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Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains answers to common questions handled by our support staff, along with some tips and tricks that we have found useful and presented here as questions.

Installation and Setup

  1. I have a problem linking tables.
  2. How do I enter a registration code?
  3. I cannot run the program by opening Windows Explorer and double clicking PA.mde - Setting up the Desktop Shortcut
  4. How do I display the cursor as a single vertical line at the start of the field?
  5. The menu bar and toolbar are in the wrong positions
  6. Problem installing PA on an SOE(Standard Operating Environment) PC
  7. I downloaded a trial version but don't know the username or password to log on
  8. I get an "incorrect database" error
  9. PA and Access 2007
  10. Read Only Error. "Cannot create table tblAvailProjects"
  11. Where do I get the Access Runtime


  1. The project name is not displaying in the drop down lists
  2. I Cannot see users in drop down lists
  3. What is the "Administer" function?
  4. Who is "Sysop" in the security profiles?
  5. Error updating PA from MS Project
  6. Program has errors when opening pages, and generally fails to operate
  7. Odd problems perhaps relating to compact or table linking & Deleting Links
  8. When I try to add a new project I get an error
  9. I keep getting an error message “You do not have exclusive access to the database at this time.  If you proceed to make changes you may not be able to save them later.” 
  10. When converting a report to Word, I loose a few words off the end of a line
  11. Error adding new project after upgrading to version 4.0
  12. Macro enabled warning in Access 2007

The project name is not displaying in the drop down lists

Q. I entered a project in the project details screen, but when I go back to the entry screen, it is not displayed in the drop down list.

A. Before a user can see the project, they need to have permission to view this project. Have the System Administrator go into "Administration" then "Project Access" and ensure your logon is linked to the new project. The reason for this is that not every user should be able to view every project. They should only be able to look at their own project. If you want all users to see all projects, set up a single logon (say "User") for everyone, and give "User" access to all projects

A second problem could relate to the project being set to inactive. Select "All Projects" . and ensure the active box is ticked.

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I cannot see users in drop down lists

Q. Although users were entered by the System Administrator using the "Administer" function, they are not visible in drop down lists.

A. The System Administrator needs to set the users to Active. There is a check box under the "People" tab to set users to Active. The reason is that the drop down lists should be restricted to people currently working on projects, or currently employed by the company. If however a person has left, it may still be appropriate to leave their name in the system. For example, they may have been Sponsor of a project, or been responsible for an Action Item. When people leave the project arena, they should be set to inactive by the System Administrator.

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What is the "Administer" function

Q. I keep hearing about the "Administer" function. What is it?

A. A System Administrator should be nominated for PA. When that person logs on, they have access, via a button on the entry screen, to another part of the system to set up things like security and parameters. Normal users do not see this "Administer" button.

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I have a problem linking tables


Q. I have tried to link to a particular set of tables, but it seems to be looking for another set which don't exist.

A. Before you link to a set of tables, you have to remove links to the previous set of tables. The System Administrator needs to delete the physical links. Only the System Administrator can do this. This situation can arise if the tables are moved, renamed, or if a set of links exist in an installed version. Go to the database window. Select the "Tables" tab. Delete each link. You can tell if it is a link if there is an arrow in front of the table. There is one table that is not linked - tblAvailProjects. It is fine to delete this as it is recreated every time you change your selection on the home screen (Project, Program or All). If you see two other tables (tblDisplayOptions and tblFormIndex) then you are looking at hidden files. You need to turn off the View Hidden and System files in your Access Options menu.

Removing the link does not remove the table. Each link deletion requires confirmation. When all the links are removed, the table screen should be blank. If a link already exists (e.g. tblPeople) and you try to create the link again, Access creates the link as tblPeople1. If you try again, you get tblPeople2. The program does not recognize either tblPeople1 or tblPeople2. You need to delete all three before you can create a new link to the correct tblPeople table.

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How do I enter a registration code?


