In Access the substr function is written as Mid(). The parameters are Mid(field,start,end). Other functions available are Right(), Left(), Instr() and Len(). Instr will search a field for a pattern of characters without having to specify absolute positions. So to find a row with 'MR' in the first 2 positions -> Select column_name from table where Mid(column_name,1,2) = 'MR'.