How to Use Wildcards in MS Access

In this article we learn about the Wildcards present in MS Access, their types, and features.

In Access databases it is common for us to look for similar data. When you are looking to locate locating a set of similar looking values, the Wildcards in MS Access come handy. These are a form of special characters that replace all these unknown values and can find items with similar characters. The important point to note about these wildcards is that they can be used for locating similar values and not identical values. You can therefore make use of them for getting data with specified pattern match.Quick Overview Of Wildcards In Ms Access

When using MS Access you can get access to two different types of Wildcards, one for each Structured Query Language that is supported in the application. Given below is a brief description of both the wildcards.

ANSI – 89

Wildcards In Ms AccessThese are the kind of wildcards that are used when you are running the find and replace operations or queries against your MS Access databases, which can be in .mdb or .accdb file format. The characters supported in this form of wildcard are:

  • * – The asterisk character is used for finding the similar values. When placed along with any given text, it will find all similar characters.
  • ? – A question mark is used to find any single alphabetic character, between other available characters.
  • [ ] – Square bracket finds a character similar to any character in the bracket.
  • ! – Exclamation mark finds characters that are different from the ones in the bracket.

ANSI – 89 supports various other characters, apart from the ones explained above. The other wildcard supported in MS Access is ANSI – 92.

ANSI – 92

These are the kind of wildcards that can be used when running queries in Access projects. The main reason why MS Access uses these wildcards is because SQL Server also makes use of these. The characters supported under this wildcard are explained below.

  • % – Percentage sign is used for finding out all similar values, it can be placed at the starting or the ending of the string.
  • _ – Underscore is used for finding single alphabetic character between other given characters.
  • ^ – This is used for finding a character that is different from the ones in the brackets.
  • – A minus sign is used for finding characters from the range mentioned in the brackets. However, this requires the range to be mentioned in ascending order only.

These characters are a few of the ones available in ANSI – 92 Wildcard. The character option however is not limited to just these, and there are more options at your disposal. Running these characters is easy and hassle free, you can use them in the Query design view of MS Access databases. Before you make use of these wildcards, you need to properly understand their usage, which character is best suited for what kind of text.

If you are Access database for your business, it is quite possible that you are aware about Access data errors that may occur at any point of time. To keep your data safe, keep an effective tool to repair accdb and deal with incidents of data corruption.

Author Introduction:

Vivian Stevens is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including fix SQL Server and excel recovery software products. For more information visit

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