Microsoft MVP Summit 2024: Top Takeaways for Access Developers

From new Access features to VBScript deprecation and the coming end of VBA in Outlook, here's what you need to know from the 2024 MVP Summit.

Microsoft MVP Summit 2024: Top Takeaways for Access Developers

The Microsoft MVP Summit is an annual event open only to Microsoft MVPs.

I recently attended the 2024 Summit, held March 12-14 at Microsoft's company headquarters in Redmond, WA.  The summit sessions are subject to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), so while I can share general insights, certain specifics must remain confidential.

As an attendee, I've compiled the most significant takeaways for Access developers. Let's dive in.

Access Team's Roadmap: Upcoming Features and Enhancements

The Access team unveiled exciting plans for the future of the platform. Here are the key highlights:

  • Enhancements to modern charts, empowering users to create more visually appealing and interactive data visualizations.
  • A new Monaco-based SQL Query editor, providing a more user-friendly and efficient environment for writing and managing SQL queries.
  • Improvements to the DataVerse connector, including better performance and greater support for certain Access data types.

For more details and demos, be sure to register for Access DevCon 2024, where the Access team will be presenting most of this same information to the general public:

Final Lineup Announced for Access DevCon Vienna 2024
The final lineup is in for Access DevCon Vienna 2024. Check out the speakers and all 12 presentation topics. And don’t forget to register!

The Future of Outlook and VBA

Outlook, a critical tool for many Access developers, is undergoing significant changes. Here's what you need to know:

  • Microsoft has introduced a new version of Outlook, known as "New Outlook," which does not (and WILL NOT) support VBA.
  • However, classic Outlook will still be included in Office 2024, ensuring support through at least 2029.
  • Access developers relying on Outlook VBA integrations may need to rewrite their code, although the specifics remain unclear at this point.

It's essential for Access developers to stay informed about these changes and start planning for potential adjustments to their Outlook-integrated solutions.

The New Outlook and Access/VBA
Microsoft is currently working on the so-called New Outlook that is no longer based on COM. This means that the traditional object model, the programmability and the automation of Outlook from other Windows applications such as Access will be lost. But one after the other:What?Microsoft had been a b…

VBScript Deprecation Update and Its Impact on VBA Developers

The VBScript team is preparing to release a blog post detailing the timeline for the deprecation and eventual removal of VBScript from Windows. While the specifics are currently under NDA, there are both positive and negative implications for VBA developers.

The MVPs attending the summit provided suggestions to address the most pressing concerns of VBA developers. Microsoft seemed receptive to some of these ideas, but could not make any firm commitments. It is crucial for the Access community to vocalize their needs and concerns regarding VBScript deprecation. Strong community feedback can motivate Microsoft to allocate resources towards supporting the VBScript features most critical to VBA developers.

Microsoft Announces the Death of VBScript
As seems to be their new modus operandi, Microsoft has quietly rolled a hand grenade into the VBA development world with very little fanfare.

Microsoft's Heightened Focus on Security and Its Consequences

Microsoft continues to prioritize security across its products, which can sometimes come at the expense of functionality. Access developers should anticipate further changes to default security settings, similar to the recent decision to disable VBA for files downloaded from the web without an override option.

While the specific security measures discussed at the MVP Summit are under NDA, it is clear that Microsoft's emphasis on security will continue to shape the development landscape. Access developers must stay proactive in adapting their practices to align with these evolving security standards.

Office to Disable All VBA Code in Files from the Internet
Beginning in April 2022, users will no longer have the option to manually enable VBA code in Office files downloaded from the internet.

Roundtable Discussion between Access MVPs and Access Dev Team

During the summit, Access MVPs engaged in a roundtable discussion with the Access development team, emphasizing the importance of winning the PR battle when it comes to Microsoft Access. Despite Access recently celebrating its 30th birthday, rumors of its demise have persisted for more than two decades. As Access developers, we understand its value as a development platform. However, our clients and potential clients are perpetually concerned about investing in a platform that they fear is going away.

The MVPs stressed that Microsoft and the Access team need to do a better job promoting Access, especially its ongoing development. They pointed out that several recently released features, such as Large Address Aware support and VBA code signing, never even received an official announcement.

What Happened to the Access Roadmap
[Access Developers]: Stop putting out bad information on the public roadmap.[Microsoft]: OK, we’ll stop putting out information on the public roadmap.


The Microsoft MVP Summit 2024 provided valuable insights into the future of Access, as well as related technologies including Outlook and VBScript.

With exciting new features on the horizon for Access, developers have much to look forward to. However, the changes surrounding Outlook VBA and VBScript deprecation will require careful planning and potential adjustments. As always, staying engaged with the Access community and providing feedback to Microsoft will be essential in shaping the future of these technologies.

Together, we can navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead while advocating for the continued growth and promotion of Microsoft Access as a powerful development platform.

  • Article title generated with the help of Claude-3-Opus
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  • Initial draft generated with the help of Claude-3-Opus

All original code samples by Mike Wolfe are licensed under CC BY 4.0