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Designing a Database
What should you do first?
Creating an Access database and setting up all
the objects you need can be a daunting task.
Here’s the order in which we usually set a new
Access database:
1. Design the database, as described in this
2. Make the tables that you’ve designed, as
described in Book II, Chapter 1.
3. If you’re moving information from a
spreadsheet, another database, or some
other source, import data into Access, as
described in Book II, Chapter 4.
4. Set up the relationships between the
tables, as described in Book II, Chapter 6.
5. Create the queries that you know you’ll
need for displaying related data from
multiple tables, as described in Book III,
Chapter 1.
6. Make forms for adding and editing records,
as described in Book IV, Chapter 1.
7. Set up the reports you want, as described
in Book V, Chapter 1.
You may need to make additional queries to
use as the record source for some reports.
Designing a Database
When you feel at ease with the concepts of tables, fields, and relationships,
you’re ready to design your own relational database. The rest of this chapter
walks you through designing your database tables so that your database is
easy to use, flexible, and efficient. We use the example of a bookstore as we
go through the steps to show you how the design process works.
Identifying your data
Find out what information is available, who maintains it, what it looks like,
and how it’s used. Make a list of the possible fields. (Don’t worry yet about
which fields end up in which tables.) A retail store, for example, needs to
track product descriptions, prices, purchase dates, customer names, who
bought what, shipment dates (for online orders), and other information.
If some of the information you need is already stored in another database —
whether it’s in Access, SQL Server, MySQL, or another relational database —
find out whether the owner of the database will allow you to link to it. Also
find out the name of the tables and the names and types of the fields in the
tables so that you can see how these tables and fields will connect with the
rest of your information.
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