Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Creating the First Table for Your Data
After making each entry, press Tab or Enter to move to the next field. You
might enter a first name, last name, street address, city, state, and zip code,
for example, pressing Tab to move from one entry to the next.
Access uses a yellow highlight on the left border of the row (also called the
record selector) and in the active field to indicate the location in the table
where you’re writing — that is, entering or editing — data. Access also
italicizes the field name of the active cell and shows the cell outlined in pink
so that you can easily see where you are on the datasheet. Enter data in as
many columns as you think you need in the table.
As you enter data across a row, keep in mind that you’re entering one
record’s worth of related data. Entering someone’s first name, last name,
and contact information, for example, is a sensible record. Each type of data
is stored in a different field (column), and all the data in the row is related
(in this case, referring to the same person).
If you want to add more information than can fit in the column width, just go
right ahead. Access can store way more information in a cell than it displays
in the initial cell widths. You can easily increase the width of your column or
use the nifty little Zoom dialog box. Press Shift+F2 to see the contents of the
cell in the dialog box (see “Editing the data you have,” later in this chapter).
The first time you use Shift+F2 to see a Zoom box, you’ll also see a Security
Notice. If you are building a database from scratch, or if the database you
are using comes from a trusted source, click Open to see the Zoom box. For
more information on database security and Access’s security warnings, see
Book VII, Chapter 3.
Choosing field names
When you have some data in your table, you should name your fields,
jettisoning the Field1 and Field2 names that Access so helpfully provided
and choosing new, descriptive names for your fields.
When you name fields, give at least a couple of seconds’ worth of thought to
the names you give them. Although you can change a field name, thinking of
the name as being permanent is safer. Pick a name that’s descriptive and not
too long. You often see the name without the description when you’re
building other objects, so naming fields well now saves you time later.
Starting every name with a number or a letter and keeping it to 64 characters
or fewer are good ideas, as is avoiding using words that can confuse Access —
notably, the names of functions and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA)
commands.
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