Access Pacific Monthly Meeting (Codifying Long Names into unique codes with Jack Stockton)

Please join us for our Monthly Chapter Presentation on Sept 1st, at 6:30PM Pacific (UTC -8)

As always, double-check the UTC time zone offsets because Daylight Savings Time plays havoc with that calculation.

Access Pacific holds FREE Q&A webinars the First Thursday of every month, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm Pacific.


Jack Stockton will share his variation on a method to codify names into unique, 2 to 5 character codes to improve usability of combo and list boxes and other places where users don’t need to see the full phrase.

Jack explained, “Recently, Mike Wolfe posted about creating a Codifying T-SQL function for SQL server,  I found the concept very interesting, but didn’t think it really needed to be a T-SQL function.  I might not have a SQL backend, but could use the feature.  So what does Codifying do. Mike says “This function will jump-start the process of converting long descriptions into meaningful abbreviations. It’s great for creating “Code” columns in lookup tables, 2- to 5-character abbreviation”.”

With Jack’s Access version of Codify, he added the base requirements:

  • Code Length 2 to 5 characters returned
  • Use the first letter from each word
  • Replace instances of ‘and’ with ‘&’
  • Don’t allow a trailing ‘&’

Added features

  • If only one word, return first Code Length letters in the word
  • Upper case returned
  • Only Alpha character returned
  • Use any separator character, not just a space

Example output

industry Codify2 Codify3 Codify4 Codify5
General Merchandisers GM GM GM GM
Petroleum Refining PR PR PR PR
Insurance: Property and Casualty (Stock) IP IPC IP&C IP&CS
Computers, Office Equipment CO COE COE COE
Motor Vehicles and Parts MV MVP MV&P MV&P
Diversified Financials DF DF DF DF
Food and Drug Stores FD F&D F&DS F&DS

This particular function appealed to me especially because it reflects one of the design discussions the Northwind 2 Working Team recently had regarding exactly this topic. I suspect something like this will find its way into the new version of Northwind.

If we have time, Jack will also demo a function for generate a repeatable 32 character Unique string based on a input string.  Often there can be a needed repeatable process when importing records from different sources or dumping and reloading the same data. This makes that easier and quicker.

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