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Chapter 3. Navigating Within Access > Understanding Access Functions and Modes

Understanding Access Functions and Modes

Access, unlike word processing and spreadsheet applications, is a truly multifunctional program. Although word processing applications, for example, have many sophisticated capabilities, their basic purpose is to support text entry, page layout, and formatted printing. The primary functions and supporting features of all word processing applications are directed to these ends. You perform all word processing operations with views that represent a sheet of paper—usually 8 1/2×11 inches. Most spreadsheet applications use the row-column metaphor for all their functions. In contrast, Access consists of a multitude of related tools for generating, organizing, segregating, displaying, printing, and publishing data. The following sections describe Access's basic functions and operating modes.

Defining Access Functions

To qualify as a full-fledged relational database management system (RDBMS), an application must perform the following four basic but distinct functions, each with its own presentation (or view) to the user:


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