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Chapter 4. Importing and Linking to Data > Should You Import Data or Link to Da... - Pg. 108

Importing and Linking to Data 108 in Chapter 2, splitting a database creates a front end and a back end for the database, providing more flexibility, especially for databases used by more than one person over a network. Later in this chapter, we'll create links to the tables we need in the Northwind Traders database, and then we'll look at how to create an Access macro that you can use to automate importing and linking. Should You Import Data or Link to Data? Importing data is a way to add data to your database, particularly when the data is stored already in formats that are compatible with Access--a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, for example, or a da- tabase created in dBASE. Data that you import becomes part of your Access database. The data is copied and converted from its original format and stored in an Access table. After the data is imported, you can work with it as you do any other data in Access. Any changes you make to the data have no effect on the data in its original format. Importing data successfully takes some preparation, however, especially when you're importing data from a format other than another Access database. You should review any data you're im- porting to check whether it is complete and well organized--that you haven't stored text and num- bers in the same spreadsheet column, for example. The data you import into a field needs to be the same type of data as you've defined for that field. You should also check whether the data is con- sistent with any validation rules you've defined for a field or a table and that you have data for any field that you defined as required. If the table you're importing data into has relationships for which you've enforced referential integrity, the data needs to follow those rules. See Also For more information about referential integrity, see Chapter 3, "Managing the Consistency, Format, and Integrity of Your Data."