SQL Server-accessible data, and some entered data.  The resultant paper form has to match a template exactly.

This is the kind of solution that VSTO is actually very good for now, but VSTO wasn’t a reality when the solution was developed, so I give them a break there.  Since the only other real option is to build out a full windows application just to print one form, or to save off copies of Word documents, Access is a decent solution here.

Anyway, back to the problem at hand.  I need to add some fields.  The application is an Access 2007 ADP upgraded from Access 2003, and uses data from a SQL Server 2005 database.  I shift-double-click to enter the editing form.  As I right click on the table to enter design view, I get a surprising error:


If you can’t read that, the text says:

"Table 'table_name(dbo)' could not be loaded.

The table being loaded into memory has a user-defined data type ('bigint') that is not recognized.

Close all your open database diagram and table designer windows.  The new data type will be recognized when you re-open the diagram or table designer."

Needless to say, when I close all open windows and re-open them, the problem is still there.

So, usually when I blog about a problem, I have a cool fix.  This time, not the case.  I posted to the partner support forums and got this response:

“Based on my test, I was able to reproduce the issue on my side, if I create a table in SQL directly and open the ADP file associated with the database I see exact same error message when I try to design the table in Access.

create table a1 (id1 bigint primary key)

Also, if I try to create a new table from Access, I cannot find "bigint" in Datatype options.

It seems to be a limitation or issue in Access that it doesn't support bigint in design view though the tables work as expected in other functions.”

That’s kind of a shock: it’s actually a bug in Access 2007.

Anyway, I ended up dropping the table and re-importing from SQL Server which worked fine, BigInt and all.  I have a response in to them as far as finding a better solution, and I wonder if using an ALTER TABLE query might work.  Maybe I’ll roll back and try that.  I’ll post any update here.

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