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Part 5. Using Access > Task 1 How to Understand Database Basics

Task 1 How to Understand Database Basics

The basic components of a database are tables, records, fields, forms, reports, and queries. All these components compose an Access database file. Before you can begin building your own databases, you must first understand these basic elements and how they fit together.

  1. Tables

    The root of any database is a series of one or more tables. Access tables are a lot like Excel spreadsheets. Information is organized into columns and rows. You can have many tables in each database file. You might have one table listing customers and addresses, for example, and another table listing products you sell.

  2. Records

    Each entry in a database is called a record. Records appear as rows in a database table; each row represents one record.

  3. Fields

    The detailed information that makes up a single record is broken into categories, called fields. When you're planning a database, think about what fields you need for each record. An address database, for example, needs fields for First Name, Last Name, Address, City, State, ZIP Code, and Phone number.

  4. Forms

    Entering data into tables can be awkward as you try to keep track of which column represents which field. To make things easier, use a form. A form is an onscreen fill-in-the-blanks sheet for completing a record. The form comprises each field needed to create a record. With forms, you enter data one record at a time.

  5. Reports

    After you build a database, you will probably want to organize certain aspects of the information and create specialized reports. Reports summarize and organize the data. Typically, reports are printed out. You might generate a report, for example, that lists your top 20 clients based on sales.

  6. Queries

    Queries are a formal way of sorting and filtering your data to produce specific results. With queries, you can specify which fields you want to see, the order in which you want to view them, filter criteria for each field, and more.



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