Microsoft Access Database: Top 5 Tips To Get You Started and Control an Access Database

Check out one my recent articles that I published in getting users to control the Microsoft Access database application environment that can help manage objects and speed up end-user tasks.

I call it my top 5 tips but to be honest there are many tips ‘n’ tricks available and you may not agree with me. Use this article as a starter and get that imagination to work!

Here’s the article

Microsoft Access is a large and rich application straight ‘out of the box’ and even more so for the newer versions (2007 and 2010). When you add your own bespoke application and add functionality, there is no limit to what can be achieved.

The problem users will sometimes have to deal with when planning, building and implementing an Access database over and above the design principles and methodologies is normally down to lack of knowledge and what Access has to functionally offer.

I could list my 101 tips and tricks for you but how many would you actually remember not least immediately use? So here are my top 5 tips to get your started which is not in any particular order:

  1. Data Entry Tips: Entering data into a table or form is straight forward and intuitive (I hope!) but the following keyboard shortcuts will improve the navigation and editing since you are at the keyboard anyway! CTRL + [plus sign] will add a new record. CTRL ‘ [apostrophe] copies a field’s value from the previous record to the same field in the current record and is useful for repetitive values across many records. F2 function key edits the content of a field in a record. There are many shortcut keys to Microsoft Access (search the help file for ‘keyboard shortcuts’).

  2. Object Properties Dialog Box: Each item in the database window or navigation pane has a hidden Properties view that can used to add narratives and hide the object from view. To access it either right mouse click on the selected item and choose Properties or use the ALT+ Enter keys (from the keyboard). If you hide the object it will disappear from view unless the Access option to ‘Show Hidden Objects’ is switched on. This is particular useful to hide sensitive objects like Action Queries.

  3. Starting your application: Use the Startup utility in Access to open your chosen Form as the welcoming screen and not the standard database window or navigation pane. This feature has many advantages including handling better security, attaching a macro or module (VBA code) to the loading event of a form making your application just a little richer to the end-user. Remember you can always stop the startup by holding down the SHIFT key when launching the database file.

  4. Access Reporting: There are many types of reports and even though Microsoft Access database has Pivot Tables, most users will be more comfortable with Excel’s Pivot Tables instead. Why not export data to Excel or in Excel, connect and link up to your Access database instead. The two application’s work well together and also has the advantage of being able to create a separate ‘stand-alone’ file should you need to send this on as an email attachment.

  5. Update Bulk Data: If you need to update many records and there is a pattern, consider using an Update Query where you set criteria and can include calculations too. For example, to change and increase all of your product prices by 5%, you calculate it as a formula showing the 5% increase in the price field and run the update action query to globally apply it. Can you image trying to change the price for each product manually?

As mentioned before, there are many different techniques and tools at your disposal and you may find some of the above useful. Look out for more great tips coming soon.

Another tip for you! Use the Input Mask tool when entering sensitive values and trapping for mistyped data which deals with two issues; of controlling what characters your can key into a field and visibly mask password values using the ‘password’ setting in a table or form.

I invite you to keep up to date with my articles and eBooks which covers a lot of details and can be found at

From Ben Beitler – “Your Access Database Expert”

Article Source:

Microsoft Access 2010 - Properties

This article focuses on the application’s functionality and not the planning and designing of the Microsoft Access database application and therefore please do not think for a moment these are my top 5 tips when designing an Access database!

By adopting my tips, it will enhance the features which are not always so obvious to general user and in some cases it surprises me that the more accomplished user is also unaware of it too!

To know more about Update Queries (as one of the tips mentioned in this article), please consider looking at my eBook on “More Access Database Queries” which covers all the queries I ever use and comes with my usual promise of a 30 day money back guarantee not too mention FREE 30 day email support!

Other eBooks are also available too and can be found by clicking here.


This entry was posted in Forms, MS Access, Queries, Reports, Utilities and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Microsoft Access Database: Top 5 Tips To Get You Started and Control an Access Database

  1. Yer says:

    Thx for taking the time to explain the terminlogy for the newcomers!

  2. Cathy says:

    I use action queries alot especially two together which are the Make Table and Delete queries. I’ve already purchased your eBook on queries and will be investing in the others too, thanks C.

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