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Microsoft Access 2000 (Access from here on), a component of Microsoft Office, is a powerful database program you can use to store, organize, and analyze information about the people, places, and things in your life.

This Visual QuickStart Guide will help you gain control over the Access environment using easy-to-understand instructions, lots of illustrations, and helpful tips to guide you past the pitfalls new users encounter when creating, using, and administering databases.

You can read this book cover to cover or flip through it. Use the table of contents, index, or thumb tabs to find the topics you're interested in. If you're new to Access or databases in general, be sure to read the first two chapters. Chapter 1 introduces databases and their components, and gives you a detailed view of the main Access window. Chapter 2 covers designing a database and using Access tools (or wizards) to create your databases with a minimum of effort.

Access is a powerful program with a lot of options and controls, but don't be intimidated by it. This Visual QuickStart Guide will have you up and running confidently in no time.

Why Access?

Why should you use Access? There are quite a few reasons, the first being that Access is a feature-rich program that can handle any database-related task you have. You can create places to store your data, build tools that make it easy to read and modify your database's contents, and ask questions of your data. You can create your database tools from scratch or by using wizards, which not only step you through the process of building your objects, but actually supply many of the necessary components of a database.

Another reason Access makes it easy to work with your data is that Access is a relational database, a database that stores information about related objects. For instance, a sales database contains information about customers, suppliers, sales reps, products, and orders. Because each order is placed by a customer, it makes sense to store your customer data in one table, and your order data in another table, and relate the two tables by a common field. In this case, you can use a customer's unique identifier in the Customer table to relate information about that customer to an order in the Orders table.

Another good reason to use Access is that it's a component of the overwhelmingly popular Microsoft Office software suite. You can share Access data with other Office applications, such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft PowerPoint seamlessly.

Finally, Access makes it easy to publish your information to the Internet via the World Wide Web. You can save your database objects as HTML documents, Active Server Pages, or even as Data Access Pages, which are HTML documents that offer nearly the same power as Access itself.

Who Are You?

A lot of folks can benefit from using Access. Maybe you're an entrepreneur who needs to maintain a list of contacts, complete with addresses and phone numbers. Or a researcher collecting survey data. Perhaps your company has asked you to create a database to track product sales and warranty data. Or you might be a home user who wants to keep track of the books in your library. In short, you're someone who can benefit from using Access to store and manage your data.

What You Need to Know

We assume you have a bit of experience using computers in general and Microsoft Windows in particular. Specifically , you'll need to be familiar with:

  • Opening, closing, and saving files

  • Navigating to folders and files using My Computer or Windows Explorer

  • Printing files

  • Starting and closing programs

  • Minimizing, moving, resizing, restoring, and closing windows

  • Cutting, copying, and pasting information

  • Using a Web browser

If you need additional information about using Windows 98, refer to Windows 98: Visual QuickStart Guide, by Steve Sagman, published by Peachpit Press.

Anything Else You Should Know?

Yup! Feel free to contact us at accessvqs@raycomm.com. We welcome your input and suggestions as well as questions related to this book. Thanks, and we look forward to hearing from you.

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