Q. I have a registration code, but where or how do I enter it?

A. It depends if a code exists or not. Only the System Administrator can change a code but if there is no code, after a warning message, a registration screen will be displayed when you start the program. If you upgrade the number of permitted users, you will be given a new registration code.

The registration code needs to be input by the System Administrator. The System Administrator is the only person who has access to the "Administration" section of the program. There is a button on the "Company" tab to change a registration code.

If no code is set up, a message will be displayed when you log on and a registration code screen displayed.

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Using shortcuts to run PA rather than opening from Windows Explorer. Setting up your desktop shortcut.


Q. I cannot run the program by opening Windows Explorer and double clicking PA.mde (only applies up to version 5)

A. The program cannot be run from Explorer. A special shortcut needs to be set up. When the program is first installed, under your Windows "Start", "Program Files" menu is a "Project Administrator" submenu that will allow you to run the program. If you want to run it from your desktop, go to the menu item to run PA and create a shortcut. (right click the mouse and select "Shortcut"). This will create a second Project Administrator shortcut on the menu. Drag the second shortcut to the desktop and change the name to remove the "(2)" by right clicking the shortcut on the desktop and selecting "Rename".

If for some reason you need to build a shortcut, firstly, create a new shortcut which tries to open PA. On an empty part of the desktop, right click the mouse, select "New", "Shortcut" and "Browse". Find the file called "PA.mde" which will typically be under "Program Files\Project Administrator\". Remember to change the selection box in the browse window to look at all files, not just program files. When PA.mde is selected, click "Next" and enter the name (either "PA" or "Project Administrator".

The shortcut should now be on your desktop. Right click the shortcut and select properties. You need to change the line in "Target". It will probably look something like:

"C:\Program Files\Project Administrator\PA.mde"

It will need to look like:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\MSACCESS.EXE" "C:\Program Files\Project Administrator\PA.mde" /wrkgrp "C:\Program Files\ Project Administrator\PA.mdw"

Don't panic. It is not as bad as it seems. There are three parts to the command line.

  • The first part is the path to MSACCESS.EXE. Find the file (it will probably be in the same location as the sample -
    "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\MSACCESS.EXE".
    Do not erase the current "Target". Put this section in before the text that is automatically set up. Be sure to put quotation marks around the path.

  • The second part is the path to PA.mde. This will normally be what is set up when you create the shortcut above. There should be a space between the two parts, and remember to check the path is in quotation marks.

  • The third part starts with
    Remember to have a space before and after this and no quotation marks. The final section is the path to the workgroup file which is called "PA.mdw". Once again, it is in quotation marks.

Check the "Working Directory" is correct. It is probably:

"C:\Program Files\Project Administrator"

If you want to add the traffic lights icon, click the "Change Icon" button and find the file called "TrafficLights.ico" which should be in the "C:\Program Files\Project Administrator" directory.

Your program should now work successfully.

We now have a tool to help you set up the shortcut. Download our short cut generator from

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The cursor highlights the whole field which makes it difficult to read.

Q. How do I display the cursor as a single vertical line at the start of the field?

A. This is a function in Microsoft Access. It can be changed by opening another Access application, and going to "Tools", "Options", "Keyboard", "Behaviour entering field". There are three options:

    • Select Entire Field
    • Go to Start of Field
    • Go to End of Field

Set the option you prefer for all Access applications

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Who is "Sysop" in the security profiles?

Q. When setting up security accounts and users, I see a name "Sysop". Should I delete it?

A. The user Sysop is used during the development of PA. It has certain access beyond the user "Sysadmin". It is best to leave it in place in case there is a problem that may require Project Perfect to assist. The user "Sysop" is not counted for licensing purposes. You are licensed for a certain number of logons excluding "Sysop" and "Sysadmin".

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The menu bar and toolbar are in the wrong position

Q. The Menu bar (with the words File etc.) is below the Toolbar (with the icons). How do I get the Menu bar on top of the Toolbar.

