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Key Points

  • Microsoft Access is part of The Microsoft Office System, so the basic interface objects—menus, toolbars, dialog boxes—work basically the same as other Office products or other Microsoft Windows applications.

  • A database is the computer equivalent of an organized list of information. The power of a database is in your ability to quickly retrieve precise information from it. In Access, data is organized in tables comprised of columns and rows, called fields and records. Access is a relational database, so you can treat the multiple tables in one database as a single storage area and easily pull information from different tables in whatever order and format suits you.

  • A table is just one of the types of objects that you can work with in Access. The other object types are: queries, forms, reports, data access pages, macros and modules. Tables are the core database objects and the purpose of every other database object is to interact with one or more tables.

  • Every Access object has two or more views. For example, you view data in a table in Datasheet view and define how the data is displayed in Design view.

  • One way you can locate information in an Access database is to create and run a query. You use queries to locate information so that you can view, change, or analyze it in various ways. Queries can be viewed in Datasheet view or Design view, but you can also use the results of a query as the basis for other Access objects, such as a form or report.

  • Forms make it easy for users to enter, retrieve, display and print information stored in tables. A form is essentially a window in which you can place controls that either give users information or accept information they enter. Forms can be viewed in Form view, Datasheet view, or Design view.

  • Reports display information from your tables in a nicely formatted, easily accessible way, either on your computer screen or on paper. A report can include items of information selected from multiple tables and queries, values calculated from information in the database, and formatting elements such as headers, footers, titles, and headings. Reports can be viewed in Design view, Print Preview, and Layout Preview.

  • Data access pages, macros, and modules substantially extend the capabilities of Access. Data access pages enable people to view and manipulate your database information over an intranet or the Internet. Macros can be used to make routine database actions available as command buttons in forms, which help less experienced users work in your database. Modules are Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) programs. Whereas macros can automate many actions, VBA can be used to carry out tasks that are too complex to be handled with macros.


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