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Open Access

Access Program Window

System menu icon                                                 System buttons

Title bar

Menu bar





Dialog Box

Status bar     Taskbar

Meaning of system buttons

Minimize button/Maximize button

Close button

Restore button

Title bar has name of program-double-clicking the system icon closes the program

System buttons allow change in size of the program window, reduce it to the taskbar, or close it, or change the size

Menu bar has all the commands needed to create and handle databases—the commands change on the menu bar according to the current context of the program

Toolbar buttons provide access to the most important commands—also context sensitive

Status bar displays short instructions, info about the program, and state of some special keys

Open a database

Open Existing Database

More files


Select Drive A:

Look in list for Addresses the click Open

Sample database opens


Database window

Title bar


Command buttons

(97 down right side)


Tabs (97—across top) (2000—down side)

Database objects

Basic window of the program.  Choose the database object you want to work with.  Move around the screen by grabbing the title bar and dragging it where you want.  Resize, Always visible until the database is closed. 

Tabs—six tabs Table, Queries, Forms, Reports, Macros, and Modules (2000 adds Pages because it is HTML ready)

Move to a tab by clicking on it.  Each tab displays a database object

Change the look of objects by clicking View, Large Icons, small icons, list, or details

Command buttons—in 97 on right side of window

Three of them—Open, Design, New—the name of the topmost button changes according to the active tab—these are for the tables, queries, and forms tab

Preview, Design, New for Reports tab

Run, Design, New for the Macros and Module tab

Every tab shares the Design and New buttons

In empty database only New is available

Design opens the selected tab in Design view

Open is used to open a selected table, query, and form

Preview opens a selected report or print preview

Run is used to run a selected macro or module


Left—select something

Right—shortcut menus related to selected object

Pointing  & clicking—select—double click launches an action

Menu commands, toolbar commands, accelerator commands (keyboard combos) like Control + O same as File, Open Database

Close menu click outside menu with mouse or ESC or ALT


Database structure and all entries in db are saved together in a single file with the extension .mdb

Database objects are saved separately (table, query, report, form) all data are saved in tables and after the first save when you create the db are saved automatically by Access.  When you move from one record to another data are automatically saved and again when you close the db.  You never have to worry about saving data

Save As/Export saves object and asks whether to save in existing database or to an external file or database.

Save as HTML

Starts a wizard that converts database objects into Web Pages

DB objects all follow same naming rules.  Name can be 64 characters long; can contain letters, numbers, spaces, and some special characters.  CANNOT contain periods, exclamation marks or square brackets.  Name cannot begin with a space and preferably not a number  (Access will complain that it is an invalid name if you do any of the above No Nos)

Choose descriptive names to aid your memory

Give names that clearly reflect the contents of the object

Short names are easier to remember

Spaces should be used carefully and sparingly

Suggest that use Capital Letters instead of spaces

BillingAddress instead of Billing Address


Help from the menu (Contents, Index, Find)

Assistant on toolbar


Explore the help options


Mini programs that help you perform a task

Cancel—stops the wizard

Back—returns to previous screen

Next—moves to next screen in wizard

Finish—completes the wizard

Use to create a db, table (field builder, lookup, command buttons, expression builder), form, query, and report

Closing DB

File/Close—closes everything in a db

Close button on right of window closes objects within the db

X at top of db window closes the db

When you close the DB you automatically save it—if you have modified the design Access will ask if you want to save the changes

The data is automatically changed and you never have to worry about saving separately

Designing a Database

Pre-planning is very important.  Hard to change and add to later because you have to backtrack and enter data for everything that you add or modify

Group data by subject—what is the purpose of your db

·      Group by subject and each subject will become a table

·      Each piece of info will be saved in only one table

·      We relate the table on one element (primary key) a field containing a unique identifier—data in this field is always different from every row or record in the table (usually a number)

Problem areas in designing databases

·      Empty fields—don’t

·      Same field in several tables—don’t

o     Hard to update data cause have to change in several tables

o     Essential that place each piece of data in just one table

Designing fields

·      Once divide into tables now divide into fields

·      Anything you want to retrieve should be placed in own field

·      Each field should have only one piece of data in it

·      Example—first name, last name—separate fields

·      Avoid storing results of calculations—do this when you create a report.  Data should be stored that will not be changed by a formula


·      Created by using a primary key from one table as a field in another table in the second table called the foreign key

·      Example—in one table have a student id number with name, address student id is primary key.  In next table with discipline info we use the student id as foreign key

·      When retrieving discipline info use student id #--this protects confidentiality of info

·      Relationships established can use data through foreign keys to query db. 