A. They can be dragged. Move the mouse over the left hand side of either bar, and whilst holding down the key, drag it to the required position.

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Problem updating PA from MS Project

Q. When I select the "Update" button on the schedule screen, I get an error.

A. There can be several causes. Firstly check you have a project. Select "Edit" and make sure you can open MS Project. If not, go outside PA and try and open the project with MS Project. If you have difficulties, the project may be corrupt. You will need to set up a new project.

If you are still having problems, and the project seems to be OK, ensure the prompt to save a baseline is turned off. When you try to save a project you will sometimes be prompted to save a baseline. You can turn off this dialog box by ticking the "Don't show me this again" box. Incidentally, if anyone has worked out how to turn the dialog on, I would be interested to hear from them.

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Problem installing PA on an SOE(Standard Operating Environment) PC

Q. When I try to install PA on a machine that has a standard operating environment, the install program fails.

A. In order to run the install program, you need to be able to add PA to the start menu. Some SOE machines don't allow you to update the program files. There is a workaround which is fairly manual and will require you contact Project Perfect. If you do have this problem, send us an email and we will provide instructions and all the files you need to do the install.

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Program has errors when opening pages, and generally fails to operate

Unless you are an experienced Access user, or can contact one, I suggest you let us know and we will send you documentation. Basically it relates to files not being installed on your PC. As a start,

  • Open a new database.
  • In design mode go to Modules
  • Create new Module
  • Go to Tools, References You will have a list of references, some of which will be ticked.
  • Set up the list to read as follows, in the order below: Note that the version numbers might be slightly different.
    • Visual Basic for Applications
    • Microsoft Access 11.0 Object Library
    • Microsoft DAO 3.6 Object Library
    • OLE Automation
    • Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications Extensibility 5.3
    • Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects 2.1 Library
    • Microsoft Project 9.0 Object Library
    • Microsoft Outlook

If any are missing (i.e. you can't find them in the list), it might be the cause of the problem. Something like a missing dll. If they are all available, save the module, close the new database and try PA again. If not you will need to add a reference. There is help in the Access help file, or if you are stuck, let us know and also the version of Access you are using.

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Odd problems perhaps relating to compact or table linking

This is a Microsoft bug which is covered in Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 811120. According to Microsoft it only effects Windows ME but we have had the problem on Access 2000 running on both Windows 2000 and XP. Some symptoms are that tables cannot be deleted, or a compact and repair causes Access to close. We are not sure what other problems may be related to the issue.

The problem is the use of linked tables with a path length of over 128 characters. If your tables are buried deep in the LAN, you can easily run up 128 characters. Microsoft have a fix you can download but it seems to not want to run on anything but ME. It is Microsoft Jet 4.0 Service Pack 7. If anyone has this problem, and tries the fix, we would appreciate feedback.

The problem we suggest is to relocate the files to somewhere where the file name is less than 128 characters. It is not ideal, but seems to solve the problem.

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I downloaded a trial version but don't know the username or password to log on

The user name is sysadmin and the password is left blank. The trial version is good for 30 days.

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I get an "incorrect database" error

If you are running Access 2002 or later, you need to set the default database format to Access 2000. To do this open any database and go to Tools, Options, Advanced and ensure the Default File Format is set to Access 2000.

Another possible problem is that you have a runtime version of Access installed, or more than one version of Access installed. This may have been installed with another Access program you purchased. Your full version of Access may be Access 2003 for example, but you may have an Access 97 runtime version installed as well. Both full version and runtime version use the same filename - MSACCESS.EXE. The runtime version however does not allow you to modify the database design. Thanks to David W. Detwiler of Integrated Construction Solutions in the USA for bringing this one to our attention.

To check, look at the shortcut to Access and in particular the location of MSACCESS.EXE. If it is not in somewhere like C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 11\ look for the file in Program Files and, if you find another MSACCESS.EXE change the path in the shortcut. To be sure, you can run a search across all C: drive for MSACCESS.EXE to see if there is more than one copy.

