Use transactions in a DAO Recordset

A transaction is a set of operations bundled together and handled as a single unit of work. The work in a transaction must be completed as a whole; if any part of the transaction fails, the entire transaction fails. Transactions offer the developer the ability to enforce data integrity. With multiple database operations bundled into a single unit that must succeed or fail as a whole, the database cannot reach an inconsistent state. Transactions are common to most database management systems.

The most common example of transaction processing involves a bank's automated teller machine (ATM). The processes of dispensing cash and then debiting the user's account are considered a logical unit of work and are wrapped in a transaction: The cash is not dispensed unless the system is also able to debit the account. By using a transaction, the entire operation either succeeds or fails. This maintains the consistent state of the ATM database.

You should consider using transactions if you want to make sure that each operation in a group of operations is successful before all operations are committed. Keep in mind that all transactions are invisible to other transactions. That is, no transaction can see another transaction's updates to the database until the transaction is committed.


The behavior of transactions with Access databases differs from the behavior of ODBC data sources, such as SQL Server. For example, if a database is connected to a file server, and the file server stops before a transaction has had time to commit its changes, then your database could be left in an inconsistent state. If you require true transaction support with respect to durability, you should investigate using a client/server architecture.

The Access database engine supports transactions through the DAO BeginTrans, CommitTrans, and Rollback methods of the Workspace object.

The following code example changes the job title of all sales representatives in the Employees table. After the BeginTrans method starts a transaction that isolates all of the changes made to the Employees table, the CommitTrans method saves the changes. Be aware that you can use the Rollback method to undo changes that you saved with the Update method.

Sub ChangeTitle() 
Dim wrkCurrent As DAO.Workspace 
Dim dbsNorthwind As DAO.Database 
Dim rstEmployee As DAO.Recordset 
On Error GoTo ErrorHandler 
   Set wrkCurrent = DBEngine.Workspaces(0) 
   Set dbsNorthwind = CurrentDB 
   Set rstEmployee = dbsNorthwind.OpenRecordset("Employees") 
   Do Until rstEmployee.EOF 
      If rstEmployee!Title = "Sales Representative" Then 
         rstEmployee!Title = "Sales Associate" 
      End If 
   If MsgBox("Save all changes?", vbQuestion + vbYesNo) = vbYes Then 
   End If 
   Set rstEmployee = nothing 
   Set dbsNorthwind = Nothing 
   Set wrkCurrent = Nothing 
   Exit Sub 
   MsgBox "Error #: " & Err.Number & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & Err.Description 
End Sub

When you use transactions, all databases and Recordset objects in the specified Workspace object are affected; transactions are global to the workspace, not to a specific database or Recordset. If you perform operations on more than one database or within a workspace transaction, the Commit and Rollback methods affect all the objects changed within that workspace during the transaction.

You can also use the BeginTrans, CommitTrans, and Rollback methods with the DBEngine object. In this case, the transaction is applied to the default workspace, which is DBEngine.Workspaces(0).

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