·      Relational db are faster to query because many small tables easier to search than one huge one with all info here

·      Example of db planning

o     Student info

o     Class schedule

o     Discipline info

Student info

Student ID #(primary key)









Parental Information

Homerm teacherID#(primary key)






StudentID#(foreign key)


Discipline info

TeacherID# (foreign key) for referral

ReferralID# (primary key)



Student ID# (foreign key)













How relationships work

One-to-many, one-to-one, many-to-many

Created by matching primary key in primary table to foreign key in another table

One-to-many is most common

·      One student can have many referrals

·      Every referral refers to one student

·      One teacher can have many referrals

·      Every referral refers to one teacher

One-to-one are rare—usually stored in same table

·      Can use this to protect data

·      Band customer—customer ID—account information

Many to many relationship—complicated and to be avoided if possible

·      Can’t be created directly

·      Must use a junction table to relate the two pieces of data

·      Contains foreign keys from both tables

Referential integrity

Access tries to ensure that linked data cannot be deleted and data cannot be added until it is linked

Choose this if you want to protect linked data—the db will not allow deletion or addition until the relationships are established

Example—studentID must be entered by way of student table before you can enter a referral

Creating Database

Create with and without wizard

Wizard usually creates db does not est. relationships.  You have to know how to do this in table wizards

Creating Tables

Tables tab, New, New Table then create it with wizard or in design or datasheet view, OK

Datasheet view

Create the table simply by typing data into it

Can’t create memo field

$ Assumes currency

Date assumes date field

Doesn’t name fields—calls it field 1, 2 have to go to design view to change names of fields

Will est. primary key if you don’t—warns at save and sets autonumber field called ID

Design View

Enter names and descriptions of the fields in the appropriate columns, select the data type and set the properties of the fields

Table Wizard

Quick and easy

·      If there are tables already in the db, wizard will ask you how you want to relate the new table

·      Collects the info needed then creates the table

·      Tables tab, New select Tables Wizard

·      Select Personal, Addresses

·      AddressID > from Sample Fields

·      Click on Rename Field OK

·      > Add field

·      >> Adds all fields from Sample Fields List

·      < Delete a field

·      <<Delete all sample fields

·      Add the following lastname, firstname, birthdate, sendcard, notes, dateupdated

·      Next title the table Friends

·      Yes, set primary key for me, Next

·      Modify the table design

·      Finish

·      Table Design View, Close the table

·      Add a second table with wizard

o     Tables tab, New, New Table, ok

o     Personal, Addresses

o     Add AddressId and rename to FriendID

o     Add AddressID and rename to LocationID

o     Street address, (select address field twice) add city, stateorprovince, postalcode, country, dateupdated

o     Next

o     No, I’ll set primary key, Next

o     Check that the name FriendID appears in the box at the top.  Select Numbers I enter when I add new records, Next

o     Next box determines the relationship between the tables.  Check and make sure Access has it correct.  Select the row and click relationships.  Select the type of relationship.  One record in the Friends table will match many records in the Addresses table, Next

o     Modify the table design, Next

o     Look at design view and examine the table

o     Check the properties of the fields

o     Check that the friendID is Number data and that the General tab show field size of long integer

o     You add a phone number table using the table wizard

Table Design View

·      Used to design the fields of a table

·      Each field given a name and data type

·      Properties of field appear in bottom left of design view window

·      Move to row then go to bottom and modify properties

·      Right hand corner reserved for context sensitive help.  Always shows help text related to active item

Data types

·      Default type is text—see table

·      Remember

o     Fields of memo, OLE object, Hyperlink cannot be indexed therefore can’t sort or group on them

o     AutoNumber gives unique number to each record.  Once given can’t be changed or removed

·      Field Properties

o     Two tabs General and Lookup

o     Usually all the properties are in general

o     Lookup reserved for lookup fields

o     Properties vary according to data type

§      Field size

§      Format

§      Caption

§      Default value

§      Validation rule

§      Validation text

§      Required

§      Indexed

§      Number and currency have a decimal places property

§      Text, memo and hyperlink have Allow Zero length property

§      OLE Object has Caption and required

§      New Values only found in AutoNumber fields

Field builder

·      Used to add fields

·      Select from the same sample tables and fields used in table wizard

·      Start by clicking on magic wand on the toolbar or right click on row where you want to add the field and choose build


