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I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.

No Full Outer Join in Access

Recently I needed to help a colleague with a small inventory true up task. We needed to know items that were in List A and not in List B, and vice versa. It was a universe of about 1000 items with a good sized delta, 15 to 20 percent.

For tools I had the options of Excel and Access installed, or I could look for other options (one would be to export both to txt files and use a diff utility). Being a data guy and not an Excel power user, I figured I’d just import into Access, do a quick full join, and call it a day.

Turns out – and maybe I used to know this – that Access supports left or right joins, but not a full, even if you type in the query instead of using the designer. I know that join isn’t common, but it is handy, and it’s hardly non-standard. It took me a minute longer to stack two queries and get the answer I needed. Close to trivial for me, maybe not so for a not-quite power user, though I guess you could argue that only a power user would try to solve the problem this way.

Problem solved, for now at least, but it sparked a couple interesting thoughts – more on those tomorrow.


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