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8 Tips to Create Flexible Tables in Microsoft Access

8 Tips to Create Flexible Tables in Microsoft Access

Tables should be responsive, optimized and efficiently designed for your Microsoft access database.

Databases are all about tables and how they hold and then show the information stored in them. It is vital for them to be flexible, dependable and informative. That’s the reason why it is fundamental to create and assign the appropriate properties to such tables.

Microsoft access database

The following 8 simple tips will help to plan and build your Microsoft access database tables:

1. Naming of the fields

The name of a field is its identity, so it should give a reasonable idea about the field’s function and data type. Arbitrary and inept name fields make your database pointless and confusing. Access database allows up to 64 characters for a field name which can contain letters, numbers, and spaces. However, good practice is to not include spaces in the field name as this can cause issues later on for more advanced functionality especially when working with VBA and SQL codes.

2. The use of field properties


Microsoft access database provides you with the option to assign properties to the fields such as format, caption, description, validation rule, and validation text (to name a few). Each property will improve in some cases, performance as well as change the look and feel of data values. This is the first level of changes that can be applied and act as defaults when working with related objects used later on in your design process with the likes of queries, forms and reports.

3. Data type effort

It is suggested to use only text-based data type (as the default) and not necessarily number-based regardless of whether it’s for numeric data storing. It preserves a bit more of memory and is more advantageous with overall performance. Only consider non-text based values if there is a real need for it namely, to calculate values elsewhere in the database.

4. The use of field size


Selecting a suitable field size and data type makes the table adaptable and leaves little room or space for incorrect values. Ideally pick the smallest field size and data type as it helps in the keeping your tables optimised and perform better. Note that only ‘Text’ and ‘Number’ data types can have their fields sizes adjusted and that all other data types are fixed which can be a waste of memory.

5. Enhance performance through indexing

Indexes sort and priorities the data sensibly according to its data type and if it is applied well, then it can significantly enhance the overall performance. developers should not just set multiple indexes because can hamper the data-processing in general. Users still need to know that a Primary key in database index will automatically priorities the data without having to manually work on it and that most of the tables in your Access database should use the ‘Primary Key’.

6. Auto Number restrictions

If you want to apply a unique number (or counter value) for the records in your database tables, you should use the ‘AutoNumber’ field and it characteristic can (and assumed to be a default) function as a ‘Primary Key’. It works as a surrogate key and a table can have just one ‘AutoNumber’ field. Even though it begins with the value ‘1’ by default, users can edit the value as well before it is used in anger.

7. The use of analysis tools

To improve the design of your tables, you can use the Table Analyzer wizard tool and the ‘Performance Analyzer’ tool. The ‘Table Analyzer’ assists in examining the table(s) and recommends a number of potential changes which you can decide to accept and apply. While ‘Performance Analyzer’ evaluates the whole database and gives you suggestions for enhancing the overall design.

8. Table properties

Much the same as fields, tables also have properties to describe their purpose. You can get to the table properties by opening the table in Design view. There you have the choice of properties under the View menu. There are properties such as Order By and Sub datasheet Name which indicates the order of sorting in Microsoft access database . For the most part, sorting is executed according to the ‘Primary Key’ although you can change according to your preferences. You can also disable the sub-datasheet name property by setting it to ‘None’.

The additional benefit is the ability to validate between two or more fields (using logical expressions) to help control and store logical data values.

On the off chance that you ever experience a data error while working on an Microsoft access 2016 , you may want to take regular back-up and have several restore points to work with. Also, learn to regularly run a ‘Compact and Repair’ action which is a built-in tool for keep your data organised and error-free!

Bonus tip:

For a field name where it appears that more than one word has been applied and spaces can be frowned upon as poor practice, consider using the underscore character ( _ ) as the separator or Initial capitalise each word with no spaces to make it easier to read.

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