·      Index a field if it will be used often to retrieve data from a table

·      Makes sorting and searching faster

·      Never index every field slows the updates

·      Index by changing the index property to yes duplicates ok or yes no duplicates or click index button (lightening bolt lines on toolbar)

Import Table

Copy the design of a table from another database or from a different kind of file.  You can create an Access table from an Excel spreadsheet

Link table

Allows you to link your table to another database or to an external file.  Link a new access table to an excel spreadsheet

Tables, New, New Table, ok

Design View

Type LocationID in field name column

Tab moves between columns

Data type default text and 50 characters select AutoNumber as the new data type

Field name next row and type Location then Enter

Accept default   you could enter a description—if you do, it will appear on the status bar when the field is active

Make LocationID primary key by moving to row and clicking primary key button (key) or Edit/Primary Key

File/Save enter name of table Locations and save then close

Changing design of a table

Change the design of the addresses and phone numbers table to add a lookup field.  This is a field that takes its values from another table.  The locationID will have a list box with data retrieved from the locations table. The list box will display possible locations in ordinary language but the table will list location by ID

Table, select Addresses, Design view

Go to Location ID, go to data type and select Lookup Wizard

Follow wizard—select I want the lookup column to look up the values in a table or query

Locations table, Next

Select fields you want in list box

Location >

LocationID >


Hide key column recommended is checked

Finish yes

Enter data into table in Datasheet view

Record selectors

Ř   Active or current record

Ř   Pencil record currently being created or edited

Ř   * New record

Ř   Circle with slash—locked record can’t be edited


Enter data into the friends table (10 friends)

Hint—use leading zeros when entering dates

Editing records

Move between records tab or enter to move back Shift + tab

Delete by pressing key when record active

Edit, Undo

Discuss changing column width and height and selecting rows and columns

Moving columns—select and drag and drop in new position

Hiding/showing columns—select column choose Format/Hide Columns

Format/Unhide columns gives list in dialog box visible have check in front to bring back put check in front and close

Freezing and unfreezing columns—make column always visible Format/Freeze to release Format/Unfreeze all columns

Renaming columns—Format/Rename column

Select fonts and cell effects—Format/font in Datasheet view this changes whole thing not a single record

Format/Cells opens cell effects change orientation of text, color, and gridlines, background

Relationships between Tables

Create or edit relationships in relationships window

Toolbar looks like chart/map

Or Tools, Relationships

Show tables dialog box must have at least two tables here

To create relationship drag a field often primary key from one table to the equivalent field (foreign key) in the other

Get relationship dialog box

Join type—change properties that affect queries

Relationship between tables shown with line between tables on related item

Enforcing referential integrity—Access will try to ensure that relationships between records always remains valid.  Linkages will always be checked before allowed to continue with entries of records

Cascade update related fields—if primary key field in primary key table is changed will make change in all tables

Cascade delete related records—if record deleted from primary table, deleted everywhere

Saving relationships—automatically

Viewing relationships—Tools/Relationships—shows the connections


Forms tab, New, New Form, FormWizard, OK


Design view

Form wizard

Autoform columnar

Autoform tabular

Autoform datasheet

Chart wizard (form with chart)

Pivot table wizard (used with Excel)

Form Wizard—Friends form

Select Friends table ok

Select fields for the form—use all fields except FriendID


Select a style for the form—Pattern, Next

Type title Friends Form

Check Open the form to view or enter information, Finish

Get the form note navigation buttons at bottom

View form

Form view, Design view, and Datasheet view

View menu or view on toolbar

Form Design View

Change font size—see copies pages 93-101

Sorting data—default is sort by primary key

Select field—then A-Z or Z-A

Enter 5 more friends with the form just created


Query tab, New, New Query

Design view (select tables, select fields)

Simple query wizard

Cross tab query wizard (SUMMARY of selected fields)

Find duplicates query wizard (finds duplicate records)

Fine unmatched query wizard (finds records in two tables that have no matches to anything)

Simple Query Wizard

Select the table

Select the fields

 Design View

Tables, Fields


Criteria—what you want to check for

This page was updated on:  04/10/02