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Lesson 3. Creating a New Database > Creating a Database from a Template

Creating a Database from a Template

Another option for creating a new database is using one of the Access database templates. Templates are available for asset tracking, contact management, inventory control, and other database types. Another perk of using an Access template to create a new database is that a Database Wizard creates tables and other objects, such as forms and reports, for the new database. The wizard also sets up the relationships between the various tables (making your database relational).

Your interaction with the Database Wizard is somewhat limited; the wizard allows you to select the fields that will be used in the tables that it creates for the database. However, you don't have a say about which tables are initially created (tables can always be deleted later if you don't need them). You are, however, given the opportunity to select the format for screen displays (for forms and reports) and to select the format for printed reports.

To create a database from a template, follow these steps:

  1. In the Access window, click General Templates on the task pane. If the task pane is not currently in the Access window, select File, New to open it.


Opening the Task Pane When you are working on a particular database and want to open the task pane, select the View menu, point at Toolbars, and then select Task Pane.

  1. The Templates dialog box appears. If necessary, click the Databases tab on the dialog box to view the database templates (see Figure 3.3).

    Figure 3.3. Access provides several database templates.

  2. Click the database template you want to use (for example, the Contact Management template) and then click OK. The File New Database dialog box appears.

  3. Specify a location for the database using the Save In drop-down list, type a name for the database, and then click Create to continue. A new database file is created, and then the Database Wizard associated with the template starts. For example, if you chose the Contact Management template, the wizard appears and explains the type of information that the database holds.

  4. To move past the wizard's opening screen, click Next. On the next screen, a list of the tables that will be created appears (see Figure 3.4). The tables in the database are listed on the left of the screen and the selected table's fields appear on the right.

    Figure 3.4. You can examine and deselect (or select) the fields that will be contained in each table.

  5. Select a table to examine its fields. If you do not want to include a field in the table, clear the check box next to the field name. Optional fields are also listed for each field and are shown in italic. To include an optional field, click it to place a check mark next to it. When you have finished viewing the tables and their fields, click Next to continue.


Be Careful Deselecting Fields! Because you are stuck with the tables that the Database Wizard creates, you must be very careful removing fields from the tables. This is especially true of fields that uniquely identify the records in a table, such as Contact ID. These fields are often used to relate the tables in the database. You might want to leave all the fields alone initially when you use the wizard.

  1. The next screen asks you to select the screen display style you want to use. This affects how forms appear on the screen. Click a display style in the list to preview the style; after selecting the style you want to use, click Next.

  2. On the next screen, the wizard asks you for a style for your printed reports. Click a report style and examine the preview of it. When you decide on a style, click it, and then click Next.


Report Background The colored backgrounds used for some report styles look nice onscreen, but they don't print well on a black-and-white printer. Unless you have access to a color printer, stick to plain backgrounds for the best report printouts.

  1. On the next wizard screen, you are asked to provide a title for the database. This title appears on reports and can be different from the filename. Enter a title as shown in Figure 3.5.

    Figure 3.5. Enter a title for the database, and as an option, choose a graphic to use for a logo.

  2. (Optional) To include a picture on your forms and reports (for example, your company's logo), click the Yes, I'd Like to Include a Picture check box. Then click the Picture button, choose a picture file from your hard drive (or other source), and click OK to return to the wizard.

  3. Click Next to continue. You are taken to the last wizard screen; click Finish to open the new database. The wizard goes to work creating your database and its database objects.

When the wizard has finished creating the database, the database's Main Switchboard window appears (see Figure 3.6). The Main Switchboard opens automatically whenever you open the database.

All the databases created using one of the Access templates (other than the Blank Database template) include a Main Switchboard. The Switchboard is nothing more than a fancy form with some programming built in to it. It enables you to perform common tasks related to database management by clicking a button. It is very useful when a person is unfamiliar with how to manipulate the various objects in a database.

Figure 3.6. The Switchboard window is a database navigation tool provided by the Database Wizard.

Using the Main Switchboard is pretty much self-explanatory. After you become familiar with Access, you probably won't even use it. To close the Switchboard, click its Close (X) button.


I Hate That Switchboard! To prevent the Switchboard from opening when you open the database, choose Tools, Startup. In the Startup dialog box, select the Display Form/Page drop-down list and select [None]. Click OK.

After you close the Switchboard window, you will find that the database window has been minimized in the Access workspace. Just double-click its title bar (at the bottom-left corner of the screen) to open it. To see the tables that the wizard created, click the Tables object type. Click the other object types (such as forms) to see the other objects that were created by the wizard.

The tables that the wizard creates are, of course, empty. After you fill them with data (either inputting the data directly into the table or using a form), you will be able to run queries and create reports.

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