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Lesson 25. Working with a Database > Planning a Database

Planning a Database

Before you create your database, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the fields that make up an individual record? If you are creating the database to take the place of an existing form (a Rolodex card, information sheet, or address list), use that form to determine which fields you need.

  • Which types of data might you want to sort by? If you want to sort by last name, make sure that last name is stored in its own field, and not combined with the first name in a single field. If you want to sort by city, phone number, or ZIP code, make sure that each of these is stored in its own field.

  • Which types of data might you want to search for? If you want to search for all contacts who work in a particular sales area, make sure you place sales areas in their own field.

  • What is the most often referenced field in the database? (This field should be placed in the first column.)

  • What is the longest entry in each column? Use this information to set the column widths. (Or you can make your entries and then use Format Column AutoFit Selection to have Excel adjust the column widths.)


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