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Chapter 2. The Basics of Database Design > Planning and Designing the HelloWorl... - Pg. 43

The Basics of Database Design 43 tion. A formal requirements document provides directions for the database objects you need to create in Access--it describes the tables, field names, data types, property settings, data entry forms, and many other details about the database. A requirements document can also serve as one of the foundations for a database maintenance plan. Documenting your database in Microsoft Visio Later in this chapter, you'll learn about the database documentation feature that Access provides. Microsoft Visio is also a good tool for documenting a database. The Professional edition of Visio includes a database design template that has drawing shapes you can use to help you define tables, relationships, and the views of the data you need. You can create a drawing that looks something like the Relationships window in Access, showing tables, the fields in the tables, and the relationships between tables. You can also import a database model by using a wizard in Visio. The information you can add to a database diagram in Visio can become quite detailed, but you can also use this template to help you create a basic map of your database. You can find a sample Visio database diagram for the HelloWorld database on the CD that accompanies this book. Be sure you take account of how the data you plan to store in a database is currently being collected, presented, and saved. Collect copies of the documents and forms used for invoicing customers or tracking inventory, for example, as well as monthly financial reports, project schedules, or any other documents that are currently being used. With these documents, compile a list of all the specific data points you need to store. Many of these items will become fields. Printed forms and reports are often a source for the forms and reports you create in Access. Also spend time documenting how people who use the data interact with it. How frequently is some data updated? What prerequisite information is required before other information can be known? Talk with the people who will use the database about the questions they want the database to answer and the reports they'd like the database to provide. Talk to the people who will be involved with the