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When I try to add a new project I get an error

The usual culprit is a missing ActiveX component in your Access installation. It is called Microsoft Common Dialog and the file is COM32DLG.OCX If you have a system administrator, ask them to install the file for you. It should be part of your Windows operating system, or on your Office CD. Alternatively, we have produced a kit which has instructions and the files. A zip file can be downloaded by clicking here Common Dialog Download

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I keep getting an error message (version 5 or prior)“You do not have exclusive access to the database at this time.  If you proceed to make changes you may not be able to save them later.” 

We must thank one of our Canadian users - Yvonne Wupori from Akita Drilling for solving this one. You may see the problem if your PA.mde and PA.mdw files are in the same directory. The solution is to move the PA.mdw file to another directory, and change the desktop icon to point to the new location. For more information on adjusting the shortcut, see Q 6 above.

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When converting a Report to Word, I loose a few words off the end of a line.

This is a problem we unfortunately can do nothing about. There is a converter program within Access that does strange things when you convert to Word. The usual problem is to drop the word off the end of a line however sometimes it deletes a few lines. There are numerous references on the Web to the problem and nobody has been able to either identify all the situations that cause it, or come up with a solution. You will find the same issues when you use the "Office Links" function in any Microsoft Office program. Send an email to Bill Gates and complain.

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Error adding new project after upgrading to version 4.0

After upgrading your database to version 4.0 you get an error adding a new project. The error refers to the beforeUpdate event. The error relates to a field in the table tblProjectSupplementary. To fix this, close PA and open the tables file using Windows Explorer. Go to the tables section and open tblProjectSupplementary in design mode. Change ProjectNo from Autonumber to Number. You may be prompted to confirm so confirm you want to change the field type. Save and close the file. Next time you open PA, you should not have a problem adding a new project. This error occurred on very early purchases of the software.

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Project Administrator and Access 2007

As at August 2007, Access 2007 has a number of "undocumented features". Like most serious Access developers we are hanging out for Service Pack 1. Whilst we have tested the software on Office 2007, and it runs without a problem, you should let us know any issues you are experiencing that may be related to Access 2007.

There are a whole different set of security requirements to be managed in 2007 and these are covered in the Quick Start guide you received in the download package. We suggest you check these out and if there is still a problem, let us know.

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Read Only Error. "Cannot create table tblAvailProjects"

This one relates to an error that table tblAvailProjects cannot be deleted or created. To explain the table, whenever you select a project, a program, or all projects on the home screen, a table is created to store the numbers of the projects selected.  For example if you select only one project, that project number is stored in tblAvailProjects.  When you go to another screen – for example Issues – the program looks at what is in tblAvailProjects and only displays issues for that project.  The table is continually created and deleted as you use PA.

If the folder or file is Read Only, the table cannot be created or deleted. You need to change the folder and any files in the folder, to read write. This is not always straight forward in Vista however we did locate a good article that helped one user Harri Siebert in Germany fix the problem. You can read it at at Basically it says:

"You have to change the ownership of that folder. You can do that by opening the folder properties, goto security then click advance. After that, go to owner tab then select your account then check the replace owner on subcontainers and object then click OK. NOTE: your account must be an administrative one. "

There is more information in the newsgroup thread above as to what to do if this does not work.

For more information download this guide to changing the security settings

Macro Enabled warning in Access 2007

When opening Access 2007, you may receive a warning that macros are not enabled. Follow this link to find out how to change the macro security and avoid the warning.

If you are using an earlier version, open any Access database - but not PA - and go to Tools, Macro, Security and set the security level to Low. You can even create a new Access database if you want just to change the setting. Delete it afterwards.

This does not work for runtime Access unfortunately. There is no access to the trust centre.

Where do I get the Access Runtime

You do not need to have a full version of Microsoft Access installed on your computer. Microsoft provide a runtime version which you can use. It allows you to run Access programs, but not create or modify them. You can download either a 32 bit or 64 bit version of Access runtime 2010 from

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