The SNP file type, commonly associated with Microsoft Access Snapshot files, encapsulates a static report output from Microsoft Access databases. Historically, this format was devised to ensure that users could view Access reports without needing Access installed on their computers, preserving the layout, formatting, and data of the original report. Introduced with Access 97, the .snp format gained traction as a convenient, read-only report distribution solution.
Understanding SNP Files
SNP files are essentially a representation of a report at the time it was created, including text, images, and other media. To view these files, a separate viewer application was required - the Microsoft Snapshot Viewer. This utility enabled users on various platforms to see the reports exactly as they were intended to look, without any alteration.
While Microsoft officially discontinued the Snapshot Viewer in 2011 following the release of Access 2010, SNP files can still be viewed using third-party tools that have reverse-engineered the file format. Older versions of Access can also typically open and work with these files, although compatibility is not guaranteed with newer releases.
With the evolution of document sharing, various formats have emerged as alternatives to the SNP file type. Popular options include PDF (Portable Document Format), which is widely supported and can be secured with encryption. Additionally, XPS (XML Paper Specification) was developed by Microsoft as a part of the Windows operating system, offering a similar feature set to PDF. Both formats provide broad compatibility and are often preferred for sharing documents securely and reliably across different systems.
The SNP file type played an important role in the history of document sharing and reporting from database systems. Despite its discontinuation, the legacy of the Snapshot Viewer persists through users who require access to historical reports. Modern alternatives have largely replaced the SNP format, offering enhanced features and compatibility with current technology trends.