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Chapter 2. Exploring Relational Database... > Moving from Spreadsheets to Database...

Moving from Spreadsheets to Databases

Word processing and spreadsheet applications were the engines that drove the early personal computer market. In the early PC days, WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 dominated the productivity software business. Today, almost everyone with a PC uses Microsoft Word and Excel on a daily basis. It's probably a safe bet that there's more data stored in Excel spreadsheets than in all the world's databases. It's an equally good wager that most new Access users have at least intermediate-level spreadsheet skills, and many qualify as Excel power users.

Excel's Data menu offers basic database features, such as sorting, filtering, validation, and data-entry forms. You can quickly import and export data in a variety of formats, including those of database management applications, such as Access. Excel's limitations become apparent as your needs for entering, manipulating, and reporting data grow beyond the spreadsheet's basic row-column metaphor. Spreadsheets basically are list managers; it's easy to generate a simple name and address list with Excel. If your needs expand to contact management and integrating the contact data with other information generated by your organization, a spreadsheet isn't the optimal approach.


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