Learning Microsoft Access: Part 1

Introduction

With a computerized database in Microsoft Access, not only can you store information but you can also do much more. For instance, if you keep a list of all your business customers in an Access database you can:

  • Print a list of all customers who haven't bought anything in the last 30 days, along with their phone numbers, so you can call each one.

  • Sort the customers by Pin code and print out a mailing list in that order.

  • Create a simple on-screen order entry form that even your most technically unskilled employee can use successfully.

    MS Access
      Figure 1: Microsoft Access

Microsoft Access

Access is a database program. Microsoft Access is a Relational Database Management System (RDMS). In other words, you see the data contained in the database as a set of two-dimensional tables that present the data in rows and columns. You can build relationships among tables that contain various fields to pull together reports that draw on data from a number of tables and thus display only the information you need to see.

DBMS

A DataBase Management System (DBMS) is an application software that controls the data in the database, including overall organization, storage, retrieval, security and data integrity. A data manipulation language is also provided to support queries against the database.

How To Access Stored Data

In Access you first need to create a database file. That file holds everything you create for that database, not only all the data, but also the customized forms reports and indexes. If you have two or more businesses you might want to create two or more separate one for each business.

Storing Data in Tables

Access stores each database entry in its own row (record). Each record is a collection of information about one thing, in this case an employee.

For example: All the information about Nisha, including Student's Name, Roll Number, Class, Subjects and Grade forms a single record.

Data Table
Figure 2: Data Table Each database files can have many tables

Entering Data into forms

All the data you enter into your database ends up in a table for storage. You can enter information directly into a table, but it's a little awkward to do so. Most people find it easier to create a special on-screen form in which to enter the data. A form resembles a fill-in-the-blanks sheet that you would complete by hand such as a job application.

Access links the form to the table and stores the information that you put into the form in the table.

Form Input
Figure 3: Form Input

Formatting data into reports

Although forms are designed to be used on-screen, reports are designed to be printed. Reports are a specially formatted collection of data organized according to your specification.

For example: You might to create a report of all the students in a class.

Report
Figure 4: Report