The Missing Pocket PC apps: Access & PowerPoint

by Todd Ogasawara

The Microsoft Pocket PC platform provides scaled down versions of Outlook (Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks) and Office (Word, Excel) components for vendors to bundle in their Pocket PC models. They also provide Pocket PC versions of Microsoft Reader and Windows Media Player. Pocket counterparts of Microsoft Money and Microsoft Streets & Trips (also MapPoint) are also available as either part of the basic system or available as part of the purchased product (e.g., Pocket Money). There are enough Pocket counterparts to lead the new user to assume that every major Microsoft productivity product has a Pocket PC version.

This leads to confusion when a new Pocket PC user notices that Microsoft doesn't have a counterpart for Microsoft Access or Microsoft PowerPoint. "Where is Pocket Access and Pocket PowerPoint for the Pocket PC?" they ask. The answer is they don't exist and we Pocket PC users should be glad.

The lack of Microsoft produced counterparts to Access and PowerPoint encouraged third party developers to develop excellent add-on components. They are unhindered by the the Microsoft burn-to-ROM development cycle and produce continual innovation instead of producing new versions only for each new Pocket PC development cycle (Pocket PC 2000, Pocket PC 2002, etc.). So, we now have a couple of excellent third party produced Access-compatible database and PowerPoint-compatible presentation products available for the Pocket PC.

In contrast, there is only one alternative word processor (SoftMaker's TextMaker) and one alternative spreadsheet (Bye Design's SpreadCE) that I know of. And, I suspect neither yet enjoy the kind of sales probably seen by third party database and presentation software for the Pocket PC despite the additional word processing and spreadsheet features offered by these alternatives. In the meantime, Pocket Word and Pocket Excel provided by Microsoft hasn't really changed since the Pocket PC 2000 was released.

I had an opportunity to express this opinion to the Microsoft Pocket Office developer team when my fellow Microsoft MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) and I were able to meet with them in Redmond during the February MVP Summit. So, here's hoping we don't see Pocket Access and Pocket PowerPoint emerge from the Redmond campus. And, cheers to the hard working third party developers who have provided me with rich tools sets through their continual innovation.

Note: Microsoft actually did create a Pocket Access and Pocket PowerPoint that were part of the older Handheld PC product line. I don't recall either product getting much use by Handheld PC users. There is Microsoft SQL Server CE 2.0 for high-end database application development for the Pocket PC.

What do you think? Are the 3rd party add-ons sufficient for your Pocket PC?


2003-07-29 04:13:30
third party Pocket PC spreadsheets
In addition to the spreadsheet you mentioned, there is a very good spreadsheet developed for the Pocket PC called pTab. I have been using it for several years with great results. It even has graphs although you must learn a few new tricks to make most effective use of them. Below is some information for those who wish to pursue.

Web site:

Z4Soft PTab Spreadsheet v.2.1 runs on mobile devices with Windows CE 2.x or Windows CE 3.x (Pocket PC, Palm-Size PC, HPC) with following processors: SH3, MIPS, ARM. Your desktop PC operating system can be Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP.

2003-09-19 11:19:49
Okay, So...
What are they!?!
2003-10-20 22:48:19
Still Confused
Although this is Very enlightening, I am still confused because my pocket pc has pocket access right in the activesync and allows you to import/convert an mdb file. Surely there must be a way to just Open it without having to obtain third party software no? Could you respond, by any chance to ? Thank you very much.
2003-10-27 11:44:20
Out of luck
Pocket access is available in activesync for users still running previous versions of windows ce. Pocket access is there, but it can't be utilized unless you have pocket access. And if you don't have a version of pocket pc prior to pocket pc 2000, then you are out of luck. Use a 3rd party app.
2003-11-05 06:35:05
Out of luck
Hi, dear
I am planing to get a pocket pc for the intention of using ms access to import and export data?
I would appreciate if you tell me so which windows operating system I should go for?windows mobile 2002, windows CE or windows mobile 2003 and also which programms I need to have to support and be compatible with MS Access 97 and also I don't realy undrestand is there any pocket access or not?


2003-12-04 10:08:11
File sharing
3rd party apps are fine as long as they all share the underlying file structure used by MS for Access and Powerpoint.

Whatever one's view of MS, the main benefit in having MS Office with all the basic apps, is that everyone can immediately share their files with everyone else.

If 3rd parties are allowed complete freedom then we go back to the nightmare of lots of apps, all of them with their own virtues, but lots of problems for users wanting to share their data.

If all the Access 3rd parties still talk through the Access DB drivers, then thats fine.

