Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Creating Your First Database
Creating Your First
Although Microsoft won’t admit it, Access can be intimidating—intimidating
enough to trigger a cold sweat in the most confident office worker. Even
though the company has spent millions of dollars making Access easier to
use, most people still see it as the most complicated Office program on the block.
They’re probably right.
Access seems more daunting than any other Office program because of the way
databases work. Quite simply, databases need strict rules. Other programs aren’t as
obsessive. For example, you can fire up Word, and start typing a letter straightaway. Or
you can start Excel, and launch right into a financial report. But Access isn’t nearly as
freewheeling. Before you can enter a stitch of information into an Access database,
you need to create that database’s structure. And even after you’ve defined that
structure, you’ll probably want to spend more time creating other useful tools, like handy
search routines and friendly forms that you can use to simplify data lookup and data
entry. All of this setup takes effort and a good understanding of how databases work.
In this chapter, you’ll conquer any Access resistance you have, and learn to create a
simple but functional database. Along the way, you’ll get acquainted with the slick
Access user interface, and learn exactly what you can store in a database. You’ll then
be ready to tackle the fine art of database design, which is covered in the next chapter.
Note: Access is by far the most complex (and powerful) program in the Office suite. The four chapters in
this topic contain the basics that most readers will need to design and fire up their first database. On this
book’s Missing CD page ( www.missingmanuals.com/cds ), you’ll find three additional chapters, covering
the next stage in any Access learner’s journey: creating queries (Appendix C), creating reports (Appendix
D), and creating forms (Appendix E).