How to Use Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access is a database management system designed to enable users to store, organize, and retrieve information. It includes tools for creating tables, queries, forms and reports as well as macros that allow for macro development.

Information in databases is typically organized into tables (similar to spreadsheets) containing fields with unique names known as keys. Each field in turn has an associated unique key identifier.

Creating a Database

Access allows you to create databases using one of its templates, import data from another source, or start from scratch. Each database consists of one or more tables. A table contains one or more fields representing various aspects of data that needs to be tracked – for instance customer contact details might live in one table while product inventory might live in another – each field holds either textual or numeric values and each record is called a “row.”

Your journey begins by clicking the File tab and choosing New. Identify a name and save location.

Clicking the Search for Templates button allows you to find a database structure that best meets your needs, with templates designed specifically for task management, inventory lists, student data storage needs and more displayed as results.

Once you choose a template, you’ll typically be asked to add a login. With your new login, you can then access and start entering data into the database. Afterward, you have complete freedom in changing both its name and file location as required.

Your template also comes equipped with application parts – pre-built database objects like tables and forms that make adding functionality quickly easier than ever before. For instance, perhaps including a form to allow users to provide feedback or purchase information to your business would help speed up development time significantly.

Creating a Table

A table is a collection of rows (records) and columns (fields). Each record in a table has an identification number (ID), which increases with every new entry – this ID serves as the primary key that uniquely identifies its content in a table. A table may have relationships with one or more other tables.

To add a field to a table, switch into Datasheet view, double-clicking on the empty area to the right of column heading and typing a name for your new field.

By choosing meaningful names for your fields, you can more quickly locate the data in your table.

As you type or paste data, Access automatically sets up each field with its appropriate data types based on what is typed or pasted into them. However, you can manually specify a field’s data type through either table design grid or Field Properties pane.

As an example, when inserting a number field with AutoNumber as its data type, each record receives its own auto-generated ID. You can customize formatting options like date format or validation rules to ensure consistent data entry, or create an index of that field to expedite searches faster.

Once your table is completed, save it using either the Quick Access toolbar or File tab to save. Your table will appear in the Navigation pane where it can be opened either as Datasheet or Design view.

Creating a Form

Created a form, data can be displayed in multiple ways. For instance, using either Single Forms which display single records at a time or Split Forms which display multiple records from that specific bound data source simultaneously in both Form view and Datasheet view are two options for how you might visualize data presented through that form. Furthermore, creating Continuous Forms which display all records from that specific bound data source on one scrolling page are other possibilities for how forms display their contents.

Once you select a table or query in the Navigation Pane and click the Form tool, Access opens its Field List pane so you can add fields to your form. Simply double-click an individual field, or drag and drop them onto the form. Alternatively, multiple fields can be added quickly by holding down Ctrl as you click each individual one before dragging all at once onto the form.

The final page of the wizard asks how you want your form’s data displayed, with “Form with subform(s)” usually making the best sense. Access will then create a form containing all fields from your table as well as subforms for subdatasheets associated with them – an efficient solution if used appropriately! When choosing this option, ensure to establish table relationships so end-users can quickly see all relevant data together on one form.

Creating a Report

Reports provide an easy way to view, format and summarize data within your database. They pull information from tables or queries that you create; reports can include elements like sorting/grouping/totaling, labels/label placement etc. To make them even more useful you can even use tools in the Header/Footer group on Report Design tab to add logos/page numbers/date and time stamps etc.

Before beginning work on a complex report, it can be helpful to create a rough sketch. This can be done on paper or digitally using other programs. Once your rough sketch is ready, identify which table or query provides your report’s underlying data source (also called record source). If all of your desired information exists in one table directly, your report can base itself off this one; otherwise you must create a query in order to pull together all relevant tables into a coherent whole for your report.

Once your report is created, adding fields can be done by dragging them from the Field List pane into it using CTRL+Alt+drag. Individual fields may also be added one at a time by holding CTRL while selecting them or CTRL+SHIFT + A when adding multiple. You can add header or footer sections by right-clicking its name in Navigation Pane and choosing Layout View; or right clicking Page Header/Footer on shortcut menu or Report Header/Footer on shortcut menu respectively.

Performing Queries

Access provides numerous tools for organizing data. You can use tables to store the information, forms for inputting information quickly and queries to locate specific pieces of information quickly.

Queries are like asking the database questions to quickly access specific, even highly specific, data. While some queries use only one table at a time, others combine data from multiple tables into one search result. Queries can save time when working with large databases by running searches rather than searching each table individually for records to review individually.

Queries provide a quick way to search, filter and summarize data. They’re also capable of performing calculations – calculations being defined as fields with expressions (typically SQL statements) that generate numeric values like sums of all records in tables or average sales amounts for certain products.

As soon as you add a table or query to a query, if its data sources contain relationships that link them together, Access automatically generates join lines in its query design grid to show which tables belong on each side of a one-to-many relationship; alternatively, these join lines can also be customized manually so as to specify other forms of connectivity between data sources.

Performing Macros

If you want to automate a series of actions every time that you open a database, an AutoExec macro may be just what’s needed. For instance, perhaps you would like the application window maximized, locked Navigation Pane and specific report opened when opening database. To create this standalone macro click Macro button under Macros & Code group on Create Tab or Macros Design contextual Tab (in older versions of Access).

Once a macro window opens, select and enter your actions using Macro Builder to run them and enter their arguments before saving your macro.

Data macros allow you to control how table events take place. There are two kinds of macros – those which run when an event happens (also known as “event-driven”) or when called by name (known as “named”)

Access presents information regarding errors that occur when running macros when you select the View Application Log Table button on the Info tab. This feature can help when debugging macros that don’t function correctly or you don’t understand their cause; use Move Up/Move Down Arrows to reorder actions, or use the Delete Button on the right side of the macro pane to delete unwanted ones.

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