Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
What Is Access?
Basic database terminology
The following terms are frequently used when discussing databases, and it’s useful to
understand them before starting to work with an Access database.
TERM
DESCRIPTION
Table
A structured container for data about a particular item or purpose. Tables
contain rows and columns, and therefore resemble a spreadsheet.
Record
A table row. Each record represents one instance of the subject of the
table. For example, a record in an Orders table contains data about one
particular order. Each record in a table should be unique.
Field
A table column, or attribute. For example, a FirstName field would likely be
found in an Employees table.
Primary Key
The field (or fields), often an ID number, in each table that differentiates
each record. This field is unique, permanent, and never empty.
Form
A graphical, user-friendly interface for managing information in a
database.
Report
A method of presenting data to the user. Reports are highly customizable
and are well-suited for printing.
Database design tips
Database design can be very complex, and advanced design skills often require months of
classroom work. However, for basic design work, you can start with the following tips:
Plan, plan, plan! You should never rush to create the components of a database. Rather,
get as much information as you can from the database project stakeholders, such as your
supervisor or client, before you start. Many experienced database designers have one or
more conversations to determine what tables are needed, what their i elds are, and how
the tables are related.
Diagrams can be very helpful in database planning. Sketch the tables on a piece of paper
and use lines and arrows to show how they’re related.
Each table should have only one purpose, for example, to keep track of customers, orders,
or employees.
Avoid duplication of data. For example, you wouldn’t want Customer i elds in the Orders
table. Redundant data not only increases the size and complexity of your database, but it
also increases the likelihood of data entry or retrieval errors.
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