How To Create A Microsoft Access Database
The quickest way of creating an Access database is to use either the wizard or template approach (depending on which version you are using) both of which are a breeze!
Remember, you need to have some idea of what type of database you are going to end up with by planning your database first and to help with this preliminary step, take a look at how to prepare and design an Access database to understand the scope and key objectives before proceeding.
There is also another approach in how to create a Microsoft Access database which will require some more in depth knowledge of the tools and controls available starting from a blank canvas building your workflows from the ground up
How To Create A Microsoft Access Database – Some Pointers
The first step is to create the database container (or shell) using the ‘file save-as’ action which will hold all objects including tables, queries, forms and reports. This will be saved with either the .MDB or .ACCDB file extension again depending which version you are using.
A database file must first exist before adding objects to it as MS Access automatically save data changes to a table.
With versions up to and including 2003, you can use the wizard feature which steps you through various screens to choose a template and various processes ready for immediate use. Just look at the ‘File’, ‘New’ database command and select a template (not a blank database) from the pane view.
Versions 2007 onwards now creates a new database instance from a template of your choice (which there are more to choose from the Microsoft website). It creates all the relevant objects including some basic forms and reports ready for use.
To be fair, whichever method you use it will require some further design time to tweak the application and fully customise it to your requirements.
The next step is to either add more tables (and other objects too) which can be found in earlier versions from the Database Window’s object type, ‘New’ button that prompts users to choose a design view table, datasheet table view or from a wizard of pre-defined table templates stepping users through a serious screens, linking to other tables and offer to populate sample data for evaluation purposes.
Strangely, the later versions do not offer templates or wizards other than for web based SharePoint Lists so you have either the design or datasheet view available.
Personally, I always recommend using the design view option as you will need to modify field names, data types and set additional properties too and end up with the exact specified data table needed to meet your requirements.
Here’s an extraction from one of my eBooks on how to build a new table using Access 2007…
Step 1: Open the Database (the Navigation Pane should be visible on the left) and from the ribbon bar, choose the ‘Create’ tab to display the ‘Tables’ section of icons.
Step 2: To create table in design mode, choose the ‘Table Design’ icon which takes you to a blank design canvas. You may see a pop-up window also appear called Property Sheet. You can close this window for now and always call it again at a later stage.
You should now be viewing a new table in design view! This screen has two halves; the top half with three columns; Field Name, Data Type and Description. The lower half displays Field Properties for the selected field or row in the upper half.
Note: The ‘Field Properties’ section will dynamically change its settings based on which row is selected from the upper half of the window and therefore is very sensitive to where the cursor is currently positioned.
Step 3: Start entering the first field name in the ‘Field Name’ column and subsequent names below in each row. You may also note as each field is created, the default data type in the ‘Data Type’ column is filled in for you and is normally set as Text. Add all the fields in the order you wish to store your data.
Tip: It is good practice to make the first field the unique ID field though not essential. Also, consider field names to be quite short and with no spaces. The maximum number of characters is 64 (see the Help file by pressing the F1 function key when you cursor is in a field name).
Step 4: Set the correct or best matched data type for each field. In the ‘Data Type’ column choose one of the data type options from the drop-down list.
Step 5 (optional): In the ‘Description’ column, you can type free text comments which act as a prompt appearing on the status bar when running and viewing the data. This is useful to help users to describe or prompt for the correct information.
Step 6: For now, you should quickly test and run the table to compile and see the headings appear in the normal datasheet view. To run and see this table in Run Time mode, you do not have to save the changes first as you will automatically be prompted to do so after each design alteration. Make sure you click on the ‘Design’ tab from the ribbon bar and click the ‘View’ icon.
–End of preview–
For the first time around however, you will be required to give your new table a name (hence the create Table name pop-up). Enter a unique name and click the OK button.
Additionally, depending on the field names and data types chosen, you may see another prompt that follows asking about setting the primary key which is not yet defined. For the moment, choose the ‘No’ option and the table will display in datasheet view.
The table is now ready to be used. However, there are other properties and attributes that help to condition and change the look and feel of a field and is covered later in this document.
Whichever version of Access you use, always take the time to research and understand why data types and properties are important.
Additionally, the whole table has its own property sheet and should also be investigated – use the Help file F1 function key!
You can of course use your new table(s) to add and edit records just like a spreadsheet however since this is only the beginning on how to create a Microsoft Access database, it makes sense to encourage you to create forms instead for your data inputting needs giving you better control and richer layouts choices for end-users.
Using the wizard feature (all versions) is the quickest and easiest way to create a form as it steps you through each stage without needing to know how the design components work. A form is based either on a table or query if you intend to view data in some way and can be richly enhanced to make user experience a joy!
Later versions have added to the range of pre-defined templates and quick click of an icon for your selected data source table or query will load in a second – very easy indeed.
From version 2007 onwards, you can locate the Create tab from the ribbon bar and in the ‘Forms’ section you will see one of three to five icons to click on.
By the time you have carried out the above, using queries and forms will follow a similar theme. To be fair, queries will take some extra learning here and is deemed the heart of the database system and needs to be mastered too.
In my seven eBooks that I currently offer, they cover all the above and of course much, much but in more detail. Start by considering the first eBook on how to create a Microsoft Access database to give you the heads up and confidence to move forward in quick time. All my eBook offers comes with a 30 day email support so you are not alone…why not take a chance?