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Using Access Hyperlink Fields From ASP

When connecting an existing Access database to your web site, you may find that your hyperlink fields don't act as you'd expect them to act. Not only do they not come out as a properly formatted anchor tag, they don't even come out as plain text. So how do you handle them? We'll tell you...

Hyperlink fields in Access (97 and later) are actually just modified text fields that follow a special format. This format consists of three parts seperated by # symbols. These three parts are the Display Text, the Address, and the Sub Address. The Display Text is what you see when you look at the data in an Access form. The Address is the path to the target document. The Sub Address is the location within the file or page. This format, and the fact that the Display Text and Sub Address are optional, is why most data retreived from these fields simply looks like the URL surrounded by # symbols.

With this knowledge it is easy to read and modify these fields from ASP. If you just want to insert a link to ASP 101, for instance, you would not enter:

http://www.asp101.com/

but should instead use this format:

#http://www.asp101.com/#

when entering data into a hyperlink field. If you want to take advantage of the additional capabilities of this type of field, this can also be easily accomplished by using this type of syntax:

ASP 101's New Stuff#http://www.asp101.com/default.asp#whatsnew

As you can see, there's nothing magical about these fields, and using them is actually quite easy once you understand how they work.


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