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Chapter 9. Designing Forms for Efficient... > Preventing Errors by Validating Data

Preventing Errors by Validating Data

If, as the cooks say, a recipe is only as good as its ingredients, a database is only as good as its data. Viewing, summarizing, and analyzing the data are meaningless if the table you're working with contains erroneous or improper data. For basic data errors (for example, entering the wrong date or transposing a number's digits), there's not a lot you can do other than exhorting yourself or the people who use your forms to enter data carefully. Fortunately, you have a bit more control when it comes to preventing improper data entry. By “improper,” I mean data that falls in either of the following categories:

NOTE

To stress the importance of data entry, consider the story told to me by Greg Perry, the Technical Editor of this book. Greg used to work for a large Fortune 500 company and he says that they made their Data Entry clerks enter all data twice: One clerk entered the data in a file and then when finished, another clerk entered the same data. Then a comparison was run to find exceptions where data didn't match and that would then be reconciled. The lesson, he says, is that to the company, paying their employees to do the same job twice was far less costly than the ramifications of incorrectly entered data.



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