2004-01-07 20:16:21
alternative way?
im still confuse, is the pocket access existed? if not, what is a replacement or alternative way to use access database. im wonder why the activesync has mic. access feature.
2004-01-10 04:28:32
alternative way?
Pocket Access does not exist for the Pocket PC or Smartphone. You can read my commentary on this topic and a list of 3rd party database products for the Pocket PC at: Pocket PC Access Database Alternatives (Missing Apps Part II)
2004-01-10 04:45:45
Pocket Excel alternatives for the Pocket PC
In addition the to 2nd alternative spreadsheet brought to our attention in another response to my blog here, I should point out that SoftMaker has a Pocket PC spreadsheet in beta-testing phase right now. You can find more information about it at:

2004-01-12 00:57:51
pocket access
I have searched all day for the missing Pocket Access. Many thanks!
My problem is-a good teacher's chronicle is in an access database but I could do my own style without so many unnecessary features if I could work out how to maintain the hyperlinks in Excel when they become Pocket Excel.Any ideas? Regards Bernice.
2004-11-07 05:39:50
Okay, So...
I still need a way to transfer MSAccess Files from my PC to my Pocket PC. What´s the easy way?
What do I need?. Thanks.
2004-11-25 11:27:33
use SprintDB
SprintDB. US$24.89

This FAQ page explains exactly how you transfer tables from your PC's Access .mdb file to the Pocket PC so you can open it with SprintDB.

2004-12-28 17:43:01
pocket access
2005-03-22 04:24:45
BD ms access from desctop PC to Pocket
I already bought someone of you suggesting software but they work not very well with my access masks! Why?
2005-04-27 13:15:18
Missing Pocket PC Powerpoint
Your message is clear, however..who makes these 3rd party apps (Powerpoint) for the Pocket PC? DO you recommend any in particular? I'd like to have one that I can edit PPT (2003) files, but if not, that's okay too
2005-04-28 21:13:19
Missing Pocket PC Powerpoint
I happen to use
Conduits Pocket Slides.
In addition to displaying PowerPoint slides, it can also modify them (though I don't do that myself).
2005-04-28 21:14:24
BD ms access from desctop PC to Pocket
These products just bring the database and the tables over to the Windows Mobile device. Everything else has to be recreated using the specific tools features.

2006-02-17 01:59:50
Considering the spec of modern PDA's and contrast that with the spec necessary to run Access 97 (anyone remember win 95 with 16MB?) it does seem miserly for MS not to produce a pocket Access.

I've seen people write web apps for a small number of users built using access just to keep the data truly portable. I guess if you only use your PPC for personal stuff then it doesn't matter whether or not your database is relational. However if you're embarking on a project built around RDB's then it's not good to find out that:

(1) you don't actually have one supplied with your PPC's
(2) you have to go off and find which 3rd party app is most suitable
(3) then you need to look at licensing costs for an extra package for all your PPC's
(4) finally you have to take care of all the data conversions and
(5) hope it all works ok.

I guess if you're Bill Gate$ there's no need to worry about other peoples time and financial constraints. That's their problem! Then again next time a big project comes along I might just suggest we look into mobile devices running Linux instead. I hear they are capable of running MySQL. Nuff said.

Todd Ogasawara
2006-02-17 08:34:23
Microsoft actually did product a Pocket Access for the hold Handheld PC platform. It was, to be generous, not very good. I think it actually held back the HPC from being used much with databases because other firms did not develop DB apps for the HPC thinking everyone would use Pocket Access. The real issue, btw, is not the lack of a relational DB. The real issue is how to generate appropriate screen forms for data entry/retrieval. Even if MySQL is on a Linux PDA, you would need some kind of scripting/programming language that works with X11 or whatever GUI is on the device (which probably do exist). In any case, the DB apps for the Pocket PC are plentiful, reasonably full featureed, and reasonably inexpensive (mostly way under $100 except for the high end products).

2006-03-02 08:29:09
I too am looking at getting a pocket pc mainly for ease of use with the animal rescue I work for. I control the website and all the record databases (using access) and would like to have a way of being out in the field with database available but not requiring the need to carry a full laptop with me. Is there a built in database on the PPC that can handle Access tables to read and edit before sending back to the pc for updating the main system?
2006-03-13 07:55:30
Microsoft's Windows Mobile 5 now has Powerpoint included in its Office package. Hooray!!!
2006-05-04 15:36:04
i agree 100%. MS should encourage this type of 3rd party development and focus on core mobile OS and synch enhancements.
Nick Hard
2006-05-11 08:40:22
Pocket Slides barely can help.
If you are travelling to a conference you can use it to correct your presentation having a Pocket PC instead of notebook. That is a plus.
However, you cannot show your corrected presentation because Pocket Slides can write only into its own format which is unknown to PowerPoint that runs on the conference presentation PC or notebook.
This minus kills the previous plus completely.
The situation looks out like a diversion from Microsoft on Pocket PC market.
2006-05-22 14:49:12
well you are quite wrong today as there is Pocket PowerPoint installed on Pocket PC 2005 (Windows Mobile 5.0)