MS Access/Overview
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Microsoft Access is part of the MS Office Suite.It is used for creating databases. A database is collection of related data. A database consists of data tables which in turn are divided into data rows (records) and data columns (fields). The tables are related to each other by relationships. Before I get too complicated, let us create a new database. First you can start Access by

Start Programs Microsoft Access

You will see a new window that looks something like this

Go ahead and select Blank Database and click OK

This will open a new window and may assign a name like db5.mdb. If you want to use a different name, type it in File name and then click Create

This will open a new window that looks something like this

Before I discuss the menu options, I want to talk a little about database basics
Here is another example of a table, Customers. The actual data table may look something like this

Here we can understand the concept of data columns, data rows and data field

Data Column

Data column is a specific field in the database. For example in the following table, Customer_Id contains the id for all the customers. This would typically be a field that stores numeric information. The key next to it shows that it is a primary key which means no two values can have the same values

Data Row

Data row is the actual record with different field information. For example a specific customer_id will have customer_name, live in a certain region, and have a status

Data Field:

Data field is the actual data which is defined by data column and the data row.


Databases are based on the concepts. A typical database has many tables which are related to each other by keys. There are two kinds of keys.

Primary Key:

Each table should include a field or set of fields that uniquely identifies each record stored in the table. This information is called the primary key of the table. The primary key is typically an autonumber field which assigns it a computer generated number. You can also create a field with Integer data type and assign it a unique value.

Foreign Key:

A foreign key is assigned to a field in the child table that creates a relationship to the parent table. The parent table has the primary key on the same field which creates  a relationship between the two tables. Here is a diagram