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Access Database: Overview

The building block of Microsoft Access is the database. If you have never heard this term before, don't worry about it because we're going to tell you all about it!

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The name database is actually a very descriptive name. The database is two things in one:

  • Data...: A place to store your data. This data could be a record of sales, employees, salaries, or anything else.
  • ...base: It is the basic building block that many other features in Access use to function. With a properly created database you can create informative reports about the data, custom charts to visually display values, and create queries. These items will all be covered in more detail later. Without a database filled with data you can do...nothing.

A database is a little bit more complex then some think it should be. You cannot enter data into a database without first creating a table. A table belongs to a database and it is in these tables that you enter information. We will be discussing tables in the next lesson!

A Real Database Example

People use Access for various reasons, but let's assume someone named Bob is using it to store information about Bob's Shoe Store. Bob gathers raw information about shoes sold from a cash register then he manually types this data into Access. Now the tricky part, of course, is where does he enter this data?

Well, before Bob can dive right into the inputting data, he must first create a Access Database that will hold his information. It's time for Bob to learn some Access (and you too)!

Creating an Access Database

Bob wants to store information in Access, but doesn't know how many databases he needs to create!

Although you may require many databases in the future, it is usually sufficient to have one database per project. This means Bob should have one database for his business, but would need a separate database if he wanted to store his family's information.

To create a new database in Access follow these steps:

  1. Start Access
  2. From the menu choose File < New
  3. The "New File" side bar will be displayed on the right-hand side of the screen

  4. Left-click the option "Blank database...", which will then ask you to name your database. Helpful Hint: Access databases are saved with the .mdb extension.
  5. Name your file (we chose TizagDB) and press Create. This will automatically save your blank database, so remember where you put it!

  6. The Access Database interface should now be displayed and you are well on your way to learning Access!

Now that the database has been created we can begin to create our first Access Table. A table resides within a database and holds information specific to a certain area. We will talk more about this in the next lesson, Access Tables.

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