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Based upon your information, when you say standalone I believe you are saying a split database. In this case once tables are created, they cannot be edited as the embedded tables can. This is the only drawback I see to the split DB. You are right in that any editing cannot be done to existing fields. You can get around this somewhat. You can add and delete fields (you don't need SQL for this). To delete just select the row (it will then be highlighted) of the field and hit delete key. To add just go to a new line and enter the new field. You just can't change existing fields.