Access runtimes are an oft-overlooked add-in that has the potential for saving major dollars when deploying an Access-based business solution to the users.

For the uninitiated, once you obtain the Developer Toolkit, you can create and distribute and, test and debug your application. The Access runtime installation provides all of the usual Access bits -except- that there are no options to view or alter the design of any Access object (forms reports etc.) which protects the application from well-meaning "improvements" by users.

To create an Access 2003 runtime, one needs to purchase the Visual Tools for Office, which now includes the Access 2003 Developers Tools. Older Access version used a "MOD" system which IMHO did not match the features of the 2003 tools.

The major advantage to using runtimes is that your Company does not need to purchase or track any licenses for Access, since the Developer's license includes the unlimited royalty-free distribution of all appropriate software components, within the Access design-parameters of 255 simultaneous users.

Examine closely the cost comparisons between these two approaches. In all cases retail costs were used.

Standard Full Desktop Installation of Access 2003:
1. Full stand-alone retail Access installed for each user, per desktop $229 on 6/08/2005 as listed at: http://www.microsoft.com/products/info/product.aspx?view=22&pcid=eeaaa923-2eed-4a05-baf2-62884af30876&type=ovr

therefore ...Company: cost per 50 users is 50 x $229 = $11,450

Runtime Installation of Access 2003:
1. Full stand-alone retail Access installed for developer, single copy $229 on 6/08/2005 as listed at: http://www.microsoft.com/products/info/product.aspx?view=22&pcid=eeaaa923-2eed-4a05-baf2-62884af30876&type=ovr

2. Microsoft Visual Studio Tools, single copy for developer, $499 single copy on 6/8/2005 as listed at:http://www.microsoft.com/PRODUCTS/info/product.aspx?view=22&pcid=e805b355-05e0-476d-92e8-d1a1bde45990&type=ovr

therefore...Company: cost for project is = developer's runtime creation, two hours max at $85 = $170

therefore ...Consultant: cost for project is $229 + $499 = $728. But remember that once the developer makes that initial investment, they can utilize the Tools software for any number of projects.

Of course, these scenarios don't take into account the cost of IT personnel installing the various softwares and configurations